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.
Rift opens at top of Tory party over Heathrow expansion plan
Senior party figures rebel and say they will oppose building a new runway at the airport
By Toby Helm (The Observer)
1st November 2014
The foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, 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.
Ahead of a final round of public consultations on how to meet demand for extra capacity, which will begin within days, both Hammond and Johnson have told constituents they will strongly oppose the building of a third runway at Heathrow – one [two] of three options being considered by an independent commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies.
The mayor and foreign secretary 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 whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick will be made until Davies, a former director general of the CBI, gives his final verdict next summer.
The Observer has been told that Hammond, the MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, made clear the attitude he would take during the election campaign to a third runway at Heathrow when he spoke at a public meeting 10 days ago in Egham, in his Surrey constituency.
“When asked what his opinion was, the foreign secretary said he was against a third runway and there was a huge round of applause,” said a source who was at the meeting. Those attending voiced their anger about the extra noise and harm to the environment, and concerns about recent trials of new flight paths into Heathrow.
Last night Johnson – who was recently selected as Tory parliamentary candidate for the west London seat of Uxbridge and West Ruislip – also said he would have no qualms about voicing vehement opposition to Heathrow expansion during the election campaign, whatever the official Tory party position might be.
The mayor told this newspaper: “I am wholly opposed to Heathrow expansion, as I have been throughout my six years as mayor. A third runway would be catastrophic for London and Londoners.” Johnson said he remained in favour of a new, four-runway airport in the Thames estuary. Davies has ruled the option out.
The mayor believes his idea, nicknamed “Boris Island”, can be revived and is the only way to solve the capacity issue while avoiding unacceptable environmental effects on Londoners.
The issue threatens to become a battleground between rival candidates to lead the Conservative party in future. Other leading Tories with south-eastern constituencies who have spoken out against a third runway at Heathrow include the home secretary, Theresa May, who is MP for Maidenhead; the international development secretary, Justine Greening, who is the member for Putney; and the Northern Ireland secretary, Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet.
The Conservatives went into the last election ruling out expansion of Heathrow, but the prospect was revived in the middle of the parliament after pressure for a rethink from the chancellor, George Osborne.
Government insiders and aviation experts now believe that the extent of opposition to the Heathrow option from politicians of all parties may tilt the advantage in favour of expanding Gatwick, which would have less environmental impact. [Only if judged by certain criteria – on number affected by noise of a certain level].
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both opposed any expansion of Heathrow at the 2010 election. David Cameron ruled it out, saying: “No ifs, no buts, there’ll be no third runway at Heathrow.” Ed Miliband voiced opposition when he was secretary of state for climate change. However, in September 2012 ministers set up an independent commission chaired by Davies to review the issue. The commission has already said there is a need for one additional runway in the south-east of England by 2030 and has three options: a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow, and building a second runway at Gatwick.
Heathrow and Gatwick were asked to submit updated proposals to the commission in May of this year. Davies is due to deliver his final report in June.
A report commissioned by Gatwick and drawn up by the environmental research division of the Civil Aviation Authority will say this week that the number of residents and schools affected negatively by noise as a result of Heathrow expansion would be much higher than if Gatwick were developed.
John Stewart, chairman of AirportWatch, an umbrella group for organisations fighting “unsustainable” airport expansion, said the political obstacles to expanding Heathrow were considerable and had become greater since Johnson had been selected for a west London seat.
“Gatwick is coming up on the rails because politicians think it would deliver economically, and also that it would be more politically deliverable than Heathrow,” he said.
Senior Liberal Democrats, including the business secretary, Vince Cable, who is MP for Twickenham, are also against the expansion of Heathrow, as are several Labour MPs with west London constituencies
Willie Walsh says there is no business case for a 2nd Gatwick runway – BA has Gatwick’s 2nd largest number of passengers
Willie Walsh, the head of IAG, will not support a 2nd Gatwick runway, even if it is chosen by the Airports Commission or backed by the next government. He does not believe there is a business case to support its expansion, and there is insufficient demand from airlines for extra capacity at Gatwick. Mr Walsh campaigned heavily for a 3rd Heathrow runway before 2010, but has made frequent comments indicating he does not believe UK politicians will have the “courage” to build that. Willie Walsh says British Airways would resist higher landing charges, which would be necessary to fund a runway – either at Heathrow or Gatwick. (EasyJet has also said in the past they don’t want a new runway, if it means substantially higher charges – their model is low cost). BA would want lower costs, not higher costs, from a new runway. IAG’s shares have now risen as it has now made a profit at last, and will be paying its first dividend (and maybe some UK tax). Gatwick’s main airline is EasyJet with around 37% of passengers, and British Airways 2nd largest at around 14%.
Willie Walsh: ‘No business case’ to support a second runway at Gatwick
Boss of British Airways’ parent company suggests there isn’t enough demand from airlines for a second runway at Gatwick Airport
By Nathalie Thomas, Transport and Leisure Editor (Telegraph)
31 Oct 2014
Willie Walsh, the head of British Airways’ parent company, has ruled out supporting a second runway at Gatwick, even if it is given the go-ahead by policymakers, arguing that he doesn’t believe there is a business case to support expansion at the West Sussex airport.
Mr Walsh, who is chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG), suggested there is insufficient demand from airlines for extra capacity at Gatwick.
His intervention comes at another critical moment in the long-running inquiry over where to build Britain’s next runway, as the body set up to investigate the issue prepares to test public opinion through a national consultation. Gatwick is battling against its larger rival Heathrow for the right to expand.
Mr Walsh campaigned heavily for a third runway at Heathrow during a previous inquiry, only to see a decision to expand Britain’s biggest airport over-turned by the Coalition when it came to power. He has taken a step back during the current process, which is being carried out by Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission, but said on Friday that he would be unable to support expansion at Gatwick, even if it was recommended by policymakers.
“I would not support a runway at Gatwick because I don’t think there is a business case to support it,” the airlines boss said.
Mr Walsh said his objections are “principally based on the demand environment” but he warned that BA would also strongly resist any increase in charges to fund expansion, either at Gatwick or at Heathrow.
“I don’t think it [demand] is as strong as Gatwick would argue,” he said. He warned both airports that they would have to demonstrate “how charges [for airlines] will reduce rather than increase”, as IAG unveiled its third quarter results on Friday.
But a spokesman from Gatwick hit back: “Demand is strong and we are close to full capacity today. Airlines and passengers are voting with their feet and Gatwick is the fastest growing airport in London, as our monthly traffic figures underline.
“Building a second runway at Gatwick will be cheaper than expanding Heathrow and those savings will be passed on to passengers who increasingly want affordable flying. A new runway at Gatwick would also give London two world class airports, delivering more competition, choice and even lowers fares for passengers and UK plc.”
Shares in IAG soared on Friday on guidance that full-year operating profit could rise to as much as €1.37 billion (£1.07bn) following a 30pc jump in profits during the key summer months.
The airlines giant, which is next week expected to lay out a road map towards paying its first dividend, said third quarter operating profit before exceptional costs reached €900m, a better-than-expected €210m improvement on the same period last year, as a major restructuring at its Spanish flag carrier, Iberia, continued to pay off.
IAG, which was formed through the 2011 merger of BA and Iberia, said it now expects full-year operating profit, before exceptional costs, to be between €550m and €600m higher than in 2013, when it reached €770m, representing a slight upgrade on previous guidance. The upgrade pushed shares in early trading to a six-month high.
“The recent Ebola outbreak hit all the airlines, but IAG, with its robust management, has pulled out some bumper, analyst-beating figures. Already increased price targets have been issued this morning by analysts. A return to year-highs of 460p [a share] look inevitable,” said Amrit Panesar, senior trader at Accendo Markets.
BA also performed strongly in the third quarter, making an operating profit of €607m during the three months to September 30, compared to €477m during the same period in 2013.
Operating profit at Iberia jumped to €162m from €74m previously but growth at IAG’s budget airline, Vueling, was far more muted, edging up just €1m to €140m, as competition in the European low-cost market heats up.
The third quarter performance pushed up group operating profit after exceptional items for the first nine months to €1.048bn, a significant turnaround from €348m at the same point last year.
IAG’s performance contrasts dramatically with that of its German rival, Lufthansa, which on Thursday issued its second profit warning this year as it struggles to restructure its cost base.
IAG has been consulting investors on a dividend policy, which it is expected to lay out at a capital markets day next Friday.
Gatwick launched a new report claiming that even with a second runway it would be able to meet EU and UK air quality targets
Gatwick’s website says:
- EasyJet is Gatwick’s largest customer; they fly 37% of the total number of passengers at the airport.
- British Airways is the second largest carrier at Gatwick, accounting for 14% of passenger traffic.
