Government starts consultation on UK Airspace Policy, to manage increasing use of airspace

Alongside the draft NPS, the Government is publishing separate proposals to “modernise” the way UK airspace is managed. This consultation; “UK Airspace Policy: A framework for balanced decisions on the design and use of airspace” is (quote): …”seeking views on how aircraft noise is managed effectively while updating airspace policies. Proposals will look at how the number of aircraft entering and leaving our airspace can be managed effectively – using the latest technology to make airspace more efficient, reducing the need for stacking and making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly.” They will also include draft guidance on how noise impacts should be assessed and used to inform decisions on airspace. The consultation also includes proposals on the role of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, which we will establish. The Commission would build relationships between industry and communities and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to the use of airspace and flight paths.”  Cynics might enjoy the craft in the wording: “… more environmentally friendly” and “even fairer”.  If only.  The government is aware that the current policy of trying to “minimise the number significantly affected by aircraft noise” does not work, with P-RAV technology, and highly concentrated narrow routes. That has not proved to be”fair” at all.
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Consultation on airspace policy

2.2.2017  (DfT website) – Statement by Chris Grayling, Transport Minister

“We need to think about how we manage the rising number of aircraft in an efficient and effective manner. By taking steps now to future-proof this vital infrastructure, we can harness the latest technology to make airspace more efficient as well as making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly.

I am therefore also publishing proposals to modernise the way UK airspace is managed, which will be consulted on in parallel. The policy principles set out in this airspace consultation influence decisions taken later in the planning process for a north-west runway at Heathrow, if the Airports National Policy Statement were to be designated, including how local communities can have their say on airspace matters and how impacts on them are taken into account.

It is an important issue and one that will define the principles for shaping our airspace for years to come. It is therefore sensible to allow members of the public to consider both matters at the same time.

The proposals being published for consultation today include the functions, structure and governance of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, which we will establish. The commission would build relationships between industry and communities, embed a culture of best practice, and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to airspace.

The proposed new call-in function for a Secretary of State on airspace changes, similar to that used by the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government for planning applications, create a democratic back-stop in the most significant decisions, much called for by communities.

The consultation on airspace policy, new Air navigation guidance and the Strategic rationale for upgrading the UK’s airspace will be made available online.”  [Not yet out]

Ends 25th May 2017  after a 16 week consultation, alongside the Airports NPS consultation.

Public consultation events by the DfT will take place across the country.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/airport-capacity-and-airspace-policy

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Open consultation

Reforming policy on the design and use of UK airspace

The DfT says:

We are consulting on proposals to:

  • support the reform of airspace, thereby maximising the economic and social benefits of aviation
  • minimise the negative local impacts of aviation

We are seeking comment on proposals to update policy on the management of UK airspace including:

  • the role of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise to ensure noise impacts are openly considered
  • providing industry with the ability to assess noise impacts and guidance to help them manage change more effectively
  • bringing compensation policy for airspace changes in line with policy on changes to aviation infrastructure
  • greater flexibility for London’s major airports, so they can adapt noise management to the needs of their local communities

The policy principles set out in the consultation document will influence decisions, including how:

  • local communities can have their say on airspace matters
  • industry should take into account the impacts on local communities and act to reduce them

The draft ‘Air navigation guidance on airspace and noise management and environmental objectives’ shows how these policy principles could be put into place.

We are running regional consultation information events for invited stakeholders. If you think you should have been invited, please contact us on 0800 689 4968.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reforming-policy-on-the-design-and-use-of-uk-airspace


These are the relevant documents:

UK airspace policy: a framework for balanced decisions on the design and use of airspace (web version)

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How to respond – deadline 25th May 2017

or

Complete a response form and either

Email to:  airspace.policy@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Write to:

Freepost UK AIRSPACE POLICY CONSULTATION

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The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) commented:

On today’s proposals for providing a framework for decisions relating to airspace change

2.2.2017

AEF Director Tim Johnson said:

Today’s proposals follow intense community pressure over recent years for the Government to act to prevent significant airspace changes being implemented without either consultation or compensation for those affected on the ground.

Communities who have been suffering the noise effects of aircraft flying down increasingly narrow corridors as a consequence of satellite navigation technology will welcome today’s proposals to take better account of local circumstances and engage more with those affected.

Communities will also be encouraged by the prospect of compensation for airspace changes, a call-in power for the Secretary of State to intervene where the impacts are likely to be significant, and a requirement to assess noise down to lower thresholds.

The Government’s proposal to create an independent commission on aircraft noise will also be welcomed by some communities hopeful that the body will provide some fresh thinking on the issue.  But with no requirement to deliver a noise reduction strategy, and without enforcement powers, or the teeth to make binding recommendations, its effectiveness may be limited.

Overall this is a strategy about catering for more demand.  Improvements to the process in terms of transparency and communication won’t tackle the underlying need to reduce noise.

The Government’s hope that future noise reductions will be achieved through the introduction of quieter aircraft and a reduction in stacking will only have a marginal impact given the likely increase in the number of aircraft. These hopes also ignore the reality that people are becoming more annoyed by aircraft noise than they were in the past, despite technological improvements.

The Government-commissioned SoNA report, released today by the CAA, confirms the finding of many other recent studies that sensitivity has increased over the years.

Noise levels around many airports are already too high, and are likely to get worse if the sector continues to expand. We urgently need a Government strategy for limiting noise to within levels that are safe for health. It shouldn’t fall to members of the public to have to defend themselves against their local noise environment becoming intolerable.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2017/02/02/further-comment-from-aef-on-todays-aviation-consultations/

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Heathrow NPS – summary of the main (probably) insuperable obstacles the runway faces

The government hopes to get a 3rd Heathrow runway approved, but it realises there are a large number of massive obstacles. The purpose of the NPS (National Policy Statement) consultation is to attempt to persuade the country, and particularly the MPs who must ultimately vote on it, that these obstacles can be successfully overcome.  At present, there are no apparent solutions to many of the problems. Below are some very brief outlines of what some of the insuperable hurdles are – and why the government is a very long way from resolving the difficulties.  The issues listed here are the three main environmental issues – noise, carbon emissions, and air pollution. The economics is complicated, but there is a note on that too.  When Chris Grayling makes bland PR statements about the runway, or the papers regurgitate undigested blurb from the DfT, it may be useful to remember how very thin some of these statement are, and how far the government would have to go, in order to find even partial solutions.
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Heathrow NPS:   Policy – cart before horse

In a sensible system, it might be imagined that a government would first establish the policy it wants in some particular area – and then set about introducing specific developments. So it might have been expected that the government would set out, and consult, on details of UK aviation policy – on issues such as noise, carbon emissions, balance of airports across the country, taxation etc – before going hell for leather for a Heathrow runway.  What is actually now happening is that the NPS hopes to push through the runway, with no effective policy on aircraft noise, and how it is managed and distributed. There is no policy on aviation carbon emissions.  There is no policy on how much of the aviation industry in the UK is focused on the south east.  Instead, the intention is to get the Heathrow runway approved (in blind Brexit panic …) come what may – and then sort out the resulting problems afterwards.  For example, on carbon, Heathrow will have to take the lion’s share of the allocation allowed, and other airports will have to divvy out what is left among themselves.

 

Noise

The government has repeatedly said, as does Heathrow, that 50% more planes can be added without increasing the amount of noise.  The most generous assessment of this statement would be that it was over-optimistic, but in reality it is downright disingenuous. Even insulting to the public’s understanding.  What 50% more flights means is 50% more noise. True, in coming decades planes are likely to become a couple of decibels less noisy. Even then, they will not be “quiet”.  The new runway will need new flight paths – lots of them. The industry wants to use narrow flight paths, as this is the most “efficient” use of airspace (ie. fits the most flights into a small space).  Nobody plans to inform the public for at least a couple of years where these flight paths will go.  So nobody can have any certainty which new areas will be overflown for the first time. And there is absolutely no doubt that new areas will be overflown.  There is also certainty that even if some areas get “respite” from noise for parts of the day, those areas currently enjoying about half a day of “respite” would only get about 4 hours, with the new runway.

The government, and the CAA, have no clear idea at all how to deal with the problem of people who live under new flight paths, or newly noisier flight paths. There are increasing numbers of people who are not prepared to tolerate becoming the victims of levels of noise that not only reduce people’s quality of life, but may also interfere with their sleep, and therefore their health.  [See more below].

 

Carbon emissions

Chris Grayling and the DfT have now given up trying to make out that a Heathrow runway can be built, and fully used, and the UK can still stay within the carbon cap for aviation. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – which is the government’s official advisor on climate change – in 2009 set a recommended cap for UK aviation CO2 in 2050. This cap is 37.5MtCO2, which was the level in 2005.  The government has never formally accepted the CCC advice. Chris Grayling now admits that he is likely to ignore it – as otherwise the runway is not possible. Instead, the intention is to get the Heathrow runway built, and then try to find some fudge on the carbon.  If the government abandons any pretence of trying to keep UK aviation emissions below 37.5MtCO2, then either the UK will fail to meet its legally binding carbon target for 2050 – or else every other sector will have to make cuts in its CO2 to an extent the CCC does not believe possible.   Or else the UK becomes a pariah state, ignoring commitments on carbon, and not taking seriously its international responsibilities.  [See more below]

 

Air pollution

Areas around Heathrow have had levels of air pollution (NO2 and particulates) for many years. The problem is caused partly by the aircraft themselves, partly by vehicles on the airport, and mainly by road vehicles on the surrounding roads including the M4 and the M25. A large part of the pollution is from diesel.  There are no definitive figures for how many of the vehicles on the surrounding roads are associated with Heathrow. So when the government says there will be increase, it is not going to be possible to check – unless the baseline numbers are recorded.

The simple maths shows this claim, of no more vehicles, is implausible.  If only about 42% or so of passengers now travel to/from Heathrow on public transport, and 55% will do so with the runway, the figures show this will still mean an increase. And the same goes for employees – not to mention all the extra people who may need to travel to other businesses etc attracted into the area.  The government is banking on car manufacturers quickly getting over the problems of diesel emissions, and the turnover of vehicles being rapid enough that all cars are petrol or electric by 2030 … which is scarcely likely.  Oh, and then there is the extra 50% more freight Heathrow hopes to handle – that all trundles around in diesel fuelled vans and lorries.  [See more below]

 

Economic benefits to all the UK

The Airports Commission came up with a range of figures for the alleged economic benefit to the UK of the 3rd runway.  The one they used most often was £147 billion.  But that was for the whole of the UK, over 60 years, and it used some highly questionable methodology.  In October 2016, the DfT recalculated this – taking out much of the double counting and unwarranted assumptions – to be £61 billion, over all the UK, over 60 years.