Willie Walsh of BA: Heathrow expansion is a ‘lost cause’
Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA owner, IAG, has said again that there will not be a 3rd Heathrow runway, as it is too controversial. He says UK politicians “lack the character” to get it built. “Historically, politicians have not been brave enough and I don’t think they will be brave enough going forward. You need a big shift in the politics of the country,” he said. However, Walsh warned a Conservative or Labour-led government against choosing Gatwick for an extra runway, adding that the case for growing the capital’s second-largest airport is “significantly weaker.” Gatwick did not have the same international attraction. He said: “You won’t find many airlines that say ‘God I’d love to be able to fly to Gatwick’. That’s why this isn’t a business issue, an economic argument. It’s a political argument and the politics of expanding Heathrow are significantly more difficult than the politics of expanding Gatwick.”
Willie Walsh tells Transport Committee there is no business case for a Gatwick 2nd runway
At the Transport Committee evidence session, Stewart Wingate, Gatwick chief executive, said he would oppose a 3rd runway at Heathrow and wanted to see Gatwick develop as a competing hub airport. But BA’s Willie Walsh said airlines will only pay for expansion at one UK airport and that is Heathrow, implying he would oppose a 2nd Gatwick runway. Willie Walsh also told the committee there was no business case to expand Gatwick, and he was not aware of any discussion with airlines about the extra amount they would have to pay for a new Gatwick runway. Willie Walsh said “the only business case you could stand over is one to invest in a 3rd runway at Heathrow, but I’m not going to waste my time because it’s not going to happen.” Divide and rule ?
United Airlines to launch direct flights between Newcastle and New York – so no need to travel via London
United Airlines will introduce direct flights between Newcastle and Newark airport, New York. There will be 5 per week, from May to September 2015. This will be Newcastle’s first scheduled non-stop trans-Atlantic service. The flights will use a Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats, 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats with added extra space. The airport’s MD said this would offer the people of Northeast England “easy, convenient travel options not only to New York City but also to destinations throughout the Americas.” Presumably it will largely be used for people from the UK taking leisure trips to the USA, but the publicity is that it will also enhance “regional connectivity, growing the regional economy, attracting inward investment and encouraging inbound tourism from North America.” So this is one more route that enables people in the north of England to travel, without having to use Heathrow or a southern airport. One one bit of confirmation that a new south east runway is unnecessary. The list of direct long haul flights from regional airports is growing.
United Airlines to launch non-stop service between Newcastle and New York
By Jamie Hardesty
27 Oct 2014 (Business Daily)
United Airlines will introduce non stop flights between Newcastle and its New York hub, Newark Liberty International Airport, during the period May 23 to Sep. 7, 2015 (both dates westbound), subject to government approval.
The frequency of the service will be five times weekly. It will be Newcastle’s first scheduled nonstop transAtlantic service.
Flight UA159 will depart Newcastle daily except Wednesday and Thursday at 9:10 a.m., arriving at New York/Newark at 12:00 p.m. the same day.
The return flight, UA160, will depart New York/Newark daily except Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:20 p.m., arriving in Newcastle at 7:30 a.m. the following day (all times local).
Flight times will be seven hours 50 minutes westbound and seven hours 10 minutes eastbound.
The flights will be operated by Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats, 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.
United’s managing director of U.K. & Ireland sales, Bob Schumacher, said: “We’re very excited about introducing nonstop flights to New York from Newcastle next summer.”
“We’ll be offering the people of Northeast England easy, convenient travel options not only to New York City but also to destinations throughout the Americas.
“United already offers trans-Atlantic service from more cities in the U.K. than any other airline and we’ve every reason to be confident that this new service will be a success.”
Chief Executive of Newcastle Airport, David Laws, said: “For many years, and everywhere I go, people have been stopping me and asking, when is the North East going to get a New York service?
“I have been clear throughout that this is a route that we have been determined to deliver for the region.
“We have been carefully and quietly working behind the scenes, with our shareholders, to secure what will be another game-changing new route.
“I am delighted today that we are finally able to make the announcement everyone has been hoping for. United Airlines is the best airline to operate this service.
“They have an exceptional track record of linking U.K. regions to their New York/Newark hub, where customers can then connect to over one hundred onward destinations.”
Leader of South Tyneside Council and lead of the LA7 shareholders, Councillor Iain Malcolm, said: “On behalf of the Local Authority shareholders, I am delighted that the collective efforts we have been making have been successful.
“This new service will be hugely significant, in terms of further enhancing regional connectivity, growing the regional economy, attracting inward investment and encouraging inbound tourism from North America.
“The Local Authorities and our partner organisations will work hard to make the route a success.
“We will work with inbound tourism bodies to promote the region to a new audience and we will work with the business community to increase awareness of the connectivity opened up.”
Emirates considers direct flights to the USA from UK northern airports, not Heathrow
July 26, 2013
Dubai’s Emirates Airline is interested in getting into the competitive transatlantic market, and offer flights from Dubai to the US via the UK. This market is currently dominated by BA, Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. Emirates will need to get regulatory approval first. Emirates believes there is strong unmet demand for flights from the north of England to the USA and last year carried 800,000 passengers on its routes in and out of its hubs in the north of England: Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham. There are growing numbers of Emirates passengers and services from these northern UK airports. In October, Emirates will launch flights from Dubai to New York via Milan. Their UK vice president said they are asking the Airports Commission to look at making all the regional airports completely open skies, so anyone can fly anywhere. If they use the northern airports, there is less pressure on the south east airports, and less rationale for building another runway. “Heathrow sits in the south of England, but Manchester has a bigger catchment area in terms of a two-hour drive.” If Emirates goes through with the plan BA and Virgin will be the big losers.
Airlines like Emirates keen to fly from regional airports (like Newcastle) – reducing future demand at Heathrow and Gatwick
March 25, 2013
Heathrow Airport has been saying recently that, though it is desperate to get a third runway, even they realise that there is not the demand for a 4th runway. The DfT has consistently over-estimated the amount of passenger demand over the last decade. In reality, passengers from parts of the UK other than the south east can get long haul flights from regional airports. The UK Vice President of Emirates says he wants to expand flights from UK’s regional airports, rather than Heathrow or Gatwick, and has a direct flight from Newcastle to Dubai, for transfers on from there. With that happening more and more in future, the south east airports’ dreams for expansion in the south east, requiring a massive hub airport, look less and less probable. Forecasts more than a few years ahead are based on so many uncertainties and unknowns as to be almost without value. Making best use of existing airports is more efficient than grandiose new infrastructure projects which run the risk of being white elephants. Had a second Stansted runway been built by 2012, it would now be standing idle.
More flights from Manchester to USA taking pressure off south east airports
Flights by American Airlines have started from Manchester to Charlotte in North Carolina, and will run every day until the end of September. Airport and airline bosses heralded the flight as a boost for both the airport and Manchester. The airline says “Manchester has been a hugely important city for American Airlines for many years and we are thrilled to add this flight to Charlotte…. It will bring in around 200 passengers every day…..Next year, we hope to run them for longer. In terms of American Airlines, we have a massive presence in the US and Charlotte is our second biggest hub. ….This is putting Manchester in line with our other destinations like Madrid and Rome.” American Airlines already flies from Manchester to Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. The airline CEO said most passengers are expected to originate from America – looking to fly into the north of England.”The biggest growth in airlines is down to people visiting friends and family, and Manchester has a catchment area of 22m.” More international flights from the regional airports mean less pressure to expand airports in the south east. Or to build a new south east runway. Manchester’s 2nd runway is hardly used.
Prices of long-haul flights from Scottish airports slashed as Middle East airlines compete – cheaper than going via Heathrow
Air passengers from Scotland, travelling to the Middle East and Australia are benefitting from a price war between the major airlines. Emirates and Qatar Airways are bitter rivals, founded less than 10 years apart in 1985 and 1993 respectively, and then the arrival of Etihad in 2003 put both under pressure. Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad now compete for long haul passengers from Scottish airports, to Dubai, Thailand and Australia. The price of a ticked on Etihad from Edinburgh to Sydney for next summer is about £790, cheaper than the cost of an Etihad flight from Heathrow. Emirates has slashed its return fare from Glasgow to a low of £771 for the same dates. The same flight with Qatar Airways comes in at £995 return. Industry experts predict fierce competition between the 3 carriers, undercutting each other. Due to the 3 Middle East airlines competing, fares to Australia are cheaper from Scotland than from Heathrow or Amsterdam. So one less reason to need to expand Heathrow, or worry about losing traffic to Schiphol.
Birmingham delighted to get daily flight to India, largely for tourism and VFR
Birmingham airport’s is encouraged by a decision by Air India to increase the number of flights between Birmingham, Delhi and Amritsa from 4 per week to 7 per week. This will start from November, when its 18th Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft is inducted into service. Birmingham has now had direct flights to India for one year, after having none for 5 years. Though some passengers are on business, the majority are tourists and people visiting friends and relatives in India. Having three more flights per week will mean an extra 1,500 seats a week, as the Air India Dreamliners have 256 seats (256 x 3 x 2 = 1,5360. Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive, said “The West Midlands receives more foreign direct investment from India than any other region outside of London and Birmingham’s VFR (visiting friends and family) market grew by 71% in 2013, now attracting more visitors from India than any English city other than London.” The runway extension, that opened in April, is enabling more flights to longer haul destinations. The flight path trials, due to the runway extension, are causing real concern and distress to those south of the airport, now finding themselves seriously overflown.
Keith Taylor MEP: “We don’t need a new runway at Gatwick – or Heathrow, or Stansted or anywhere else for that matter”
Keith Taylor, the Green Party MEP, has set out clearly why no new runway is needed. The Airports Commission will shortly publish their consultation options, for runway plans at Heathrow and Gatwick. Keith says the extensive evidence against there being a need for a new south east runway is being ignored. The massive advertising and PR budgets by the airports are attempting to persuade that a new runway is vital is described as a con. While in theory the Commission was set up to establish if there was a need for a runway, in reality it has just been a process of making the decision where to build one more politically acceptable. It has not been an issue of “whether” as it should have been – but just “where.” Keith comments: “… it seems the Commission’s sole purpose has become to choose where expansion will go despite the very strong existing evidence against all airport expansion.” People in the UK already fly more than almost any other nation. Economic claims of the benefits of a new runway and claims about jobs created are also grossly exaggerated. The aviation industry is perpetrating a massive hoax, for their own purposes.
SussexVoice “Talk Politics” – Green MEP Keith Taylor – We don’t need more runways
28.10.2014 (By Keith Taylor)
Keith Taylor is Member of the European Parliament for South East England and a Green Party member.
We don’t need a new runway at Gatwick – or Heathrow, or Stansted or anywhere else for that matter.
The overwhelming evidence presented against airport expansion in 2009/10 when the then Labour government was backing proposals for a third runway at Heathrow is being ignored.
The huge budgets of the pro expansion lobby are busy trying to convince people expansion is the only way to go. It’s a con.
When Prime Minister David Cameron set up the Davies Commission in 2012 there was a rising crescendo of business pressure for new runways. Cameron effectively kicked the issue into touch until after the 2015 General Election, ostensibly with a brief to Davies to consider whether expansion in the South East was necessary.
Many people believe Cameron had already privately decided that new runway(s) would be built, and forming the Commission was a cynical attempt at delaying any decision and deferring any political responsibility for implementing their recommendations.
The reality now is that the Davies Commission will recommend not whether expansion will take place but where it will happen.
In fact, it seems the Commission’s sole purpose has become to choose where expansion will go despite the very strong existing evidence against all airport expansion.
Such evidence includes the fact that without the go-ahead for any new runways, Britain is already amongst the most frequent flyers in the world. And that already more passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world.
Furthermore, nine of the ten most popular destinations from Heathrow are short-haul flights. [ Details ] Existing rail services could offer workable alternatives on most of these routes, thus freeing up landing slots for longer haul flights, addressing airport capacity problems. As trains are around ten times less polluting than planes this would also be better for the environment. [ Details of plane/train carbon by Seat 61 ].
The employment benefits of expansion have also been overplayed. Claims that airport expansion will help create thousands of new jobs to help the country through the recession are based on unreliable statistics and in fact, expansion results in more UK tourists going abroad which creates a ‘tourism deficit’, where tourists’ money is exported from UK. [Tourism deficit ].
Economist Brendon Sewill said:
“The Government, aided by the aviation industry, is perpetrating a hoax that airport expansion is vital to the economy and will help us though the recession. Councillors and planning officers are being misled by exaggerated claims that the expansion of their local airports will create lots of extra jobs. For example, ten years ago Manchester Airport claimed that its second runway would create 50,000 extra jobs [ link ] whereas in practice employment at the airport has increased by only 4,000.” [See employment details below. Airport had 2,088 employees in 2013 and 2,585 in 2000].
As anti-aviation expansion campaigners, we must be more strategic. If residents of Gatwick and residents of Heathrow both oppose expansion on their own local impacts then this will just be seen as a NIMBY reaction and our chances of winning will be limited.
But if we can create a situation whereby all anti-aviation expansion campaigners are calling for no runway expansion anywhere – because of the very convincing arguments that we have at our disposal on the environment, climate change, noise, air pollution and community blight – then we’re in with a chance of winning.
That also means supporting the regional airport campaigns in their smaller battles to prevent expansion such as the successful campaign I recently supported at Redhill Aerodrome. [ link ]
The fight-back is already happening and will be strengthened when everyone starts saying ‘Stop All Airport Expansion’ to promote the issues further up the agenda.
I look forward to making these points at the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) conference on Saturday 22nd November.
Employment details for Manchester airport.
Its 2nd runway was built in 2001.
The average monthly number of persons (including the directors) employed by the Group during the year was:
Baggage handling 555
Baggage handling 619
That document said:
“With the Airport set to grow significantly over the next 15 years with the number of passengers forecast to more than double to nearly 41 million a year by 2015″
In reality, the number of passengers in 2013 at Manchester airport was 20,682,900
The average number of persons (including executive directors) employed by the Group during the year was:
The average number of persons (including Executive Directors) employed by the Group during the year was:
The average number of persons (including Executive Directors) employed by the Group during the year was:
Hundreds of villagers from Brockham, Betchworth, Beare Green etc protest over Gatwick flightpath changes
Hundreds of people packed into Beare Green Village Hall to protest against the recent flightpath changes out of Gatwick. The meeting was organised by, and chaired by the recently formed action group “Plane Wrong” which has been set up by people in Beare Green, Betchworth, Brockham, Capel, Coldharbour, the Holmwoods and Dorking, who have all been affected by increased aircraft noise nuisance. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved the flightpath changes in August last year following a much-criticised consultation by Gatwick,which was far too complex and badly written for non-experts to understand. Plane Wrong will be educating communities about what they can do to stand up to the flight path threats, and getting more and more people involved in the fight. Plane Wrong has an online petition to the CAA. People are now increasingly aware of the threat of a 2nd runway. Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford told the meeting: “If you think this is a problem now, wait and see if we get a second runway. We have an enormous battle on our hands .”
Hundreds of villagers protest over Gatwick flightpath changes
By Mark Edwards
People against the recent changes want Gatwick’s flightpaths to go back to where they were but the Civil Aviation Authority said they needed to change
Hundreds of people packed into Beare Green Village Hall to protest against the recent flightpath changes out of Gatwick.
The meeting was chaired by the recently formed action group Plane Wrong, which has been set up by people in Beare Green, Betchworth, Brockham, Capel, Coldharbour, the Holmwoods and Dorking, who have all been affected by increased aircraft noise.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved the flightpath changes in August last year following a much-criticised consultation by Gatwick.
Speaking at the meeting, Mike Ward, chairman of Plane Wrong, said: “The purpose of this meeting is two-fold. The first is to raise awareness and understanding of the complex issues we are facing.
“Gatwick’s last consultation was 60 pages long and was extremely technical, so people who wanted to respond to the consultation didn’t because of how poorly it was written.
“So we want to educate communities about what they can do to stand up to this.
“Secondly, we want to build on that and gain support so that we can take action. We want people to tell their friends and neighbours to get involved in the fight against the flightpath changes.
“I feel we have a good momentum going but more needs to be done.”
Plane Wrong has started an online petition to be submitted to the CAA which has already attracted more than 1,300 signatures.
‘Flightpaths need to change’
Mr Ward said: “We want to get the flightpaths put back to where they were before, which didn’t affect the communities anywhere near as much as they do now.”
Residents attending the meeting expressed frustration about the constant noise from aircraft, low flying planes, night flights, pollution, the prospect of a second runway at Gatwick, and no longer being able to enjoy the Mole Valley countryside.
Phil Roberts, head of airspace, air traffic management and aerodromes at the CAA, said: “The flightpaths around Gatwick are the busiest in the world.
“It is a very challenging situation for us, and we need to find an arrangement to manage the airspace safely while also taking advantage of new technical advances in air-craft.
“Before these recent changes, we had been using flightpaths that were decided in the 1970s.
“Aircraft have changed significantly in that time and that is why flightpaths need to change.”
Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford told the meeting: “I have managed to get in and speak to the CAA and director Mark Swan. He is listening because they have never had such a flood of responses before. I do not live here, so I do not hear the aircraft noise like you do, but I have heard the noise from you.
“I would like to thank you for all you have done so far.
“However, If you think this is a problem now, wait and see if we get a second runway. We have an enormous battle on our hands and I certainly did not like the way that Gatwick presented its last consultation.”