Many of the regions, the Chambers of Commerce, the MPs and Councils were wined and dined by Heathrow, and told of the huge economic benefits the runway would bring their region – and all the jobs. Those claims were made either based on the Airports Commission’s £147 billion figure – or else £211 billion that Heathrow itself often talked of.  With the (still probably exaggerated and unreliable) newer figure of £61 billion, the anticipated wealth for the regions needs to be recalculated. The regions, the MPs, the Chambers of Commerce etc, need to understand they were not given credible figures.

The cost to the UK Treasury each year, in revenue lost as aviation pays no VAT or fuel duty, is around £10 billion per year. The cost of the annual tourism deficit (more money spent by UK residents on trips abroad, over that spent by people from overseas on their trips to the UK) is around £15 billion per year.  The social and health cost of noise and health impacts of Heathrow are not properly quantified.  By contrast, the Heathrow runway is estimated to benefit the UK by £1 billion per year.  Impressive?  [See more below].

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Below are a few items that give more information on why the government has huge problems with a 3rd Heathrow runway:

Noise:

Chris Grayling’s evidence to the Environmental Audit Cttee on noise – in relation to Heathrow runway

Chris Grayling was questioned by the Environmental Audit Committee on 30th November 2016. Below are the parts of the questions, and answers by Chris Grayling and Caroline Low (DfT) on the subject of noise. Mr Grayling reveals only a very partial understanding of the problems, and of the noise levels – and a somewhat trusting belief in how “quiet” new aircraft are going to be. He says the UK should not impose restrictions on noisy aircraft of developing countries, as it would be unfair on them. He admits that people who currently get “respite” from Heathrow noise will get less, and there will have to be new flight paths – means unknown numbers of people will get noise for the first time, and not a lot of “respite”. His aspiration is for no scheduled flights for six and a half hours per night. He believes (mistakenly) that slightly steeper landings would help. He manages to repeat the mantra that despite 50% more flights “noise levels will be lower than they are at the moment.” He places unjustified trust in an “independent noise authority (or commission)” sorting out a lot of insoluble noise problems in future. Much that he could not give proper replied to depends on consultations in 2017. He will “look at” the issue of when insulation of affected homes is done – over up to 20 years, rather than right away. A worrying performance, for those affected by Heathrow noise.

Click here to view full story…

New EAC report highly critical of government lack on clarity on aircraft noise targets

The EAC has now published a follow up report to their November 2015 report, after the oral evidence given by Chris Grayling on 30th November. It is highly critical of the government on its assurances on noise targets and its low level of ambition in limiting noise in future. The EAC says: “We are concerned that the Government’s National Policy Statement has provided no further clarity on how predictable respite will be achieved or on the specific timings of a night flight ban.” … “The Government must carry out further work on respite which should form part of the NPS process, alongside plans for a live timetable of respite to be published beginning when the new runway is operational. We welcome the Government’s commitment to a 6.5 hour night flight ban. … it would appear inconsistent to reject its key recommendation on the precise timing of a night flight ban.” … and …”The stated goal of “fewer people […] affected by noise from Heathrow by 2030 than are today” shows a lack of ambition. Without Heathrow expansion, local communities would have seen a decrease in aircraft noise as new technology and airspace management techniques were developed.” … and “We are concerned with the inconsistency of the metrics used to measure noise attitudes. The Government has recognised that the level of significant annoyance has reduced and the number effected increased, yet it bases its conclusions on the out of date 57 dB LAeq 16hr contour.” And much more.

Click here to view full story…


Carbon emissions:

Government likely to ignore climate advice by CCC, turning just to carbon trading, to try to push Heathrow runway through

Chris Grayling and the government plan to ignore the assessment of the government’s own independent climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, on how to manage the CO2 emissions from a 3 runway Heathrow. The Environmental Audit Committee wrote to Grayling on 19th December, asking how he planned to square the CO2 emissions and the CCC advice with DfT plans. His response shows there is no way it can be done, and building the 3rd runway means not meeting the UK aviation cap – recommended by the CCC – of 37.5MtCO2 by 2050, meaning about 60% passenger growth above 2005 level. Grayling says ministers “have not taken a view on whether to accept the CCC’s planning assumption,” ie. rejecting the advice. He goes on to note that “a future global carbon market would allow emissions reductions to be made where they are most efficient across the global economy”. Then he says “measures are available” even if the aviation sector grows by more than 60%. This goes against the CCC’s own calculation that these levels of growth would mean “all other sectors will have to prepare for correspondingly higher emissions reductions in 2050.” Grayling hopes carbon trading will cut emissions – but in reality there are no effective carbon trading mechanisms that would do this well enough.

Click here to view full story…

New EAC report says government must provide clarity about its intentions on Heathrow CO2 emissions

The EAC has now published a follow up report to their November 2015 report, after the oral evidence given by Chris Grayling on 30th November. It is highly critical of the government on its assurances that the runway will meet carbon limits. The EAC says: “The Government claims that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within “the UK’s climate change obligations”. The Government has not set out what it means by “obligations”, let alone how it will meet them. It has not decided whether to accept the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation on limiting emissions from international aviation. It has not decided on whether to follow the CCC’s advice on offsetting. The Airports Commission told us the appropriate body to make recommendations on managing aviation emissions is the CCC. It would not be a credible position for the Government to claim that it can deliver Heathrow expansion within emissions limits whilst rejecting independent advice as to what those limits should be and how they should be met.” … The EAC says though Chris Grayling said told them the Government had not decided whether it intended to work towards the planning assumption [of limiting UK aviation to 37.5MtCO2 by 2050], when asked if he “had consulted other Ministers or sectors over the higher emissions reductions that they might be required to make if the planning assumption was not met. He said he had not yet done so.” And much more ….

Click here to view full story…

Air pollution:

Government backed Heathrow 3rd runway ‘using old air pollution data’

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has admitted the Government backed a 3rd runway at Heathrow without fully understanding the implications of ground-breaking new evidence on vehicle emission standards. Ministers insist Heathrow can expand within EU limits on air pollution, which are currently being widely breached in the capital. But a study for the Government, supporting its third runway decision, was not based on the latest international analysis by experts, which showed emissions from some diesel vehicles are worse than previously claimed. Mr Grayling is to appear before the EAC on 30th November to give evidence on Heathrow and its environmental issues. In a letter to the Environmental Audit Cttee (EAC), Mr Grayling said: “Further work is needed to understand the implications of this evidence. … But our initial assessment suggests that revised forecasts would be likely to be within the range of scenarios already considered by our re-analysis [on air quality].” However, EAC chairwoman Mary Creagh said: “We will want to hear from the minister how the Government can meet air quality standards given what we now know about real-world emissions, which are higher than used in the Government’s business case [for a third runway]. We are also concerned that the plans for low-emission vehicle uptake and improvements in public transport are over-ambitious.”

Click here to view full story…

New EAC report says government has given no guarantees that air quality targets will be met with Heathrow 3rd runway

The EAC has now published a follow up report to their November 2015 report, after the oral evidence given by Chris Grayling on 30th November. It is highly critical of the government on its assurances that the runway will increase air pollution. The EAC says the government’s air quality analysis is over-optimistic. “The effectiveness of the Government’s new air quality plan will be integral to determining whether Heathrow expansion can be delivered within legal limits. We are concerned that the timing of the draft National Policy Statement consultation means the Government will be unable to carry out a comprehensive re-analysis of the air quality impacts, using the new air quality plan, before the [NPS] consultation process is complete.” … “The Government must publish such an assessment alongside the final NPS, it must work towards a scenario in which all road likes affected by expansion have predicted concentrations below the limit value. Whilst the health impact assessment is a step in the right direction, the Government must carry out work to reduce the significant health impacts identified, before construction of the third runway begins.” ….”Since the Government intends to withdraw the UK from the EU before April 2019, there is no certainty about what our legally binding air quality limits will be after 2019. We are disappointed that these limits are not clearly laid out in the Draft NPS.” And there is much more ….

Click here to view full story…

Difficult to see how Heathrow could prevent rise in staff road trips to/from airport with 3rd runway

Heathrow has told the DfT that there would be no higher a number of car trips to and from the airport with a 3rd runway than now. But is that actually credible? Neither the DfT nor Heathrow produce easy-to-find figures, but they be located with a bit of digging. There are probably about 76,000 staff at the airport at present. The October 2014 Jacobs report done for the Airports Commission said: “Headline employee commuting mode share was assumed to be 43% public transport and 47% private vehicles (ie. about 35,700 came by car, and Jacobs states: “with the vast majority of those undertaken as single occupancy car trips.”) …” and of the 43% using public transport, about 35% used bus and 12% used rail. There are various estimates of how many on-airport staff there might be with a new runway. The Commission’s Carbon Traded Assessment of Need scenario anticipated the number of staff to be around 90,000, and their highest growth scenario anticipated about 115,000 staff. Heathrow said by 2030 trips by both staff and passengers to the airport will be 53% by public transport, and still 47% by car. Nowhere is there anything to indicate that below 47% of airport employees would get to and from work by car. With 90,000 staff at Heathrow, if 47% travelled by car that would be 42,300 people, (or if 43% came by car it would be 38,700). If there were 100,000 on-airport staff, and 47% came by car, that would be 47,000 people (and if 43% came by car, 43,000). Those numbers are higher than today. This is not including people travelling to newly increased numbers of jobs in the area.

Click here to view full story…


Even with 55% of Heathrow passengers using public transport there could be 15 million more passenger trips per year by car by 2040 than now

The government claims Heathrow can meet air quality standards in future, even with a new runway and 50% more passengers, because it will (among other changes) ensure that there are no more road vehicles than now – and by around 2031 about 55% of passengers would use public transport. So is that likely? Looking at passengers only, not freight, and the work done by Jacobs for the Airports Commission, it seems that (2012 data) there were about 70 million passengers, about 20 million of whom were transfers (ie. they did not leave the airport). That meant slightly below 50 million passengers travelled to and from the airport, using surface transport. In 2012 about 59% of these travelled by car (ie. about 29.5 million), 41% came by public transport (28% by rail and 13% by bus or coach). But by 2030 with a new runway, there might be around 110 million passengers, and around 33% would be international transfers. That leaves around 74 million passengers, and if 55% of them use public transport, that means about 34 million using cars. By 2040, the number using cars might be about 45 million (ie. about 15 million more per year than now). And about 9 million using bus/coach – which is of course also on the roads. There would have to be dramatic increases in electric vehicles and improved engine technology to ensure no higher emissions in the Heathrow area. And that is not counting freight vehicles. Or staff. Or other increased vehicle traffic associated with the 3rd runway.