New action group, Plane Wrong, fights Gatwick flight path changes north of the airport
A new local action group, “Plane Wrong”, opposing changes of Gatwick flight paths, and the sudden increase in plane noise for some areas, has been formed. Changes to a flight path, heading west and north of Gatwick are affecting – and causing annoyance and distress to – thousands of people across parts of Surrey. The flight path is now making a wider turn. Plane Wrong has been established by people in Beare Green, Betchworth, Blackbrook, Brockham, Capel, Coldharbour, the Holmwoods, Leigh, Leith Hill, Redhill and Reigate. The group argues that there have been insufficient trials and consultations about the changes. The increased noise is damaging the environment, especially the AONB surrounding Leith Hill. Plane Wrong has organised two public meetings, on 22nd and 23rd October, to which the CAA was invited to explain its flight path changes. Plane Wrong has a petition to the CAA, asking it to stop the new route. Plane Wrong say that “If this flight path is not reversed, it sets a precedent for airspace changes to be made without proper consideration for the impact it has on the local surrounding areas and population.”
The Government will pay £2.5 million, and Cornwall Council will pay £300,000, in a 4-year funding deal to enable Flybe to profitably operate flights between Newquay and Gatwick. The DfT says the public service obligation (PSO) will continue a link. There will be 3 flights each way on weekdays and 2 at weekends. The aviation minister, Robert Goodwill, said keeping the region connected to London is a “vital part of our long-term economic plan” and Danny Alexander said the route ”is vital for Cornwall’s businesses, tourist industry and residents” and “with a return rate of nearly £3 for every £1 invested, it’s a great deal for the UK taxpayer, as well as for the south-west.” The DfT says Flybe will operate the flights with the timings providing a convenient schedule for a full working day [eh? holiday-makers?] at either destination.” EasyJet took over Flybe’s Gatwick slots when the service ended in March this year, but decided to drop the Newquay service. There were about 92,600 passengers flying between Gatwick and Newquay in 2013, so over 4 years the £2.8 million would be about £7.50 each. Could the fare not rise by that amount, to save having to subsidise?
Wikipedia on Newquay:
Newquay Cornwall Airport is the main commercial airport for Cornwall, located at Mawgan in Pydar 4.6 miles northeast of Newquay on Cornwall’s north coast. Its runway was previously operated by RAF St Mawgan before the runway was handed over in December 2008. The airport is located close to Newquay, Cornwall’s premier tourist resort, as well as major attractions such as The Eden Project.
In 2013 the airport handled 174,891 passengers, a 5.0% increase compared with 2012. Newquay has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. The Cornwall Air Ambulance is based at the airport.
The runway is able to take the very largest and fastest of civil and military aircraft, having been built and maintained for decades as a United States Air Force. With the end of the Cold War and changes in American political priorities, the Americans pulled out of all involvement with the base by the end of 2009.
|Rank||Airport||Passengers handled||% Change 2012 / 13|
|1||United Kingdom – London Gatwick||92,609||4|
|2||United Kingdom – Manchester||32,570||5|
|3||United Kingdom – Isles of Scilly||22,093||56|
|4||United Kingdom – London Southend||7,448||-|
|5||United Kingdom – Liverpool||5,848||-|
|6||United Kingdom – Edinburgh||4,481||55|
|7||Germany – Düsseldorf||2,407||29|
|8||United Kingdom – Newcastle||2,384||8|
|9||United Kingdom – Belfast City||2,187||24|
|10||United Kingdom – Glasgow||1,751||51|
Here’s 2013 passengers by destination: 92,609 to/from Gatwick
Department for Transport signs second public service obligation to protect Newquay to London Gatwick route.
27.10.2014 (DfT Press Release)
From:Department for Transport and Robert Goodwill MP
A crucial transport link between the south west and London has been secured after the Department for Transport announced a 4 year funding deal for flights between Newquay and London Gatwick airport.
The public service obligation (PSO) will continue a link which contributes millions of pounds to the Cornwall and south west economies. The government is providing £2.5 million in addition to £300,000 from Cornwall Council. Three flights each way will take place during the week with 2 weekend rotations. Around 100,000 passengers use the route every year for work or leisure.
Flybe will operate the flights with the timings providing a convenient schedule for a full working day at either destination.
UK Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said:
Keeping our regions connected with London is a vital part of our long term economic plan. That is why we have worked so hard with Cornwall Council to protect the route to Newquay and make sure we do all we can to support the local area.
Fast, frequent flights to the south west will unlock access to stunning landscapes and skilled businesses, benefiting the region and the UK as a whole.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:
The air link between Newquay and London is vital for Cornwall’s businesses, tourist industry and residents, so I created the Regional Air Connectivity Fund and fought for £2.5 million for Newquay to ensure that this crucial service could continue. With a return rate of nearly 3 pounds for every pound invested, it’s a great deal for the UK taxpayer as well as for the south-west.
I hope this fund will help other remote areas of the UK sustain economically important connections to London too.
The Regional Air Connectivity Fund was announced by the government in June 2013. The fund is being used to maintain important regional air connections. The government doubled the size of the fund to £20 million per year in the 2014 Budget.
The 4 year length of the deal provides certainty to the region and marks the second UK government PSO, following a 2 year deal for the Dundee-London Stansted air link which was announced in June 2014.
The airport is part of Newquay Aerohub Enterprise Zone- one of 24 government-backed sites nationwide that are helping companies grow by offering top-class business incentives and world-class infrastructure. Home to Augusta Westland’s Operational Flight Training Centre and the supersonic car the Bloodhound, the Zone is positioning itself as a key centre for the aviation and space sectors and will benefit from the continued operation of these flights.
Separately, Transport Minister John Hayes today visited London City Airport to welcome the economic boost provided by the new Flybe routes connecting UK regions with London.
Newquay Airport ‘could become a rock concert venue’ – needs to earn money to stay afloat
Newquay Airport costs owner Cornwall Council about £3m a year in subsidies. It is not likely to make much profit just from its airport activities. It is now suggested the site could be used some of the time as a venue for rock concerts to help balance the books. However, a problem is the poor road links. It might also have go-kart racing and other activities, and has in the past held car shows, eco-car races, police driver training and filming of TV and commercials. Last year passenger numbers at Newquay airport fell, for a 5th consecutive year, to 174,000, down from 431,000 in 2008/9. The airport, a former military base, was hit by Ryanair and Air Southwest pulling their flights in 2011. In autumn 2014 Newquay will lose its route to Gatwick when Flybe is set to pull out, saying the service it is not viable. The whole airport area is about 861 acres, of which some 650 acres is an Enterprise Zone and 231 acres is development land, occupied by commercial companies. 87 acres is a solar park. Newquay is also paid by the government to stay open as an emergency airfield. The runway is one of the largest in the country so any plane can land there, as one of the first possible sites for planes coming in from the west.
Newquay Airport: Passenger numbers down and down, subsidy up and up
17 September 2011
Posted by Oliver Baines
It’s a long time since a posting on this site, and in the meantime every confident prediction by the aviation industry, and every claim by the Newquay Airport Masterplan, has been shown to be inaccurate, wrong, or just plain misleading.
Now we’re faced with the worst of all worlds – an airport in decline, with no plans about how to manage the decline and or sustain it in the absence of massive public subsidy.
So massive public subsidy it is. Passenger numbers were supposed to be 550,000 and rising by 2012. Instead they are 239,246 and falling (figures based on provisional statistics for August 2011, annualised). Meanwhile the official subsidy from Cornwall Council has risen to £3.5m, though cynical observers might consider this only part of the story. Even at this level it means that on average a family of 4 on a holiday to Dublin, Dubrovnik or Venice, or on the first leg of the journey to their second home in the south of France, are helped by us (yes, that’s you and me) to the tune of £14.63 each – each way. That’s a total of £117.03.
When Cornwall is moving into hard times, how is it that we subsidise people to spend their money somewhere else? How exactly does this help Cornwall?
£19 million subsidy for south west airports
TUESDAY, 7 JULY 2009
The bulk of the £19 million of SWRDA subsidies were directed at Newquay, so greatly undermining the attractiveness and potential of the existing rail link to the town. Likewise the £4+ million subsidy to Plymouth airport will give airlines a further competitive edge over rail. Now it is possible to fly from Bristol to Newquay in 45 mins for just £29 one-way which, even allowing for airport travel and check-in, is quicker and cheaper than rail (over 4 hrs, £65 off-peak return). Those low air fares owe a lot to public subsidy.
Air travel accounts for less than 1% of total UK business turnover but accounts for 13% of greenhouse gas emissions. You might think curbing the growth in air travel, particularly of domestic flights that can realistically be undertaken by rail or coach, should be the very top of the government’s environmental agenda. Instead we find them pouring millions of our money into subsidies to support air travel at the expense of rail travel.
In July 2013, West Sussex County Council, in a rushed and questionably democratic vote, gave its support for a 2nd runway at Gatwick. This is despite having commissioned a study in 2013 that showed somewhere between 30,000 and 45,000 new houses would need to be built in the area, and other serious local problems. The Chair of CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions), writing in the local press, has emphasised how the opinions of the thousands who have been alerted to the new runway threat, need to be taken account of by local politicians and councillors. Horsham Council is Conservative controlled, with 7 Lib Dem councillors. However, the leader of the Horsham LibDems, Frances Haigh, has backed a 2nd Gatwick runway, even though that was voted against at the recent party conference. There are very real fears about implications of a 2nd runway, on housing, transport, pressure on all social services and infrastructure – and councillors would do well to take account of these views, with some district elections next year.