Click here to view full story…


Economic benefits to the UK

 

Chair of Treasury Cttee, Andrew Tyrie, again asks Hammond and Grayling about unclear Heathrow economic benefits

An influential Tory MP has questioned the evidence behind Heathrow expansion, suggesting the Government may have gone to exceptional lengths to find a methodology that made the case. In a letter to chancellor Philip Hammond and transport secretary Chris Grayling, the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie, said the Treasury has specifically requested the rarely used ‘net public value’ investment measure be included in its assessment. Mr Tyrie pointed out that of the 4 investment measures used to evaluate the 3 runway proposals, only this seldom-used “net public value” measure presents a clear case for a 3rd runway at Heathrow. He asked the ministers where this measure has been used before on major infrastructure. Mr Tyrie also said that the DfT document published on 25th October acknowledged that ‘the Net Present Values (NPVs) for some of the options could potentially be negative under some demand scenarios… ” but the DfT is only considering one scenario. And he asks that figures are produced for all the scenarios [but does not say if he wants carbon capped as well as carbon traded], not just one. He also says assessing demand growth for a period of over 20 years, or even 30 years, is ‘not in line with the guidance issued by the Department for Transport’. He asks that figures with demand capped at 20 and 30 years should be produced.

Click here to view full story…

DfT’s own study reveals just how tiny the possible economic benefits of Heathrow or Gatwick runway would be to UK

The economics figures by Airports Commission were always dubious, and their methodology was questioned by their own advisors. The Commission did not use the Webtag method that is normally used to cost transport projects. The Commission added in a range of possible future benefits for Heathrow, and for Gatwick – most purely speculative. Benefits of trade were added, even though these were effectively double counted as already taken account of by other sectors. The AC also counted in economic benefits to non-UK residents of flights to or from the UK. The recent DfT document entitled “Further Review and Sensitivities Report – Airport Capacity in the South East” has had to look more carefully at the figures. It has removed some of the wild claims of benefits from trade, and has looked at the benefits just to UK passengers. Its figures show little difference in the alleged future economic benefit to the UK between Heathrow and Gatwick, and that these benefits are actually tiny. Even when measured over 60 years. The DfT document mentions a large number of the aspects they looked at as being of “low analytic assurance”, meaning very uncertain.

The new DfT figures give the total benefit (NPV) of a Heathrow north west runway being just £0.2 – £6.1 billion over 60 years, and the figure for Gatwick being £3.1 – £4.5 billion. The equivalent figures by the Airports Commission were £11.4 billion and £10.8 billion. So current estimates are all even lower than before.

The new DFT figures give the NPV for all the UK of the Heathrow  north-west runway, excluding Wider Economic Impacts, are only from  minus (yes, minus) – £1.8 billion, up to plus £2.3 billion, over 60 years.  The NPV figure for a Gatwick 2nd runway would be plus £1.7 – £1.8 billion, over 60 years.

Click here to view full story…

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Government publishes draft Airports National Policy Statement consultation, to pave the way for Heathrow runway

The government has announced the start of the DfT’s consultation on the draft “Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England”. It is the necessary first stage in the process of getting consent for a Heathrow 3rd runway. The consultation will last for 16 weeks, and end on 25th May. The text associated with the draft NPS says little new, that we had not heard before. It is rich in statements like: “..proposals show this Government is not only making the big decisions but getting on with delivering them” and “…will ensure Britain seizes the opportunity to forge a new role in the world after Brexit ….” No real practical, enforceable constraints appear to be placed upon Heathrow, other than it will have to put in place “measures to mitigate the impacts of noise including legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled [note, scheduled only] night flights” … and “implementing measures to deliver on its commitments of no increase in airport related road traffic…” And that: “Planning consent will only be granted if the new runway can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations.” The only noise body offered is the “Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise” – ie. a Commission, with no powers, not an Authority with powers.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

Government publishes draft Airports National Policy Statement consultation, to pave the way for Heathrow runway

The government has announced the start of the DfT’s consultation on the draft “Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England”. It is the necessary first stage in the process of getting consent for a Heathrow 3rd runway. The consultation will last for 16 weeks, and end on 25th May. The text associated with the draft NPS says little new, that we had not heard before. It is rich in statements like: “..proposals show this Government is not only making the big decisions but getting on with delivering them” and “…will ensure Britain seizes the opportunity to forge a new role in the world after Brexit ….” No real practical, enforceable constraints appear to be placed upon Heathrow, other than it will have to put in place “measures to mitigate the impacts of noise including legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled [note, scheduled only] night flights” … and “implementing measures to deliver on its commitments of no increase in airport related road traffic…” And that: “Planning consent will only be granted if the new runway can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations.” The only noise body offered is the “Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise” – ie. a Commission, with no powers, not an Authority with powers.
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The DfT page is at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/heathrow-airport-expansion

The DfT consultation document is at 

Consultation on Draft Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the south-east of England   (47 pages)

Consultation ends 25th May 2017.

Consultation events:

There will also be a number of consultation information events in the London area. Details at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/heathrow-expansion-draft-airports-national-policy-statement

The Government will be holding a series of events during the consultation period. These will be undertaken in two phases: • Phase one – local events. The local events will take place in the local authority areas around Heathrow Airport, and will be open to all. The events will provide information on the proposals in the draft Airports NPS to help inform responses. In particular, we want to hear from local communities on the measures proposed to mitigate negative impacts of expansion. • Phase two – regional events. The regional events will be held across the UK with invited stakeholders, facilitating consultation responses nationwide.

Response form

You will probably find it most convenient to submit a response online. Please visit www.gov.uk/dft/heathrow-airport-expansion to submit your response.

If you choose not to use the online system, for example because you use specialist accessibility software that is not compatible, you may download a Word document version of the form and email it or post it:

Email: runwayconsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Post: FREEPOST RUNWAY CONSULTATION

Hard copies

Hard copies of the draft Airports NPS, consultation document and response form are also available by calling 0800 6894968.


Have your say on a new north-west runway at Heathrow Airport

Below are the documents, from the DfT website, that form part of the consultation

We are consulting on the draft Airports National Policy Statement. An independent consultation adviser has been appointed to oversee the consultation process.

  1. Heathrow expansion: draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Open consultation
  2. Draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Policy paper
  3. Appraisal of sustainability for the draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Research and analysis
  4. Health impact analysis for the draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Impact assessment
  5. Interim equality impact assessment for the draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Impact assessment
  6. Habitats regulations assessment for the draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Impact assessment
  7. Airport expansion: updated air quality re-analysis

    • Independent report
  8. Airport expansion: carbon policy sensitivity test supplementary analysis

    • Research and analysis
  9. About the airport and airspace consultations

    • Guidance
  10. Heathrow expansion: have your say

    • Promotional material
  11. Statement of approach for the draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Guidance

Announcements

  1. Additional airport capacity and airspace policy reform

    • Oral statement to Parliament
  2. Major step forward in building a global Britain as public has its say on airport expansion

    • News story
  3. Airport capacity and airspace policy

    • Written statement to Parliament


National Policy Statement on airports capacity

February 2nd 2017    (DfT press release)

[There are many bits of wording in the text below that will cause eyebrows to be raised – read with all critical faculties fully engaged ….. AirportWatch note]

“MAJOR STEP FORWARD IN BUILDING A GLOBAL BRITAIN AS PUBLIC HAS ITS SAY IN AIRPORT EXPANSION

        Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will take a major step forward in preparing Britain for leaving the EU, by publishing proposals for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

        A national public consultation will begin into one of the UK’s most important infrastructure projects which will help build a Global Britain.

        The planning policy proposals show this Government is not only making the big decisions but getting on with delivering them.

        This will ensure Britain seizes the opportunity to forge a new role in the world after Brexit, supported by the right infrastructure.

        On 25 October 2016, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling confirmed that the Government’s preferred scheme for adding new runway capacity in the South East is through a new Northwest Runway at Heathrow Airport, in line with the recommendation made by the independent Airports Commission, and that the policy for this would be brought forward by way of a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) which would be subject to public consultation.

        This move, taken for the country as a whole, will ensure Britain has the connections it needs to thrive in the global market, sending a clear signal that Britain is open for business, and we are creating an economy that works for everyone.

        The Government’s draft NPS, “Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England”, lays down the planning policy framework which the applicant for a new Northwest runway would have to comply with in order to get development consent. It also sets out the need for additional airport capacity in the South East and the reasons why a Northwest runway at Heathrow is the Government’s preferred scheme.

        An NPS is more appropriate for this proposed development because it provides clarity, is speedier and less costly to the taxpayer.

        Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is to say:   “Aviation expansion is important for the UK both in boosting our economy and jobs and promoting us on the world stage.

“Leaving the EU is a new chapter for Britain and provides us with a great opportunity to forge a new role in the world.

“We are determined to seize that opportunity and having the right infrastructure in place will allow is to build a more Global Britain.

“By backing the Northwest runway at Heathrow airport and publishing our proposals, we are sending a clear signal that when we leave the EU, we are open for business.

“The National Policy Statement is a big step forward for what is one of the UK’s most important, major infrastructure projects. Now we want to hear your views on it. This is an important consultation and I encourage everybody to get involved across the country.”

        The draft NPS will be open to a 16-week extensive public consultation to ensure people have the opportunity to contribute their views. The Secretary of State for Transport will use the NPS as the basis for making decisions on any future development consent application for a new Northwest runway at Heathrow Airport.

        Although the NPS will apply to England only, given the national significance of a Northwest Runway at Heathrow, the Government is consulting across the UK. This will include people who could benefit from expansion at Heathrow and communities who may be directly affected by expansion.

        During the consultation, there will be a series of local information events. Around the airport, there will be 20 one-day events for members of the public. There will be a further 13 events taking place in the nations and regions across the UK for business, industry and other interested parties.

        At the same time, and as required by the Planning Act 2008, a period of Parliamentary scrutiny will begin for the draft NPS, ending in 2017. Following consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny, a final airports NPS is expected to be laid before Parliament for debate and vote in winter 2017/18.

        The draft NPS sets out the measures with which Heathrow Airport Ltd will have to comply in order to get development consent.

These include:

o   demonstrating it has worked constructively with airlines on domestic connectivity – Heathrow has committed to 6 more domestic routes across the UK by 2030, Belfast International, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley to be added after expansion, bringing the total to 14;

o   providing a world-class package of support for communities affected by expansion including noise insulation for homes and schools and improvements to public facilities;

o   putting in place measures to mitigate the impacts of noise including legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled night flights;

o   implementing measures to deliver on its commitments of no increase in airport related road traffic and more than half of passengers using public transport to access the airport; and

o   honouring its commitment of paying home owners 25 percent above market value rate plus costs for the compulsory purchase of their homes if needed to make way for the new runway.

        Key benefits of the new Northwest runway are expected to be:

o   a £61 billion boost to the UK economy over 60 years;

o   tens of thousands of additional local jobs by 2030;

o   an additional 260,000 flights a year, with an extra 16 million long haul seats for passengers travelling from UK airports in 2040; and

o   reduced fares, fewer delays and more daily destinations for passengers.

        Heathrow is already the UK’s biggest freight port by value and a new runway will provide a post-Brexit boost for exports.  Heathrow’s expansion will open up new links between the UK and markets around the world.  It will connect UK goods and services to global customers and make the UK a more attractive location for inward investment.

        We are building on Heathrow’s pledges on compensation to put forward a world-class package worth up to £2.6 billion. Planning consent will only be granted if the new runway can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations. Proposals for expansion also include a six and a half hour ban on scheduled night flights for the first time.

        The Government has appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan, the former Lord Justice of Appeal, to independently oversee the consultation process and ensure it is run fairly.   Airspace and noise consultation

        Alongside the draft NPS, the Government will also published today separate proposals to modernise the way UK airspace is managed. This consultation; “UK Airspace Policy: A framework for balanced decisions on the design and use of airspace” is seeking views on how aircraft noise is managed effectively while updating airspace policies. Proposals will look at how the number of aircraft entering and leaving our airspace can be managed effectively – using the latest technology to make airspace more efficient, reducing the need for stacking and making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly. They will also include draft guidance on how noise impacts should be assessed and used to inform decisions on airspace.

        The consultation also includes proposals on the role of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, which we will establish. The Commission would build relationships between industry and communities and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to the use of airspace and flight paths.

        These proposals will influence decisions taken later in the planning process for a Northwest runway at Heathrow, including how local communities can have their say on airspace matters and how impacts on them are taken into account.

        Both consultations start on 2nd February and last for 16 weeks, closing on May 25th.         Public consultation events are taking place across the country. ”

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See also (from AirportWatch)

Heathrow NPS – summary of the main (probably) insuperable obstacles the runway faces

The government hopes to get a 3rd Heathrow runway approved, but it realises there are a large number of massive obstacles. The purpose of the NPS (National Policy Statement) consultation is to attempt to persuade the country, and particularly the MPs who must ultimately vote on it, that these obstacles can be successfully overcome. At present, there are no apparent solutions to many of the problems. Below are some very brief outlines of what some of the insuperable hurdles are – and why the government is a very long way from resolving the difficulties. The issues listed here are the three main environmental issues – noise, carbon emissions, and air pollution. The economics is complicated, but there is a note on that too. When Chris Grayling makes bland PR statements about the runway, or the papers regurgitate undigested blurb from the DfT, it may be useful to remember how very thin some of these statement are, and how far the government would have to go, in order to find even partial solutions.

Click here to view full story…

 

The DfT website says:

Consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement

2.2.2017

By Chris Grayling

Today I will be laying before Parliament a draft Airports National Policy Statement and beginning a period of extensive public consultation on the policy proposals it contains. National policy statements were introduced under the Planning Act 2008 and are used to set out government policy on nationally significant infrastructure projects. This draft Airports National Policy Statement sets out the need for additional airport capacity, as well as the reasons why the government believes that need is best met by a north-west runway at Heathrow.

The:

  • draft Airports National Policy Statement
  • Appraisal of sustainability of the draft Airports National Policy Statement, incorporating a strategic environmental assessment
  • Assessment of the policy under the Habitats and Wild Birds Directive
  • Health impact analysis
  • Equality impact assessment

will be made available online.

The Airports National Policy Statement, if designated, will provide the primary basis for making decisions on any development consent application for a new north-west runway at Heathrow Airport.

For a scheme to be compliant with the Airports National Policy Statement, the Secretary of State would expect Heathrow Airport Ltd to:

  • demonstrate it has worked constructively with airlines on domestic connectivity – the government expects Heathrow to add 6 more domestic routes across the UK by 2030, bringing the total to 14, strengthening existing links to nations and regions, and also developing new connections
  • provide compensation to communities who are affected by the expansion including noise insulation for homes and schools, improvements to public facilities and other measures – this includes establishing a community compensation fund and a community engagement board
  • honour its commitment of payments for those people whose homes need to be compulsorily purchased to make way for the new runway or for those who take up the voluntary scheme of 25% above the full market value of their home and cover all costs including stamp duty, reasonable moving costs and legal fees
  • put in place a number of measures to mitigate the impacts of noise, including legally binding noise targets and periods of predictable respite – the government also expects a ban of 6 and a half hours on scheduled night flights
  • set specific mode share targets to get more than half of airport users onto public transport, aimed at meeting its pledge of no more airport-related road traffic with expansion compared to today
  • implement a package of industry-leading measures to limit carbon and air quality impacts both during construction and operation
  • demonstrate that the scheme can be delivered in compliance with legal requirements on air quality

I have appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan, the former Senior President of Tribunals, to provide independent oversight of the draft Airports National Policy Statement consultation process and ensure best practice is upheld.

Consultation on airspace policy

We need to think about how we manage the rising number of aircraft in an efficient and effective manner. By taking steps now to future-proof this vital infrastructure, we can harness the latest technology to make airspace more efficient as well as making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly.

I am therefore also publishing proposals to modernise the way UK airspace is managed, which will be consulted on in parallel. The policy principles set out in this airspace consultation influence decisions taken later in the planning process for a north-west runway at Heathrow, if the Airports National Policy Statement were to be designated, including how local communities can have their say on airspace matters and how impacts on them are taken into account.

It is an important issue and one that will define the principles for shaping our airspace for years to come. It is therefore sensible to allow members of the public to consider both matters at the same time.

The proposals being published for consultation today include the functions, structure and governance of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, which we will establish. The commission would build relationships between industry and communities, embed a culture of best practice, and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to airspace.

The proposed new call-in function for a Secretary of State on airspace changes, similar to that used by the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government for planning applications, create a democratic back-stop in the most significant decisions, much called for by communities.

The consultation on airspace policy, new Air navigation guidance and the Strategic rationale for upgrading the UK’s airspace will be made available online.

Aviation strategy

The aviation sector is a great British success story, contributing around £20 billion per year and directly supporting approximately 230,000 jobs across the United Kingdom. It also supports an estimated 260,000 jobs across the wider economy.

I want to build on this success. My department is currently progressing work to develop a new strategy for UK aviation.

This strategy will champion the success story of the UK’s aviation sector. It will put the consumer back at the heart of our thinking. The strategy will also explore how we can maximise the positive role that our world class aviation sector plays in developing global trade links, providing vital connections to both the world’s growing economies and more established trading partners. Connections that will only grow in importance as our trading network expands.

I will come back to the House to update you on our plans for the strategy as they develop over the coming weeks.

Consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny

These 2 consultations will last for 16 weeks and close on 25 May 2017. At the same time, and as required by the Planning Act 2008, a period of Parliamentary scrutiny (the ‘relevant period’) now begins for the Airports National Policy Statement, ending by summer recess 2017.

I will be placing copies of all relevant documents in the Libraries of both Houses. Following consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny, and assuming that in the light of these processes the decision is made to proceed, we expect to lay a final Airports National Policy Statement before Parliament for debate and an expected vote in the House of Commons by winter 2017-18.

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Read more »

GACC response to night flights consultation: “Ban all night flights by 2030, and cut the noise at night”

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has produced its response to the DfT’s night flights consultation. The response has been put together after discussion with GACC’s committee members, so that others who want to submit a reply can make use of it, if they wish.  Some of the points are copied below, but there is more detail with references in the full response which anyone interested is advised to read. Some of the points made by GACC are that the claims of the economic benefits of night flights at Gatwick are flimsy and not substantiated; there should be a thorough analysis within the next 2 years of the balance between the economic benefits and the health impacts/widespread disturbance of night flights, leading to a reduction in both the number of flights and noise quotas; there should not be an increase in the number of night flights in winter; GACC supports the reduction in noise quotas to match (and go below) existing usage, encouraging purchase by airlines of less noisy planes; many GACC members feel strongly that there should be a total ban on all night flights; GACC agrees with Stop Stansted Expansion that government should announce that night flights will be phased out by 2030; GACC strongly supports the suggestion that the noise quotas may be reduced by 5% a year so as to be 20% lower by 2022.
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Ban all night flights by 2030, and cut the noise at night 

GACC responds to consultation.  Read the response.

GACC has produced its response, after consultation with its committee members, so that others who want to make a reply can make use of it, if they wish.  Some of the points are copied below, but there is more detail with references in the full response

Some of the points made by GACC are:

The consultation has been delayed: it was originally expected in October. That means that the consultation period has been cut short, to under seven weeks instead of the normal three months.

We welcome the aim to encourage quieter aircraft. However the aim should be to reduce the number of people significantly affected – delete the weasel words ‘to limit’ (which in DfT speak can mean to increase but not too much).

It should be made clear that this objective (of encouraging the use of less noisy aircraft to limit or reduce the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise at night) can only be achieved by quieter aircraft not by merely introducing more concentrated flight paths.
Although the consultation refers to the existing benefits of night flights there is no attempt to quantify them. It is stated in paragraph 1 that aviation ‘directly supports around 230,000 jobs … and contributes over £21 bn annually to UK GDP.’ but that is exaggerated and misleading: it includes flights at all times of day; it also includes aircraft manufacture and aerospace which are irrelevant.

….

The economic benefits of night flights at Gatwick are small. There is little or no freight which requires night-time delivery. Most of the night flights are to or from holiday destinations with no special justification on business grounds. We understand the argument that night flights allow airlines to make more use of their aircraft with three rotations a day but that is a doubtful argument: it is not applied to most other commercial operations such as noisy factories or retail deliveries which have their working hours firmly controlled by planning conditions.

Any calculation of economic benefits is suspect unless it takes into account the hidden subsidy to airlines as a result of paying no fuel tax and no VAT, the benefit of which is about four times the revenue from air passenger duty.