LETTER: Politicians are not listening to voters
26 October 2014 (West Sussex Gazette)
From Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE – Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions
Did you know last week your councillors (West Sussex County Council) were presented to by Alistair McDermid of Gatwick Airport and Rosemary French of Gatwick Diamond?
Thank goodness Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) also spoke and countering the spin from Gatwick and the eight-page document read out by Gatwick Diamond!
With reference to the thoughts of Cllr Frances Haigh, LibDem, detailed in the County Times last week, I make the following points.
During the recent Liberal Democrat conference Gatwick Airport were openly criticised for their expensive lobbying.
Gatwick were very busy during party conferences, Labour gave the CEO of Gatwick a platform nearly every day to sell spin; the Conservatives were bombarded by advertisements on political websites as well as all Gatwick senior management being present throughout to lobby.
The LibDem conference voted to keep policy to oppose building a new runway in the SouthEast and yet Horsham LibDems announced they will vote against national policy.
Surrey LibDems see the problems with expanding Gatwick and spoke strongly against Frances Haigh at the LibDem Conference, as did many other councillors, because they know what it will mean to our area and our quality of life.
Who can we trust when local representatives do not conform to what is democratically voted on by a national political party?
Perhaps this decision is too important to be left to WSCC *West Sussex County Council) and HDC (Horsham District Council) councillors and perhaps a referendum should be conducted as to whether we residents want to support Gatwick’s desire to urbanise our rural towns, villages and parishes of West Sussex?
It would seem from Ms Haigh’s pieces that HDC LibDems are to support an offshore company that will have sold in 2018, before any Gatwick tarmac is laid .
We, on the other hand, will be left with the fallout of an inward migration of workers, all looking for affordable houses, using our roads, rail, hospitals, GPs and schools. Workers that will change the job market in this area as they, and their families, look for work.
Employers in our area already see Gatwick as a drain on quality staff and this huge influx will change salary structures and could well force companies to relocate. Gatwick, itself, had staffing problems and had to bus in staff from Southampton during the luggage fiasco, and airlines’ UK based food suppliers already advertise jobs in Portugal for catering staff.
Frances Haigh represents Horsham Park; well ADNID (Gatwick’s new flight path) gave Horsham North residents aircraft noise impact so Wizard (another flight path route) should be a major concern for Horsham!
There is thinking that as urban areas have a daily decibel noise of about 70 plus that an aircraft above would not really be noticed by residents, so instead of victimising all those that chose tranquillity, to live in rural parishes around Horsham, planes should fly over Horsham.
What about emissions and pollution from road and air? The South-East recently faced high pollution levels, during a particular weather pattern. What will adding an airport with 96 million passengers (Heathrow 72.3 million last year) joined by 122,000 inward migrating workers, do to traffic on the roads, adding to our pollution levels as well as emissions from aircraft overhead?
What about national policy that the Climate Change Act cannot be ignored and that a new runway in the South-East would mean regional airports would have to reduce capacity, potentially increasing unemployment in other regions? See a recent report
http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/wwf_regional_airports_report1.pdf for more details on that.
A new runway at Gatwick will bring economic gridlock to the South-East; the South-East that finances all those unemployed in the North as the South-East comes to a pollution, overcrowded standstill.
The Airports Commission was given the job of finding a location for a new runway in the South-East. It was not asked to look at the national framework of spare capacity at Luton and Stansted nor will Sir Howard Davies look at the widening divide between North / South divide; that is not in his brief.
Sir Howard Davies will receive his peerage and be gone, similar to the executives at Gatwick Airport who are spending so much time and money trying to convince our councillors to support their plans.
Next year is election time for MPs and councillors, so residents will have a chance to express their views. Obviously some party members are not yet listening to us voters.
Residents should contact councillors now as HDC and WSCC will respond to the Airport Commission consultation this autumn!
Chair, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE), Mayes Lane, Warnham
The next West Sussex County Council elections will take place in May 2017
Many district councils have elections for one third of their members each year.
Horsham election details at http://www.horsham.gov.uk/electionspages/elections/forthcoming-elections
West Sussex County Council gives its backing to 2nd runway plan for Gatwick
The leader of of West Sussex County Council, Mrs Louise Goldman, has welcomed the principle of creating a 2nd Gatwick runway and full airport expansion. This is nearly 35 years after the local authority signed a legal agreement restricting the airport to one runway. She said the county could not be preserved in aspic; and if it was to continue to provide quality jobs for its young people as well as take seriously its responsibilities to an ageing population, it had to make economic growth a priority. Somehow she manages to square that with saying she does did not mean abandoning the environment. “Quite the reverse. I have always considered myself to be an environmentalist, and protecting everything that makes West Sussex a unique place of beauty in which to live, work, and visit, remains enormously important.” And she has the naive hope that “ensuring that we mitigate environmental concerns as much as we possibly can,” will get over environmental problems. Her forthright and unequivocal statement came as Gatwick Airport will submit its planning proposals for expansion on 23rd July.
Study finds a 2nd Gatwick runway could require 40,000 new houses – a town the size of Crawley
A study by independent consultants jointly commissioned by the West Sussex County Council and the Gatwick Diamond business association has found that the total number of houses in Crawley at present is around 40,000, and some 30,000 – 45,000 new houses would be needed if a new runway is built at Gatwick. The study predicts that the number of jobs created by a new runway plus the number of jobs created in firms attracted to the area by doubling the size of Gatwick would be far in excess of any available labour. That would require a substantial influx of workers from other parts of the UK or from the EU. Local councils, which are already struggling to find sites for the current demand for housing – without Gatwick expansion. Councils would need to decide whether to build a whole new town or whether to add hundreds of new houses to every town and village – perhaps a thousand houses added to forty villages! A new runway would lead to widespread urbanisation of parts of rural Sussex and Surrey, and the “dream” could turn into a nightmare.
Gatwick’s runway plans would mean labour shortage, considerable local house building and traffic congestion
If Heathrow or Gatwick got permission to build a new runway, both would struggle to find enough workers locally. Both are in areas of high employment. Workers would have to either be drawn in from elsewhere, commuting in each day – or a lot of extra housing would have to be built to house them. Both areas already have substantial problems in providing sufficient housing, even at present. More jobs are needed outside the south east. Gatwick claims 122,000 new jobs would be created by a new runway, with 22,000 in the immediate vicinity of the airport. The airport’s labour shortage was underlined this summer when delays at baggage reclaim forced Gatwick to bus in extra staff from Southampton. Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate, said the shortage was a “deal breaker” and “Gatwick are proposing an airport busier than Heathrow….which has 43,100 more people on-site today. Therefore the on-site job forecast is probably an underestimate by a factor of two. Gatwick can’t man this airport without a massive increase in local house building.” A study by independent consultants jointly commissioned by the West Sussex County Council and the Gatwick Diamond, in early 2013, found that 30,000 – 45,000 new houses would be needed if Gatwick got a 2nd runway.
Crispin Blunt and other local MPs in the areas around Gatwick have written to Stewart Wingate to tell him that his runway proposals are a “pipe dream. ” The MPs say Gatwick’s runway application is “a developmental disaster waiting to happen”, and local communities are not large enough to support the planned expansion. They warn that planned upgrades to transport links, to deal with the current crowding, will not be sufficient for a possible trebling of current passenger numbers. Adding a runway will result in gridlocked traffic on the M23 and train problems, as more air passengers want to travel with large luggage items. Gatwick claims it can meet local air quality targets, which Heathrow cannot, but if Gatwick grows to approach the size Heathrow is now, it will have the same air quality problems. The MPs say: “The sooner this damaging pipe dream is abandoned, the better for its neighbours.” Also that there is very low local unemployment, and already a “desperate” shortage of housing. “Gatwick’s blithe assumption that the additional housing need would be met by local authorities’ existing development plans is wholly incredible”.
Gatwick expansion a ‘disaster waiting to happen’
Crispin Blunt and other local MPs tell Stewart Wingate his proposals for a second runway are a “pipe dream”
By Nick Collins, Transport Correspondent (Telegraph)
25 Oct 2014
Gatwick Airport’s application for a second runway is “a developmental disaster waiting to happen”, a group of local MPs has claimed.
Local communities are not large enough to support the planned expansion while planned upgrades to transport links will not be sufficient for a possible trebling of current passenger numbers, they warned.
The politicians, from nearby constituencies in Sussex, Surrey and Kent, added that the proposals would result in gridlocked traffic on the M23 and more of the baggage handling chaos seen at the airport this summer.
It came as Gatwick launched a new report claiming that even with a second runway it would be able to meet EU and UK air quality targets, in contrast to Heathrow which is already in breach of standards and has raised the possibility of introducing a congestion charge.