In so far as there are economic benefits, in some cases they could be achieved by better scheduling. If aircraft to middle-distance destinations were scheduled to depart before 11.30 pm and scheduled to return after 6.00 am the benefits of three rotations could be achieved without flights at Gatwick during the night quota period.
We are content with the proposed five years [as the proposed length of the next regime].   However a thorough analysis of the balance between the economic benefits and the health impacts / widespread disturbance of night flights should be made within the next two years, leading to a reduction in both the noise and number quotas.
We are shocked that there has been no fundamental review of the night flight regime since 2006.  Thus the opportunity for environmental improvements has been lost. Until 2012 there was a progressive year-by-year reduction in the level of noise permitted at night at Gatwick. A clear indication that this progressive reduction would continue was given in a Ministerial Statement by the then Aviation Minister: “The government will take into account the freeze in quota limits during this extension period when setting the next regime and expects
airlines to continue to improve their environmental performance in the interim.” [Rt Hon Theresa Villiers. 12 March 2012]
We strongly disagree [with the proposal for movement limits to remain unchanged at Gatwick]. They should be reduced. As shown above, the economic justification for them is weak. At the very least the aim should be to achieve a steady year-by-year reduction.
We support the call by Stop Stansted Expansion for the Government to announce that all night flights will be phased out by 2030.
The winter movements quota is not fully used. Paragraph 2.19 of the consultation paper says:  ‘There is however still capacity in the winter period and given the constraints on airport capacity in the south east, the Government does not think it appropriate to constrain this further’.  That is alarming, inaccurate and silly.
Alarming because it indicates that the Government is prepared to accept a 60% increase in the number of night flights in winter.  Inaccurate because with Stansted and Luton operating at little more than half capacity there are no real constraints on airport capacity. And silly because it is unlikely that any airline would want extra winter night-time slots when none are available in summer.
Instead, as a minimum, the winter movements quota of 3,250 movements should be reduced to match the actual usage in the past five years of under 2,000.
Many of our members feel strongly that there should be a total ban on all night flights. There is growing evidence of the adverse effects on health of aircraft noise at night.
Heathrow [if permitted a 3rd runway] is to have a total ban so why, it is said, should the same not apply to Gatwick and indeed other airports  Nevertheless the widespread demand for a total ban illustrates the strong hatred of all night flights.
Indeed it is anger at the failure to cut the number of night flights which has led to the request that a proper assessment of the economic benefits is made, followed within two years by a reduction in the movements and noise quotas.
We support the aim to reduce the noise quotas to match existing use. This is a change which GACC urged in 2012 and in 2014 and we are delighted that it is at last being implemented – at least for the summer quota. It removes the potential for a large increase in noise at night which would be unacceptable. Having a large surplus of noise points has meant that the noise quotas have been totally ineffective in their aim to encourage quieter aircraft.
The proposal to reduce the summer noise quota to 4870, which is slightly less than the actual use in the past three years, would fulfil this aim.
We are amazed, however, that the new noise quota for the winter is proposed at 1,655 which almost double the actual use in two of the past three years. That would negate the aim of setting the limits to match existing use, and would mean that the noise quota would be totally ineffective and would provide no incentive for the use of quieter aircraft. The new winter noise quota should be set at around 900.
We also strongly support the suggestion in paragraph 3.25 that the noise quotas may be reduced by 5% a year so as to be 20% lower by 2022.
That would represent a big improvement in the situation at Gatwick, especially for the
communities close to the airport which suffer the worst noise. It would put pressure on airlines to buy and to operate quieter aircraft. In the long run this type of measure is what encourages manufacturers to design quieter aircraft.
We are, however, worried that this [the cut by 5% of noise quotas] is only described as ‘hypothetical’ and that it is not included in the summary of measures being proposed. Indeed in paragraph 4.6 it is stated that: ‘we would only adopt a reduction in noise quota if evidence suggests this would act as a realistic incentive for airports and airlines to use
quieter aircraft rather than to penalise them with unrealistic targets.’   If this were to mean only reducing the noise quotas after the airlines had bought quieter aircraft it would provide no incentive.
We trust that the Department will resist lobbying from the aviation industry to water down this proposal.  Only if the noise quotas actually put pressure on airlines to buy and operate quieter aircraft will they be beneficial: as Lewis Carrol said; ‘Medicine has to taste nasty!’ We therefore hope that this proposal can be up-graded to a definite policy when the Government announce their decisions.
We are appalled at the suggestion in the consultation paper (paragraph 1.38) that noise at night only affects some 4,300 people at Gatwick (the number within the  48 Leq.night contour). We are glad that the consultation uses the 48 Leq.night measurement rather than the discredited 57 leq, but it still measures the average noise which is almost meaningless at night.
Some 50,000 people live in the northern part of Crawley and 20,000 in Horley, and many of them are affected by ground noise, especially the roar at start of roll and the use of reverse thrust. It is also our experience that complaints about night flights come from a far wider area, up to twenty miles around the airport – because of the low background noise in rural areas.
Indeed the table in Appendix G paragraph G5 shows that the footprint of an A320 approaching from the east creates over 60dB for 20,000 people. That is above the WHO health recommendation.
A recent research study for GACC carried out by the Dutch research agency To70 found that: ‘The percentage of annoyed residents is likely to be higher in areas with low ambient noise than in high ambient noise areas. It can be misleading to compare noise annoyance between different airports, when these local differences are not taken into account. Hence, the local difference between ambient noise levels should always be taken into account when calculating the annoyance.’
Another factor is the increase in traffic on local roads at night time generated by the flights during antisocial hours. All the local roads to and from the airport are busy through the night and this must affect the sleep of people living near those roads, even if their homes are not overflown.
We are concerned at the suggestion in paragraphs 3.3 – 3.5 that the present controls on night flights by the DfT may be replaced by ‘bespoke’ controls imposed locally, possibly through the planning system. The planning authority for Gatwick is Crawley Borough which benefits substantially from employment at Gatwick whereas other nearby councils suffer worse noise. Any new system should involve all the councils around the airport.
Paragraphs 2.28 – 2.32 in the consultation paper refer to land use planning.  They are largely meaningless unless local planning authorities can have an assurance that there will be no change in flight paths over the 50-100 year lifespan of new houses, schools or hospitals.
We would wish to see a longer night quota period. Six and a half hours is too short for anyone to get a good night’s sleep – even if they go to sleep on the dot of 11.30 pm and are not woken up by the bunching of early arrivals and early departures before 6.00 am. The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Guidelines on Community Noise suggest that night should be defined as 11.00 pm to 7.00 am.

Read the full response by GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) at

http://www.gacc.org.uk/resources/Night%20flight%20response%20final.pdf

The DfT night flights consultation document is at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/582863/night-flight-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted.pdf
Responses have to be submitted before 28 February.
The Department would prefer you to use the online web form at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/J6KX6/.
Otherwise email your response to night.flights@dft.gsi.gov.uk
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See also

Stop Stansted Expansion says DfT plans on night flights do not go nearly far enough

Following the publication of the DfT’s night flight regulation consultation, SSE is urging urging local district, parish and town councils and individual local residents to respond, to try to get the noise impacts of Stansted night-time flights reduced.  Stansted currently has permission for 12,000 night flights a year, more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow. The 12,000 annual limit applies only to the 6½ hours from 11.30pm to 6.00am whereas the normal definition of ‘night’ is the 8 hours from 11.00pm to 7.00am. Moreover, a large number of Stansted’s night flights are large, noisy cargo aircraft, many of which are very old. Unsurprisingly, these give rise to a disproportionately high level of noise complaints. SSE welcomes the DfT intention to remove the current exemption for less noisy aircraft and adjust the movements limit accordingly – but the DfT proposes to maintain the present night limit on Stansted aircraft movements.  The number of exempt aircraft has been increasing, and they need to be included in totals. SSE wants an unequivocal Government commitment to phase out all night flights at Stansted by 2030, except in the case of genuine emergencies. SSE also wants the annual flight limit  to apply, not just from 11.30pm to 6.00am, but from 11.00pm to 7.00am, so that ‘night’ truly means ‘night’.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

About 1,200 people pack Frankfurt airport Terminal 1 for the 200th Monday protest against noise

At least 1,200 noise protesters gathered at Terminal 1 of Frankfurt airport on 30th January for the 200th of their Monday protests. These have been going on, most Monday evenings, since the 4th runway opened in October 2011. Thousands of people living around the airport find the noise burden to which they are subjected intolerable. One problem was that there was no proper information about flight paths before the runway opened, and the imposition of the noise took many by surprise.  On most Mondays at least 300 people attend. Some Mondays there are more. Their demands are that there must be a night flight ban between 10pm and 6am. The noise ceiling should not only be on the paper, but a noticeable reduction in noise. They would like to see the runway closed, but that is not likely to happen. Campaigners say the airport had been built for 40 years, but none of the growth forecasts so far had been fulfilled, and it is now taking low-cost carriers to fill the capacity.  They say all trips of under 1,000 kilometres should be made by train, not by air.  They say they want an aviation industry that is environmentally responsible, and without subsidies. One speaker at the 200th rally described the current noise as a “terror against the people of the region”. Resistance will continue.

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There are videos of the protest at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0MLH_qIdlc but all in German …

Over 1000 flight noise opponents at 200th Montagsdemo at the Frankfurt airport

30.1.2017

FRANKFURT – They are loud and they arrive at Terminal 1 of the Frankfurt Airport every evening at 6pm. The expansionists from all parts of the Rhine-Main region are not showing any signs of their protest against the noise pollution caused by the Frankfurt airport. At that time, in October 2011, shortly after the inauguration of the northwest runway, it was more than 3000 people. Meanwhile around 300 demonstrators regularly arrive.

But on certain days, as on the Monday evening for the 200th demonstration, there are well over one thousand noise-stricken people from the region around Mainz, from southern Hesse and even from Gelnhausen.

They make a noise with whistles and drums to give Fraport back what the airport operator is calling people into the Einflugschnee day by day. The support is great. On Monday, the Mayors of Mainz, Frankfurt and Offenbach issued a joint statement expressing their civic commitment to the expansion of the airport. Frankfurts Stadtwerke Peter Feldmann (SPD) demanded to stop the expansion finally.

In addition there must be a night flight ban between 22 and 6 o’clock. The noise ceiling should not only be on the paper, but a noticeable reduction in air pollution.

 

The spokesman for the municipal action group “Zukunft Rhein-Main”, the mayor of the city of Gross-Gerau, Thomas Will (SPD), said the airport must finally take leave of its development fantasies.

The airport had been built for 40 years, but none of the growth forecasts so far had been fulfilled.

The fact that Fraport now also takes low-cost carriers to Frankfurt is for Will “a scandal unparalleled”. First, the expansion of the  Hahn airport with more capacity for low-cost carriers was justified, now they are taken from there to Frankfurt. “We are not tired of standing together over all the parties and showing that we continue to resist, and whoever talks about low-cost jobs from qualified jobs is spoiling a whole region,” says Will.

Main speaker Uwe Hiksch, a member of the board of the Naturfreunde in Germany, demanded a reduction of the flight movements. All flights of less than 1000 kilometers should be relocated to the railway.

The people had to resist, so that the Rhine-Main region would still be worth living in the coming decades.

“We want an ecological traffic change without subsidised air traffic”. He described the current noise as a “terror against the people of the region”.

He encouraged, as well as other representatives of the citizens’ initiatives, the Montagsdemonstranten to continue and in their resistance not to let up, even if the impression prevails that he is not important among the group leaders. “We can resist,” said Uwe Hiksch.

http://www.echo-online.de/lokales/rhein-main/ueber-1000-fluglaermgegner-bei-200-montagsdemo-am-frankfurter-flughafen_17645840.htm


Monday demonstration at Frankfurt Airport 200 times noise from aircraft noise

Monday-Monday, people from the Rhine-Main area protest against the noise at Frankfurt Airport. Politicians from Mainz participated in the 200th protests.

The mayor Peter Feldmann (SPD, Frankfurt am Main, lr, front), Michael Ebling (SPD, Mainz) and Horst Schneider (SPD, Offenbach am Main)

The mayor Feldmann (SPD, Frankfurt am Main, left), Ebling (SPD, Mainz,) and Schneider (SPD, Offenbach am Main, right)
In the meantime, Mondaysdemo has become a ritual of aircraft noise: since the opening of the runway northwest of 2011, they have consistently demonstrated that they meet every Monday night at Terminal 1 of the Frankfurt Airport. The jubilee demonstration attracted at least 1,200 attendees, who were loudly against a further expansion of the airport and for an extension of the night flight ban from six to eight hours.
“The terminal has shaken,” said Thomas Scheffler, spokesman for an alliance of some 80 citizens’ initiatives. He was delighted that more people joined the traditional demo. Co-initiator Dirk Treber had expected up to 3,000 people.

Demand for federal laws

Ulrike Höfken (Greens), Rhineland-Palatinate’s Minister of the Environment, said in a greeting saying, “We need a federal regulation that introduces noise ceilings and legally fixes night-time restraints.” We also want citizens to be involved in the revision and the substantial modification of flight routes Be involved. “
The Mayor of Mainz, Michael Ebling (SPD), also participated in the protests. He was supported by his colleagues from Frankfurt and Offenbach. Ursula Fechter, Ursula Fechter, emphasized: “Air traffic has negative health consequences.”

“Night flight ban”

A spokesman for the Mainz initiative against noise, said the continuing protest. In recent years, noise protection measures and the night flight ban had been won. The result is that the airport is not growing so fast. Thus, there are fewer flight movements from year to year.
A spokesman for the airport operator Fraport mentioned other reasons for the sinking figures. For example, many tourists have not booked air travel for fear of terrorist attacks in popular holiday countries.
http://www.swr.de/landesschau-aktuell/rp/mainz/montagsdemo-am-frankfurter-flughafen-200-mal-laerm-gegen-den-fluglaerm/-/id=1662/did=18920414/nid=1662/l1gnb0/
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The 200th Frankfurt airport Monday Demo (Montagsdemo) against the noise will be on 30th January

The 4th runway at Frankfurt was opened in October 2011. Due to re-alignment of flight paths, with thousands of people either newly overflown, or with more flights than before, there was uproar. The airport had not felt it necessary to warn people, or consult about the noise.  Several thousand people started to congregate in the airport terminal every Monday evening, for a protest demo. (The airport buildings are public property, so the airport cannot prevent people gathering.). The 100th Monday demo was on 20th May 2014, when a group from the UK attended. Now the 200th Monday demo will take place on Monday 30th January, and a large crowd is expected. Politicians from the local area and from the region, as well as for Berlin, will be attending.  The demands of the protesters are ultimately that the runway is closed down (though that is an ambitious, or unrealistic hope….) but they want no night flights from 10pm to 6am, no further airport expansion, and no 3rd terminal.  Work to build the 3rd terminal started in October 2015, and the airport hopes it will open (first phase) in 2022. It is an astonishing achievement that Frankfurt residents have organised 200 Monday protests, all attended by many hundreds of people – sometimes several thousand. The demos are possible because people are so upset and angry about the noise burden that has been inflicted on them, reducing their quality of life.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/01/the-200th-frankfurt-airport-monday-demo-montagsdemo-against-the-noise-will-be-on-30th-january/

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Read more »

Court rules that legal challenge by 4 councils cannot be heard until final Heathrow NPS published

Four councils that a negatively affected by Heathrow, plus Greenpeace and a local resident, applied for a legal challenge against the DfT because of its plans for a Heathrow 3rd runway. The case has now been struck out, at the High Court, by Mr Justice Cranston, on the grounds that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the claim, because of the provision in the Planning Act 2008 which said that proceedings may only be brought in a six-week period that followed once the NPS was adopted, or if later, published.  The claim is “precluded” until the NPS is published, and that might be the end of 2017 or early 2018. The court can then consider the challenge. The legal claim is because there was a failure by government to consult residents before going back on promises made repeatedly that a 3rd runway would not be built. John Sauven (Greenpeace) said: ‘Today’s ruling was about the timing of our legal challenge, not its merit. It doesn’t change the fact that ministers have no solution to the huge air and noise pollution problems caused by a third runway.”  Ravi Govindia (Wandsworth) said “The country is now going to waste more time developing a scheme that will never pass a simple legal test on air quality. Nothing is going to change between now and 2018 to make this scheme any less polluting.”
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Heathrow airport expansion: Campaigners fail in High Court runway battle

By FIONA SIMPSON (Evening Standard)
30.1.2017

An attempt by campaigners to bring a High Court challenge against a third runway at Heathrow Airport has failed.

The decision to expand the airport – as opposed to building the extension at Gatwick – was backed by the Government in October.

The £16 billion plan immediately sparked protests and legal challenges.

A coalition of local councils, including Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead, together with Greenpeace UK and a Hillingdon resident, claimed the decision was unlawful.

The group alleged there was a failure to consult residents before going back on from promises that it would never be built.

They also claimed that the Government failed to recognise the project’s unlawful air quality impacts.

But lawyers for the Transport Secretary argued that the judicial review could not proceed – saying it should not be heard until after the consultation on the National Policy Statement (NPS) on aviation is published either later this year or early next year.

On Monday in London, Mr Justice Cranston struck out the case on the basis that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the claim.

James Maurici QC told the judge that there was a “preliminary and insuperable obstacle” to the claim proceeding.

The court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter because of the provision in the Planning Act 2008 which said that proceedings may only be brought in a six-week period that followed once the NPS was adopted, or if later, published.

He said: “That is not expected to happen until late 2017 at the earliest. Before that time this claim is precluded. This is a complete answer to the claim at this time.”

The coalition said that the 2008 Act has no such time limitations and that, in any event, the decision was made before the Planning Act process started.

The judge said that his decision followed from the language of the relevant section of the Act, the legislative purpose and the overall statutory context and history.

“Once the Secretary of State adopts and publishes an NPS the court will have jurisdiction to entertain the challenges the claimants advance. For the present this claim must be struck out.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/heathrow-airport-expansion-campaigners-fail-to-bring-high-court-challenge-against-third-runway-plans-a3453446.html

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Following the ruling, Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “The Government has taken a colossal gamble by delaying this legal action for at least a year.

“The country is now going to waste more time developing a scheme that will never pass a simple legal test on air quality.

“Nothing is going to change between now and 2018 to make this scheme any less polluting so they should face this challenge now or abandon the third runway.”

Greenpeace UK executive director, John Sauven, said: ‘Today’s ruling was about the timing of our legal challenge, not its merit. It doesn’t change the fact that ministers have no solution to the huge air and noise pollution problems caused by a third runway. By forging ahead with a flawed consultation ministers are just delaying an inevitable legal challenge, wasting more time, energy, and public money in the process.

‘Expanding Heathrow will heap more misery on thousands of Londoners already breathing illegal levels of air pollution and make it impossible for the government to comply with air quality laws. The government should ditch this project as they have promised to do many times in the past.’

http://news.sky.com/story/high-court-grounds-heathrow-third-runway-challenge-10748838

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Leader of Windsor & Maidenhead council, Simon Dudley said of the decision: “We are disappointed for our residents but respect the decision of the courts. “We will now participate in the upcoming public consultation process and would encourage all our residents to do likewise.”  (Twitter)


See earlier:

In the 4 councils’ legal challenge, lawyers say Government plan for Heathrow runway is ‘unlawful’ because people believed repeated promises

Four Conservative councils affected by Heathrow (with Greenpeace, and a local resident) are bringing a legal challenge against the government, because of the plans for a third runway. They say the plan is “unlawful” because locals bought houses and sent children to schools due to repeated Tory promises it would not happen. The councils argue that their residents had a “legitimate” expectation” the project would not be approved, due to assurances received. They have identified 19 “broken promises” made by David Cameron, Theresa May and other political figures saying the 3rd runway would be scrapped. One is by Theresa May in 2009, telling her constituents she will fight the 3rd runway. The lawyers, Harrison Grant, say such promises are not in law to be treated as mere “empty gestures” but legally significant promises. People had, reasonably enough, believed them. There was a hearing at the High Court on 19th and 20th January, and a ruling may be given this coming week. This will decide whether the councils can bring forward their judicial review claims. The DfT has tried to get the case thrown out or delayed till after there is a parliamentary vote on the National Policy Statement on Heathrow – probably around the end of this year.

Click here to view full story…

Four councils + Greenpeace have served legal papers on Government over Heathrow runway decision

Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, together with Greenpeace and a resident of Hillingdon, have today served legal papers on the government for unlawfully supporting the expansion of Heathrow. In a legal submission to the High Court, the ‘coalition’ is seeking a Judicial Review of the government’s decision to support the expansion of the airport – something that which the Government previously promised would never happen. Harrison Grant Solicitors, on behalf of the coalition have filed a formal request for a judicial review. If successful, it is hoped the case will be heard in the High Court early next year. Together, the claimants argue that the Government has failed to recognise the project’s unlawful air quality impacts and that the consultation held to make the decision was fundamentally flawed. Therefore, the expansion of the airport cannot go ahead. In addition, the legal challenge seeks to hold Government to the promise that a third runway would never be built. If the request is successful, and the coalition wins the judicial review, the decision to proceed with the runway would be overturned. Ray Puddifoot said “There are two grounds of challenge at this stage. In addition to our claim that there has been a significant breach of established air quality laws, we have also claimed that the Government has acted contrary to our legitimate expectation that it would honour its repeated promises not to expand Heathrow.”

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

CAGNE listens to residents of West Sussex and Surrey and joins the call for a night ban at Gatwick

The long awaited Department for Transport (DfT) night flight consultation was finally released on 12th January.  It is intended the new regime will last for 5 years, and there will be no cut in the number of night flights in this time. There will be minimal, and theoretical, cuts in the quota count (a scoring system based on how noisy planes are). Commenting on the consultation, Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE said the deadline for comment of 28th February leaves too little time for residents to respond. The consultation continues to ignore the impact night flights have on people’s health. The government should, instead of just looking at economic benefits (largely to airlines) consider the health implications of high levels of noise at night, not allowing enough quiet hours for healthy sleep.  Ideally CAGNE, along with other groups, would like to see the consultation halted, and revised to contain measures to genuinely reduce the burden of night flight noise. Instead, the consultation proposes allowing many more flights in the night period, in winter, at Gatwick.  Gatwick already has the most night flights.  In summer 2016, Heathrow had 2,949 (3,250 allowed), Gatwick had 11,303 (11,200 allowed) and Stansted 7,370 (7,000 allowed). This number of night flights is “simply unacceptable to residents around Gatwick.” They should be phased out, not increased. 
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Campaign group listens to residents of West Sussex and Surrey and joins the call for a night ban at Gatwick

29.1.2017 (CAGNE – Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)

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The long awaited Department for Transport (DfT) night flight consultation was finally released on 12th January, with the consultation documents. The deadline for completion is 28th February.