Gatwick and Heathrow are the only airports shortlisted for expansion by Sir Howard Davies, the chairman of the Airports Commission, which is due to deliver its final report after the General Election next year.
In a letter to Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick, this week Crispin Blunt and the other members of the Gatwick Coordination Group – Sir Paul Beresford, Sir Nicholas Soames, Sir John Stanley and Charles Hendry – claimed that “Heathrow’s plan for a third runway and attendant infrastructure improvements are, at least, plausible.
“The sooner this damaging pipe dream is abandoned, the better for its neighbours, and the real answer to the future of the UK’s aviation capacity can be reached.”
Gatwick’s application “lacks any serious proposals” on providing the transport infrastructure needed to support a second runway, suggesting that passenger numbers could treble from the current levels, they said.
They also claimed that Gatwick’s forecast of 22,000 new jobs on site and another 100,000 in the local area by 2050 “ignores the stark reality” that there are only 26,000 people claiming jobseekers’ allowance in the local area, and there is a “desperate” shortage of housing.
“As this summer’s disruption to luggage handling showed, Gatwick and its contractors already find it difficult to find workers to properly staff a single runway airport,” they said.
“Gatwick’s blithe assumption that the additional housing need would be met by local authorities’ existing development plans is wholly incredible”.
A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said: “Our studies show that expansion at Gatwick would deliver many upsides for our local community in terms of jobs and investment.
“We take concerns expressed by our neighbours seriously which is why we have pledged significant funds to help local authorities deliver any required new homes and infrastructure.”
MPs initiate “Gatwick Coordination Group” – saying 2nd runway is not in the local or national interest
MPs Crispin Blunt, Sir Paul Beresford, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry have formed the Gatwick Coordination Group. The Group is established to represent the serious local concern at the plan for a 2nd runway. The MPs’ group released a statement saying they believe a 2nd Gatwick runway would be a disaster for the surrounding communities and environment. They say the level of development, associated with an airport serving nearly three times as many passengers as it does now, would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place. Also that there is no adequate plan yet presented to provide the necessary infrastructure, of all types, to support this development. “The size of the Gatwick site only lends itself to a single runway airport, serving as a sensible, competitive alternate to London’s main hub airport. While they pursue that objective, Gatwick Airport Limited will have our support, but this proposal is not in the local interest, nor is it in the national interest, and this group will work to prove that case.”
MPs initiate “Gatwick Coordination Group”
MONDAY 16th JUNE 2014 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
MPs Crispin Blunt, Sir Paul Beresford, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry have formed the Gatwick Coordination Group following a meeting at the House of Commons on Wednesday 11th June 2014.
The Gatwick Coordination Group is established to represent the serious local concern at the plan for a second runway at Gatwick Airport which has been shortlisted by the Davies Commission.
Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) has made its submission to Sir Howard Davies, which is yet to be published. Sir Howard’s Commission will make its recommendation on airport capacity to the Government in 2015.
The MPs’ group released the following statement:
“We believe that the building of a second runway at Gatwick airport would be a disaster for the surrounding communities and environment. The level of development, associated with an airport serving nearly three times as many passengers as it does now, would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place.
“There is also no adequate plan yet presented to provide the necessary infrastructure, of all types, to support this development.
“The size of the Gatwick site only lends itself to a single runway airport, serving as a sensible, competitive alternate to London’s main hub airport. While they pursue that objective, Gatwick Airport Limited will have our support, but this proposal is not in the local interest, nor is it in the national interest, and this group will work to prove that case.”
As a local constituency MP who serves in the Government, Francis Maude is not able to endorse the above statement but wishes to be kept informed of the progress of the group.
The group is chaired by Crispin Blunt MP – Office: 0207 219 2254; Mobile: 07921039891.
Stansted airport claim “66% cut in net carbon footprint” this year – they are buying biomass-generated electricity from Drax
Stansted airport has produced its “Sustainability Report” for 2013. It announces the remarkable claim that: “Our net carbon footprint for 2013/14 was 9,940 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions – a reduction of 66% compared to 2012/13.” It does not specify what a “net” carbon footprint is though. Unfortunately the format of the 2013 Sustainability Report and the format of earlier years makes comparison impossible. However, the claim of a 66% cut – written to imply a cut in the carbon footprint of the whole airport – is only referring to its use of electricity. The press release says: “… 66% reduction in the carbon footprint achieved by moving the airport onto MAG’s group contract for purchasing low carbon electricity, which is generated using only biomass such as wood and straw rather than coal.” It turns out that MAG has a contract with Haven Energy, that is part of Drax, which is turning its generators from burning coal to burning biomass, in the form of wood pellets from forest in the southern USA, doing considerable environmental harm. While Drax claims its biomass electricity has 80% less CO2 than coal, some consider it to produce more, not less. That 66% claim is highly dubious …
Stansted reports 66% reduction in carbon footprint in first year of MAG ownership
21 Oct 2014
Reducing carbon footprint by 66%, diverting 93% of waste from landfill and trialling new technologies to improve aircraft performance on set departure routes are just a snapshot of the highlights in Stansted Airport’s corporate responsibility report published today, reflecting on performance during the first year of M.A.G ownership.
As the biggest single site employer in the region, providing direct employment for 10,850 people across 190 companies based at the airport, Stansted is a gateway to Europe offering more scheduled connections than any other UK airport; and having returned to growth under M.A.G ownership for the first time since 2007 and with a £260million investment programme underway to improve services and facilities for passengers we are a turning point in the airports history.
As Stansted continues to grow, carefully managing the airport’s operations is at the centre of M.A.G’s CSR strategy, which seeks to ensure the social and economic benefits of the airport are shared as widely as possible whilst minimising environmental impacts.
M.A.G’s Director of CSR, Neil Robinson, has lead the transition to bring a renewed focus on CSR at Stansted and commenting on the report published today he said:
“The team at Stansted shared our desire to drive forward a new CSR strategy with great progress made in just the first year, with the most significant saving being a 66% reduction in the carbon footprint achieved by moving the airport onto M.A.G’s group contract for purchasing low carbon electricity, which is generated using only biomass such as wood and straw rather than coal. [ It emerges, by separate research, that MAG is buying its power from Drax, which is converting its generators from coal to biomass. It uses pellets obtained largely from forests in the USA, doing environmental harm, and shipping these across the Atlantic. Drax is claiming there is an 80% carbon saving of its wood pellets compared to coal. See below. But opponents suspect that, taking everything into account, the carbon emissions from wood pellets could be even worse than those from coal. Huge subsidies are involved. Stansted can get this electricity at a low price, due to Climate Change Levy Exemption Certificates. AW note]
“Our commitment to waste management was recognised when Stansted was awarded Gold accreditation by National Recycling Stars and with the volume of waste recycled or recovered increased by 24% we finished the year having diverted 93% of waste from landfill putting us firmly on-track to achieve our target of sending zero waste direct to landfill by the end of 2015.
“We had very encouraging results from a trial carried out in partnership with easyJet and in agreement with the CAA of new technology that helps aircraft stay closer to the centre line on set departure routes, which will help reduce the noise footprint of people affected by aircraft noise on the ground and we’re now expanding this trial to other airline partners.
“Our drive to improve staff engagement got off to a flying start when we introduced a dedicated team for internal communications and through renewed focus of our community strategy a new work experience programme was introduced, we increased staff volunteering, set up a mentoring scheme for GCSE students and established the London Stansted Community Network to bring together the 190 companies based at Stansted to talk as one community.
“This report outlines just some of the first stepping stones laid by M.A.G for the new CSR strategy being implemented at Stansted and we’re currently out to public consultation on our draft Sustainable Development Plan which will set the future business objectives and the CSR agenda as we take the business forward.”
The full report is available online at www.stanstedairport.com/corporateresponsibility
Some of the key achievements under each of the objectives are:
- 66% reduction in carbon footprint compared 2012/13 (29,199t 2012/13 down to 9,940t 2013/14)
- 93% waste diverted from landfill (75% in 2012 up to 93% 2013)
- Awarded Gold accreditation in National Recyling Stars
- 51% passengers used public transport maintaining Stansted’s position as the leading major airport for public transport use
- 450 people employed through the airport employment academy
- 500 hours of employee volunteering to support the local community
- Over £112,000 donated to local community groups
- Trialled new technology to improve aircraft performance on departure routes and to help reduce noise footprint of people affected by aircraft noise
- £774 million in gross added value to the region
- £1.8 million in new contracts generated at the annual Meet The Buyers event
- Provided direct employment for 10,850 people across 190 companies on-site
- Over 700 recruits attend free job fair offering 120 vacancies
- Achieved British Safety Council’s 5 star rating and retained OHSAS 18001 accreditation for health and safety systems
- Launched new employment engagement strategy to improve internal communication channels
- Led new approach to engagement with unions
- Introduced new format of all colleague briefings and met over 90% of work force face to face to update on business strategy and future plans
Stansted’s 2013 Sustainability Report
Stansted’s report section on its carbon footprint states:
Preventing emissions and improving efficiency
At London Stansted Airport, energy efficiency and carbon emissions are considered at every stage of a project and it is our policy to install energy efficient technology wherever possible in new developments and refurbishment projects. For example, throughout the first stage of the redevelopment and refurbishment of the London Stansted terminal building, we have installed LED lighting systems in the passenger search area and the new toilet block in the international departure lounge. We have also installed LED lighting in office block lobbies, lifts and a number of escalators. We will continue to install LED lighting wherever possible in the building upgrades planned for 2014/15 and are developing plans to change more of our existing traditional
lighting to LED throughout 2014-15. This will include the wholesale change out of lighting in our terminal service tunnel to LED technology.