Documents here:  https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flight-restrictions-at-gatwick-heathrow-and-stansted and consultation responses can be submitted using the DfT online response form at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/J6KX6.

Commenting on the consultation, Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE said:

“This leaves very little time for residents to respond and the report continues to ignore the impact night flights have on people’s health.  We call for the Government to urgently examine the health implications and subsequent health cost of night flights in comparison to the economic benefits of aviation that currently benefit from paying not VAT or duty on fuel.”

“Ideally we would like to see the consultation halted as it allows Gatwick to continue to grow, permitting the airport to have all year round aircraft movements, at the level of the peak summer months.  This would remove the respite that residents have come to expect during the winter months when Gatwick is relatively quiet.”

The current restrictions on night movements expire in October 2017 and the DfT consultation details the proposals for the restrictions that should replace them. It is proposed that the restrictions should last for five years, which CAGNE believes, is too long.

“It is good to see that the Government acknowledges that aircraft noise at night represents the least acceptable form of aircraft noise.  However the government seem to give more weight to the economic case for night flights, above the health implications of allowing night flights to continue.  With Gatwick having the most night flights, this is simply unacceptable to residents around Gatwick.”

“We know residents are dreading – for yet another year – the summer months as Gatwick continues to cause major noise issues for communities in a 30 miles radius off its single runway.   The concentrated flight paths to and from the airport are relentless and noisy for rural areas. This is especially the case, as some planes are over 20 years old – and therefore noisier than more modern planes – and should not depart during the night,” said Sally.

The annual noise reports for all three airports can be found online at:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/noise-exposure-contours-around-london-airports


The amount of quota used at  Gatwick in recent years

 

 

Gatwick used (Summer 2014) 4943 of its 6200 total   (new total  4870)

Gatwick used (Summer 2015) 4765 of its 6200 total

Gatwick used (Summer 2016) 4912 of its 6200 total  (so not hard to meet new total)

 

Gatwick used (Winter 2013) 828  of its 2000 total   (new total 1655)

Gatwick used (Winter 2014) 852  of its 2000 total

Gatwick used (Winter 2015) 953  of its 2000 total (so new total is far higher than use – the reason for the massive discrepancy is not clear)


DfT publishes disappointing consultation on night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick & Stansted

The long awaited consultation on Night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted has now finally been published, for the 5 years to October 2022 (well before any new runway). It has been delayed for 3 years. Many people whose sleep is disturbed by night flights had been hoping for real prospects of the number of night flights being reduced. However, the consultation (that ends on 28th February) merely suggests keeping the numbers of flights between 23:30 and 06:00 the same at Heathrow and Gatwick, but increasing the number at Stansted. [“Night” is defined as 2300-0700 local time].  At Heathrow the number would remain at 2,550 in the winter and 3,250 in the summer (seasons based on dates the clocks change to/from summer time). That is an annual total of 5,800 which averages as 16 per night through the year. The figure at Gatwick is 3,250 in the winter and 11,200 in the summer, making an annual total of 14,450 which averages as 40 per night through the year. However, the DfT proposes reducing the total noise quota (points based on the noise of planes at night) at Heathrow Airport by at least 43% in the winter and 50% in the summer, ie. a reduction of at least 1,740 in the winter to 2,340 (from 4080) and 2,560 in the summer to 2,540 (from 5100). The cut in quota count at Gatwick would be 17% in winter and 21% in summer., ie. a reduction of at least 345 in the winter to 1655 (from 2000) and 1,330 in the summer to 4870 (from 6200).

Click here to view full story…

Gatwick has more night flights than Heathrow or Stansted – and that will continue for next 5 years

The Government Department for Transport (DfT) has released the long awaited night flight consultation documents (ends 28th February). The number of flights between 23:00 and 07.00 would not be reduced. The current number, and the one proposed for the next 5 years, is 3,250 in the winter and 11,200 in the summer, making an annual total of 14,450 which averages as 40 per night through the year. There will be a slight reduction in the quota count, as it is not being used – so the new figure will not change anything. This will be a reduction of at least 345 in the winter to 1655 [from 2000] and 1,330 in the summer to 4870 [from 6200]. Local campaign group CAGNE has commented about how unsatisfactory the proposals for Gatwick are. Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE said: “We would like to see a total ban on Gatwick night flights as this is a major cause of complaints we receive from communities. Summer nights especially when residents want to enjoy their gardens and have windows open on hot evenings.” CAGNE says it is regrettable that the government seems to “accept the economic case over the health implications of allowing night flights to continue.” Gatwick plans to continue to grow at perhaps 10% per year, meaning continually increasing noise.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

In the 4 councils’ legal challenge, lawyers say Government plan for Heathrow runway is ‘unlawful’ because people believed repeated promises

Four Conservative councils affected by Heathrow (with Greenpeace, and a local resident) are bringing a legal challenge against the government, because of the plans for a third runway. They say the plan is “unlawful” because locals bought houses and sent children to schools due to repeated Tory promises it would not happen. The councils argue that their residents had a “legitimate” expectation” the project would not be approved, due to assurances received. They have identified 19 “broken promises” made by David Cameron, Theresa May and other political figures saying the 3rd runway would be scrapped.  One is by Theresa May in 2009, telling her constituents she will fight the 3rd runway. The lawyers, Harrison Grant, say such promises are not in law to be treated as mere “empty gestures” but legally significant promises. People had, reasonably enough, believed them. There was a hearing at the High Court on 19th and 20th January, and a ruling may be given this coming week. This will decide whether the councils can bring forward their judicial review claims.  The DfT has tried to get the case thrown out or delayed till after there is a parliamentary vote on the National Policy Statement on Heathrow – probably around the end of this year. 
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Heathrow third runway ‘unlawful’ because locals made life choices after Tory promises, opponents claim in legal bid

Theresa May’s government backed a third runway at Heathrow in 2016 despite past Tory opposition
By B
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Heathrow’s third runway is “unlawful” because locals bought houses and sent children to schools due to repeated Tory promises it would not happen, campaigners are arguing.

In legal documents seen by this newspaper, four Tory councils challenging the Government are arguing their residents had a “legitimate” expectation” the project would not be approved.

They have identified 19 “broken promises” made by David Cameron, Theresa May and other political figures saying the third runway would be scrapped.

The statements – dating back to a time when the Tories opposed the change – should not be deemed “empty gestures” but legally significant promises, they argue.

The claims lie at the heart of a legal challenge from Tory local authorities including Mrs May’s own council of Windsor and Maidenhead, as well as Greenpeace and a local resident.

The row is set to come to a head this week. The courts are expected to rule whether the campaigners can bring forward their judicial review claims now.

Ministers have sought to delay the legal wrangling until after MPs have voted on the expansion, likely to happen near the end of this year.

This week the Government is also expected to publish the consultation on Heathrow’s third runway, according to senior government sources.

A 34-page letter from Harrison Grant, the lawyers representing the campaigners, sent in November to Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, spelled out their arguments.

Before the 2010 election the Tories were vehemently against Labour’s plans for a third runway. They declared the plans had been scrapped shortly after winning office that year.

However last October, after years of uncertainty which saw an independent body created and consulted on airport expansion, the Tories backed the third runway.

Now a list of 19 “broken promises” have been identified by campaigners who plan to use the Tory hierarchy’s own words to claim locals were misled.

One is Mr Cameron’s comment on 21 October 2009 while opposition leader: “The third runway at Heathrow is not going ahead, no ifs, no buts.”

Another is from Mrs May’s “Summer 2009 Annual Report” to constituents, where she promises to “fight to stop the third runway.”

A third “broken promise” is the line in the Coalition’s programme for government, which said: “We will cancel the third runway at Heathrow.”

In their letter, the lawyers representing Tory councils fighting the decision said the comments amounted to a “legitimate expectation” the third runway would not be approved.

“The Government made a series of clear and unequivocal promises that there would be no third runway at Heathrow,” they wrote.

“These promises were preceded by years of uncertainty over the status of a third runway at Heathrow. The residents of the Boroughs spent years living with the blight arising from this uncertainty and had reasonably believed that Mr Cameron’s promise in 2009, and the subsequent promises of the Government, had finally laid the matter to rest.”

“In light of these clear and unequivocal promises by the Government, the residents of the Boroughs (particularly the residents of Hillingdon) planned their lives on the basis that there would be no third runway at Heathrow.”

The lawyers argue that such promises “are not in law to be treated by mere empty gestures”, adding the lack of justification in changing stance mean the approval of a third runway was unlawful.

Two other claims are being made: that the Government has not consulted on the decision correctly and that air quality assurances are “wrong”.

Councillor Ravi Govindia, the Tory leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “People bought homes, put their kids in local schools and made all sorts of life decisions based on the belief that this threat to their community had passed.

“Those promises have now been broken without any credible justification and without consultation with the people who stand to lose.

John Sauven, Greenpeace UK executive director, said: “A third runway can only go ahead by steamrolling over local people’s legitimate expectations.”

The claims are likely to be countered by the fact that the Tories did not include their opposition to the third runway in their 2015 election manifesto.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: “We cannot comment on ongoing legal action.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/28/heathrow-third-runway-unlawful-locals-made-life-choices-tory/

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See earlier:

Four councils + Greenpeace have served legal papers on Government over Heathrow runway decision

Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, together with Greenpeace and a resident of Hillingdon, have today served legal papers on the government for unlawfully supporting the expansion of Heathrow. In a legal submission to the High Court, the ‘coalition’ is seeking a Judicial Review of the government’s decision to support the expansion of the airport – something that which the Government previously promised would never happen. Harrison Grant Solicitors, on behalf of the coalition have filed a formal request for a judicial review. If successful, it is hoped the case will be heard in the High Court early next year. Together, the claimants argue that the Government has failed to recognise the project’s unlawful air quality impacts and that the consultation held to make the decision was fundamentally flawed. Therefore, the expansion of the airport cannot go ahead. In addition, the legal challenge seeks to hold Government to the promise that a third runway would never be built. If the request is successful, and the coalition wins the judicial review, the decision to proceed with the runway would be overturned. Ray Puddifoot said “There are two grounds of challenge at this stage. In addition to our claim that there has been a significant breach of established air quality laws, we have also claimed that the Government has acted contrary to our legitimate expectation that it would honour its repeated promises not to expand Heathrow.”