We have also focused on the terminal building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. During 2013/14 we undertook improvements to our chilled water systems, which have delivered further reductions in energy consumption. We are currently upgrading the air-handling units in the main terminal building to increase efficiency with variable speed drives and better sensors and controls and we will be looking at HVAC systems in a number of other buildings.
These projects have helped to deliver a 6% reduction in the energy consumed by the
Monitoring and targeting is another key element of our approach to energy management. In
2013/14 we commenced a major programme to upgrade our electricity metering. This will
include the installation of over 100* meters and the connection of meters in our main buildings to an automatic meter reading system (AMR). This programme should be completed by the end of 2014 and will significantly improve our ability to analyse consumption and prioritise energy efficiency measures.
This year we have amended our carbon footprint reporting to align with the wider MAG group and to improve the transparency of our reporting of emissions we can directly control and those we can only influence.
Our net carbon footprint for 2013/14 was 9,940 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions – a reduction of 66% compared to 2012/13. This very substantial reduction is largely due to emissions avoided through our purchase of grid electricity from renewable sources. [No details of figures, or assumptions made, are given. The government presumes the carbon emissions from any source of renewable electricity are zero, though this in actually not accurate. AW note]. Our biomass boiler which we installed in 2008 has had some technical difficulties and we are currently reviewing options for low carbon heat generation for the terminal along with our overall approach to on-site generation from renewables.
We continue to work with our partners to support efforts to reduce their emissions. A number
of the measures described in the noise section also contribute to reduction of emissions from aircraft. We have maintained our record on public transport with over 50% of passengers using public transport to travel to and from the airport.
Page 13 of
By contrast, the 2012 Stansted Sustainability Report stated:
Stansted Airport Limited has been producing a carbon footprint since 2008. [sic!!] By thinking creatively about energy efficiency and working closely with business partners,
passengers and our employees we have been able to reduce our carbon emissions by over 60,000 tonnes of CO2 over the last four years. This is the equivalent to taking
5,335 vehicles off the road for a year.
In 2012, we continued with this trend, reducing our full carbon footprint by 6.2%. This equates to a saving 26,788 tonnes of CO2. This is a greater reduction than would have been expected based on reduced passenger numbers which fell by 585,674 or 3.3% compared to 2011 figures. In defining our carbon footprint we have followed Greenhouse Gas reporting protocols and split the emissions into key groups. Direct emissions relate to those emissions Stansted has direct or indirect control of such as gas or electricity use and are technically known as Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. The other emissions result from the operation of the airport which Stansted has limited control or influence over and are known as indirect or Scope 3 emissions. Our direct emissions reduced by 3% primarily due to reduction in the use of gas and electricity and improved management of aircraft and surface transport emissions. The increase in business travel emissions is due to improved data collection and ability to determine precise emissions. The airport’s five yearly data table can be accessed on www.stanstedairport.com/sustainability
It is actually on Page 14 of http://www.stanstedairport.com/media/4300/sustainability_report_2013__web_final.pdf
Manchester Airports Group (MAG) buy their electricity from Haven Power, which is part of Drax.
“As part of our commitment to make ground operations carbon neutral across the Manchester Airports Group by 2015, we are always looking at ways to reduce energy demand, produce our own renewable energy on site or where this is not feasible, source renewable power. Haven Power’s dedication to renewable energy mirrors our own sustainability values and we are therefore looking forward to developing a long term partnership with them.”
Neil Robinson, CSR Director Manchester Airports Group
Haven Power gets supplies of Climate Change Levy (CCL) exempt electricity. To avoid paying CCL, businesses can request power that is accredited by Levy Exemption Certificates (LECs). electricity through its parent company, Drax Power. This is what MAG has done.
Haven Power publishes a breakdown of the fuel mix used to generate all the electricity it supplies. This is produced on an annual basis in accordance with the terms of Haven Power’s Electricity Supply Licence and the relevant Regulations.
Customers who purchase Climate Change Levy exempt electricity are provided with the appropriate documentation.
Haven Power say:
Haven Power can supply businesses with Climate Change Levy (CCL) exempt electricity.
This option has been developed for businesses committed to being more sustainable, without increasing their electricity costs.
CCL is a tax levied by the government on fuels used by businesses, including electricity. This cost is passed onto customers by their supplier who collects this Levy with their electricity bills.
To avoid paying CCL, businesses can buy power that is accredited by Levy Exemption Certificates (LECs).
Levy Exempt power does not attract CCL, so despite a slightly higher energy cost, once the CCL tax is removed the overall price is the same as standard power. This option is available on all of products.*
*Available for customers using more than 15,000 kWh [per annum] and with no other form of exemption in place.
To learn more about levy exempt power call us on 01473 725943.
Details of the fuel mix for electricity supplied by Haven Power
Under Haven Power’s licence to supply electricity, we are required to let our customers know about the fuel mix of the electricity we supply.
The fuel mix for electricity supplied by Haven Power during the year ending 31 March 2014 is shown below as well as the contribution of each energy source to the total amount of electricity purchased by Haven Power Ltd.
Haven Power’s Fuel Mix 2014
Source of Electricity Percentage
Natural Gas 20%
Other fuels 4%
Environmental impact 420g CO2/kWh plus 0.00055g high level radioactive waste/kWh.
Drax and biomass
Drax is transforming itself into a predominantly biomass-fuelled generator through burning sustainable biomass in place of coal. We plan to convert three of our six generating units to burn biomass. The first unit was converted in April 2013.
Drax only burns sustainable biomass. Our calculations show that the range of biomass materials we have burnt over the last few years has a far lower carbon footprint than that of fossil fuel-fired power stations.
We measure the full carbon life cycle of generating electricity from biomass, which means we measure the carbon emissions at each step of the supply chain, including harvesting, processing and transportation.
The average carbon dioxide saving, over the full life cycle, resulting from burning biomass in place of coal is above 80%.
Biofuelwatch says on burning biomass to generate electricity in the UK
Power station operators such as Drax Plc and E.On are getting some good PR for supposedly “going green”, but the truth of course, is far from that. As we discuss below, burning biomass actually emits more CO2 from their smokestacks than burning coal does. These conversions are really about keeping old, dirty power stations alive for longer, and cashing in on government subsidies.
These power stations shouldn’t be burning coal or biomass because of the huge impacts both have on communities, the environment and the climate.
Read our coal-biomass conversions briefing below or download it as a pdf here
Some news items about the problems with burning imported wood pellets as biomass to burn in UK power stations:
Drax renewable energy move ‘could harm forests’
The UK’s biggest coal power station has been accused of causing environmental damage as it moves to produce electricity from “renewable” resources.
Drax in North Yorkshire is converting half of its boilers to burn wood.
Environmentalists are worried the huge demand for wood pellets from Drax and other UK power stations will damage forests in the US.
Drax chief executive Dorothy Thompson said pellets would come from areas that are “not protected”.
“When you burn trees, the CO2 goes straight out the chimney and into the atmosphere,” said Harry Huyton, head of climate change at the RSPB.
“For a long time it was thought that the forest will re-grow and absorb that carbon dioxide, but it’s common sense that trees take a bit of time to grow.”
The wood pellets are to be shipped across the Atlantic as there are not enough trees in the UK to supply the power station.
Environmentalist Derb Carter, of the Southern Environmental Law Center in North Carolina, said: “People can see there’s a lot that will be lost if these trees are cut and burnt for fuel.”
But Ms Thompson said: “We would only deal with pellet producers who deliver biomass from areas that are not protected.
“By turning us into a renewable power station, biomass gives us a long-term future, it preserves jobs in Yorkshire and actually it’s a really good renewable.”
Forests could face threat from biomass power ‘gold rush’
Sustainability fear over new power stations’ demand for wood pellets after report says their use has implications globally
Bt Jamie Doward (The Observer)
Britain’s new generation of biomass power stations will have to source millions of tonnes of wood from thousands of miles away if they are to operate near to their full capacity, raising questions about the claims made for the sustainability of the new technology.
Ministers believe biomass technology could provide as much as 11% of the UK’s energy by 2020, something that would help it meet its carbon commitments. The Environment Agency estimates that biomass-fired electricity generation, most of which involves burning wood pellets, can cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared with coal-fired power stations. Eight biomass power stations, including one in a unit in the giant Drax power station, are operating in the UK and a further seven are in the pipeline. None operates near capacity.
But now environmental groups are questioning where the new plants will source their wood if the technology takes off. A campaign group, Biofuelwatch, calculates in a new report that the UK could end up burning as much as 82m tonnes of biomass each year – more than eight times the UK’s annual wood production. If Drax were to operate at full capacity, it alone would get through 16m tonnes of wood a year, according to the report, which claims a Europe-wide demand for biomass is triggering a “gold rush” for wood pellets that could have implications for global land use.
The report highlights the example of Portugal, where 10% of the country is now covered by eucalyptus plantations much of which is used for biomass energy production. Two campaign groups, the Dogwood Alliance and the US Natural Resources Defence Council, have issued critical reports about the way that forests in the southern states of the US are being used for biomass production. There are also concerns that tracts of Brazil are being used to supply the wood pellets.
But the concerns have been fiercely rejected by the biomass industry. Enviva, which supplies Drax with wood pellets, said its biomass came mainly from offcuts from poor-quality trees that are left over from those grown for the construction and paper industries. It said it would be uneconomic to cut down forests purely for biomass and that the cost of shipping a tonne of wood pellets from the east coast of the US to the UK was similar to transporting the same amount some 225 miles within the UK. It said that even the most optimistic forecasts for global wood pellet demand suggested it would not exceed 40m tonnes – equivalent to 80m tonnes of wood – a year by 2020.
“Biomass is the only renewable energy source that can replace coal quickly and cost-effectively, providing the same operational benefits while dramatically improving the environmental profile of energy generation,” a company spokesman said.
MGT Power, which is behind a proposed biomass plant on Teesside, potentially the largest of its kind in the world, told the Observer it had dropped plans to source its wood from Brazil, although it denied this was to do with sustainability concerns.
A spokesman said that biomass could be an important green technology for the UK. “We feel very strongly that biomass can provide energy at lower prices than offshore wind,” the spokesman said.
This website http://www.electricityinfo.org/suppliers.php gives details of the mix of sources of electricity for all the main electricity providers.
Classic council nimbyism: Wandsworth Council backs Gatwick expansion – anything to avoid more Heathrow noise misery
Wandsworth Council has been a vociferous opponent of expansion at Heathrow, because its residents are badly affected by Heathrow aircraft noise. But now a motion has been voted on – unanimously – by the full Wandsworth Council, backing a new runway at Gatwick. This is a stunning example of Council nimbyism, and irresponsible self interest. Gatwick has spent a lot of money in lobbying west London councils, and this has paid off in Wandsworth. The Council rightly praises itself on its battle against Heathrow, expansion which “would deliver a devastating blow to hundreds of thousands of Londoners whose lives would be blighted by noise and pollution.” They appear not to appreciate that they are advocating inflicting the same misery on other people, in Sussex, Surrey and Kent. Wandsworth even hopes Gatwick expansion will benefit them financially. Their view is based on the opinions of their unfortunate residents, who suffer significantly from Heathrow, but Wandsworth also unquestioningly backs the myth of airport expansion in the south east being “badly needed.” You can email them your views: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gatwick has been lobbying west London councils hard. It seems to have paid off with Wandsworth Council:
Gatwick expansion could create local jobs
Thursday 25th September 2014 (Wandsworth council)
A new report by Gatwick Airport sets out the economic, housing, transport and employment benefits a second runway could bring to Wandsworth and the wider south London region.
An artist’s impression of a two runway Gatwick Airport
Gatwick and Heathrow are now the only two locations being considered by the Government’s Airports Commission as potential locations for a new runway in the south of England.
The new study says that areas with direct rail links to Gatwick, including Clapham Junction in central Battersea, would attract higher levels of growth and development if the airport expands. This would create additional local jobs, homes and investment.
Clapham Junction is currently 25 minutes from Gatwick and rail services set to be become faster and more frequent.
According to the report: a second runway would generate up to 70,000 jobs across London, many of them in Wandsworth another 22,000 jobs would be created in and around the airport which would be accessible to Wandsworth residents across the UK a total of 120,000 employment opportunities would stem from the second runway development.
Because Gatwick is located south of the capital a new runway would not create new flightpaths over Wandsworth or any other part of London.
Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said:
“The report makes a strong case which we are now discussing in more detail with Gatwick officials. We are very interested to hear what local people and our business community think about the proposals and you can write to email@example.com to share your views.
“It’s always been clear Clapham Junction stands to benefit from growth at Gatwick thanks to its direct rail link. We agree it would enhance this part of Battersea’s credentials as a business destination and help attract the employment growth we are already seeing in neighbouring Nine Elms.
“A second runway would have to come alongside further investment in our rail network including the Brighton Mainline and at Clapham Junction Station. It would also add momentum to the council’s redevelopment plans for the area around the station and help us unlock this districts full potential.
“What is certain is that expanding Gatwick would come without the enormous levels of noise pollution, environmental damage and worsening transport gridlock we would face with a third runway at Heathrow.”
HAVE YOUR SAY:
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us your views
Cross Party Support For Gatwick Expansion
Councillors unanimously agree to support the case for expansion at Gatwick
At the weekly full council (Wandsworth) meeting the following motion was agreed upon.
WANDSWORTH BOROUGH COUNCIL
COUNCIL MEETING – 15TH OCTOBER 2014
Motion, notice of which has been given by Councillor Cook and Councillor Cuff in pursuance of Standing Order No. 22. Airports Expansion
The airports motion reads as follows:
(a) congratulates Wandsworth and other members of the cross-party 2M Alliance of London Boroughs for their continued opposition to Heathrow’s expansion, which would deliver a devastating blow to hundreds of thousands of Londoners whose lives would be blighted by noise and pollution;
(b) should continue its active programme of engagement with local people to ensure that the social and environmental consequences of expansion at Heathrow including noise, air pollution and road traffic impacts, are understood, and that the concerns of residents continue to be brought to the attention of Sir Howard Davies;
Reflecting on the recent decision by the Airports Commission to disregard the Estuary option, this Council:
(c) accepts the economic case for an increase in the nation’s aviation capacity, and agrees that opening up additional air routes to other parts of the globe is good for growth and good for the UK economy;
(d) supports the view of the overwhelming majority of our residents, who have told us loud and clear that expansion of Gatwick is the only credible option to deliver the badly needed expansion of airport capacity in the south east;
(e) believes that Wandsworth could have much to gain from Gatwick’s expansion, driving growth with investment in rail services through south London into the heart of Battersea. Most importantly, it can do this without the environmental baggage associated with a bigger, busier and much more polluting Heathrow; and
(f) asks the Leader of the Council to work closely with other south London local authorities to maximise these benefits for Londoners.
The Town Hall PAUL MARTIN
Wandsworth Chief Executive and
SW18 2PU Director of Administration
10th October 2014
Wandsworth residents back Gatwick expansion
Monday, 13th October 2014 (Building and Construction)
A poll of more than 1,500 Wandsworth residents shows the majority now support expansion at Gatwick airport.
Of the people questioned, 57 per cent support a new runway at Gatwick compared to 16 per cent who want a new runway at Heathrow. 24 per cent of respondents preferred no expansion at either airport and the remainder were unsure.
The council’s research focussed on the choice between adding a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow which are now the only locations on the Airports Commission’s expansion shortlist. Key findings include:
Of those surveyed, 58 per cent agree or strongly agree that airport expansion in the south of England is now a necessary step.
42 per cent believe expanding Gatwick would have a ‘significant positive affect’ on Wandsworth’s while 16 per cent believe expanding Heathrow would have a ‘significant positive affect’ on Wandsworth.
There is high support for noise respite periods with 87 per cent in favour of people living around airports being given regular breaks from aircraft noise.
84 per cent said there should be no flights over peoples’ homes before 6am.
80 per cent said the prospect of increased aircraft noise over their homes is a big concern.
Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said:
“The survey results show that Gatwick expansion is by far the most popular option here in Wandsworth. Our residents have sent a very clear message and we will act on it.”
“A motion will be put before next week’s full council meeting which would see Wandsworth taking a proactive role in supporting the Gatwick bid. If we take the initiative now we can help shape the transport package that comes alongside the new runway and maximise the benefits for Wandsworth and the south London region.”
“The ground has clearly shifted in this debate and we expect public in other parts of London will reflect the consensus here in Wandsworth. For the last ten years Heathrow expansion has proved a political impossibility. Following the break up of BAA, Gatwick has emerged as a viable alternative with a fraction of the environmental costs and noise impacts.”
“Our survey has also bolstered the case for a ban on night flights over London and will help us fight any further proposals that threaten respite periods. We will ensure the Airport Commission and the Department for Transports takes careful note of our community’s views.”