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

Government likely to ignore climate advice by CCC, turning just to carbon trading, to try to push Heathrow runway through

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Govt must set out a strategy to limit emissions from international flights before its final decision on Heathrow –

Read more »

Text of speech by Chris Grayling to Airlines UK expressing total support for aviation growth for decades

Chris Grayling gave a speech to Airlines UK (used to be called BATA), giving the industry his strongest support for its growth. Some  of his comments:  (on Brexit) “… positive expression of our desire as a country to raise our ambitions and look beyond the EU. To strengthen our position as a global country.  With the global connections and gateways to make that possible.” … “We already have the largest aviation network in Europe.  Direct services to over 370 destinations abroad. … (bit on routes added) … And demand for flights continues to grow. … though we’re awaiting the final figures, the signs are that 2016 will break [the 2015] record once more. … Over the next 20 years, the industry estimates a doubling of the world’s aircraft fleet. That’s another 33,000 aircraft – quieter, cleaner, more efficient aircraft that can actually deliver a fall in carbon emissions. ( sic ! ) … And as the world increasingly embraces aviation in the coming decades, in return, aviation will increasingly drive the globalisation of trade and commerce. ….  We are currently working on our new aviation strategy.  It’s a long-term framework covering airports, safety, security, competitiveness, consumers, regulation and capacity. [Note, no mention of environment at all !] …It’s part of our plan to build on the momentum of the Heathrow decision – so the whole of Britain can benefit from new aviation capacity.” …  and so on …
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Speech by Chris Grayling, at the Airlines UK annual dinner on  25th Jan 2017

Full speech is at Airlines UK dinner at

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/modernising-the-uks-airspace

[ Just the parts that people need to read highlighted.   AirportWatch note ]

Good evening.

It’s a pleasure to join you for tonight’s dinner.

It’s also a welcome opportunity for me to talk a little about the progress we’ve made on aviation during my first 6 months as Transport Secretary.

As many of you will know, this is a job that I’ve always wanted to do.

In my first 6 months I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting many people in this room, in what’s been a very exciting time for aviation.

One of my first acts as Secretary of State was to make a long awaited big decision: giving London City Airport the opportunity to expand.

And this is a government prepared to make other big decisions – including the location on aviation expansion in the south-east, recommending a third runway at Heathrow.

More on that later.

Brexit

Because I’d like to start by saying a few words about Brexit.

I understand that you are keen to hear exactly what Brexit will entail for the airline industry.

My priority right now is to secure the right deal for airlines following negotiations with the rest of the EU.

At the same time, I will be working alongside the Prime Minister and my colleagues in the Cabinet to provide as much clarity as possible, as early as possible.

It was in that spirit that Theresa May used her speech last week to make clear our intention to have an open trading relationship with the EU when we leave.

We will be pushing for a new, comprehensive, free trade agreement, giving us the best possible access to the single market.

We also want the best possible access to European aviation markets.

We believe it is in the EU’s interests to seek a liberal arrangement for aviation.

So that airlines can offer connectivity.

And passengers have choice.

Of course, the ultimate outcome for airlines – as for all areas of the economy – will have to await the conclusion of negotiations.

Yet as discussions with the EU proceed, I am confident that we will get what we need.

The fact remains that other countries want to do business with us.

That’s why among the major developed nations we have the world’s best performing economy.

And those nations want to do business with British airlines too.

Far from the gloomy forecasts that some economic commentators made in the summer, Britain ended last year as the strongest of the world’s advanced economies.

Growth didn’t just remain steady in the 6 months after the Brexit vote.

It accelerated.

Business activity hit a 17 month high in December.

Showing that confidence in our economy remains undiminished.

That’s because the June vote wasn’t just a vote to leave the European Union.

It was also a positive expression of our desire as a country to raise our ambitions and look beyond the EU.

To strengthen our position as a global country.

With the global connections and gateways to make that possible.

And that is why we will also look to replace or amend our EU agreements with countries such as the US and Canada.

Aviation industry strength

In this all, the starting position of the aviation industry is one of great strength.

We already have the largest aviation network in Europe.

Direct services to over 370 destinations abroad.

Last year, BA added new routes to San Jose, Lima, Costa Rica, Santiago and Tehran.

Tui added new routes to Colombo in Sri Lanka, and Keflavik in Iceland.

And demand for flights continues to grow.

2015 was a record years for passengers.

And though we’re awaiting the final figures, the signs are that 2016 will break that record once more.

These passengers rely on an airline industry that is so often an exemplar of customer service.

Especially in the face of global events outside our control.

Last week the Foreign Office issued an alert about developments in the Gambia.

Within 72 hours, Thomas Cook had repatriated thousands of British holiday-makers – acting rapidly to do whatever was necessary to secure their safe return home.

With customer service like that, it’s no surprise that the aviation industry is confident about the future.

Over the next 20 years, the industry estimates a doubling of the world’s aircraft fleet.

That’s another 33,000 aircraft – quieter, cleaner, more efficient aircraft that can actually deliver a fall in carbon emissions.

In the summer, Virgin Atlantic made an early contribution toward that global fleet of new aircraft.

With a multi-billion pound order for 12 Airbus A350-1000 planes, powered by cleaner, quieter Rolls Royce engines.

And as the world increasingly embraces aviation in the coming decades, in return, aviation will increasingly drive the globalisation of trade and commerce.

Few other industries can predict future demand with such certainty.

So what we have to do – together – is make sure our aviation industry is ready to play its part in that growth.

A modern industry with 21st century systems and technologies.

An industry with the capacity to grow in a sustainable and responsible way.

An industry that provides British business with a foothold in emerging markets – as well as maintaining links to established markets.

These are our challenges for the future.

So we can prosper in a post-Brexit world.

Heathrow

That’s why in October we gave our backing to a third runway at Heathrow.

It shows that we are open for business, confident about who we are as a country, and ready to trade with the rest of the globe.

An expanded Heathrow will make possible an extra 260,000 aircraft movements a year.

Or 16 million additional long-haul seats by 2040.

And it will allow us to compete against European hubs such as Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt.

So we want to get the runway built as fast as possible.

And it will be subject to public consultation very soon.

We expect the national policy statement to pass through Parliament and be designated next winter.

Of course, the third runway at Heathrow is not just great news for Heathrow, but also for the rest of UK aviation.

Which is why most regional airports and airlines supported the decision.

But we’ve said that the runway must be delivered without hitting passengers in the pocket.

The Airports Commission is clear that this is achievable, as is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

We’re not interested in expansion at any cost, but expansion at the right price.

So I expect the industry to work together to drive down costs for the benefit of passengers.

And the CAA is ready to ensure that new capacity fosters competition, keeping landing charges close to current levels.

I have full confidence in their ability to do so.

And at the same time, I expect the industry to commit to a world-class package of environmental and community mitigation measures for those living near the airport.

After all, a third runway will be an investment in our country’s future.

It will deliver major economic and strategic benefits to the UK.

New aviation strategy

Yet we’re not going to focus on a third runway at the expense of all the other challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

We are currently working on our new aviation strategy.

It’s a long-term framework covering airports, safety, security, competitiveness, consumers, regulation and capacity.

We’re focusing on issues where government can make a difference.

Where we can support the industry.

And we’ll stay clear of issues where we can’t.

It’s part of our plan to build on the momentum of the Heathrow decision – so the whole of Britain can benefit from new aviation capacity.

Airspace

And as the industry grows in the years ahead, we must make the best use of the assets available to us.

As airlines often point out, our airspace is one such asset: a critical piece of national infrastructure.

But like much of the rest of our infrastructure, it is increasingly congested and modernisation is overdue.

While modern aircraft are fitted with the latest satellite navigation technology, most of our airspace arrangements are half a century old.

I know how frustrated you and your passengers are by the delays this causes.

And I recognise the damage it does to your businesses.

Without action, flight delays will increase enormously in the next few years.

This wouldn’t just be damaging for passengers, but also for the economy and the environment.

That is why I am determined to address this challenge.

We will shortly be launching a consultation on measures to support airspace modernisation.

These measures will provide for the use of modern technology.

To reduce delays, cut noise for local communities, and lower carbon emissions.

And speaking of carbon, last week I was pleased to see the release of your strategy, Responding to the Carbon challenge.

It’s an important statement of all the industry is doing on carbon reduction.

And an indicator of the complex challenges created by the pace of change.

Conclusion

So together we have a lot of work to do.

Yes, we’re facing a time of adjustment and challenge.

But we’re also facing a time of extraordinary potential for this industry.

A chance for aviation to help make Brexit the success I know it will be, delivering the services and connections that will define our future outside the European Union.

I look forward to working with you to make that happen.

Thank you.

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More flights over Britain in air traffic shake-up: Government set to ‘upgrade’ skies so more aircraft can use same flight path

– Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has promised a huge overhaul of airspace
– But the plans are likely to be resisted by campaigners and nearby communities
– Satellite navigation technology will allow more aircraft to use the same path

By JAMES SALMON FOR DAILY MAIL
26 January 2017

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Under the proposals, satellite navigation technology will allow more aircraft to use the same flight path, and stick more closely to it.

Air traffic controllers will be able to track planes for longer, ensuring they can regulate the space between planes and instruct pilots to slow down if necessary.

Currently planes are led by ground beacons, which space out planes over an arc several miles.

But the outdated technology means queues often form. In a speech to airline bosses, Mr Grayling said the shake-up would increase capacity, reduce delays, speed up journeys and reduce emissions. Describing British airspace as a ‘critical piece of national infrastructure’, he said it has also become ‘increasingly congested and modernisation is overdue’.

A report prepared for the airports commission estimated that up to 365,000 people suffered significant aircraft noise near 18 major airports. Many more are affected by lower level noise, with 725,000 affected by aircraft at Heathrow.

But Mr Grayling said the technology could reduce noise problems by preventing ‘stacking’ – the equivalent of traffic jams – whereby aircraft are forced to circle an airport at low levels. He added: ‘While modern aircraft are fitted with the latest satellite navigation technology, most of our airspace arrangements are half a century old. I know how frustrated you and your passengers are by the delays this causes. And I recognise the damage it does to your businesses. Without action, flight delays will increase enormously in the next few years.

‘This wouldn’t just be damaging for passengers, but also for the economy and the environment.’

Analysis by National Air Traffic Services (NATS) for the DfT has predicted total delays due to air traffic management could jump 72-fold to 4.4million minutes – or 3,100 days – by the end of the next decade.

It found that at least a quarter of flights would be delayed by 30 minutes or more by 2030 without reforms as Britain’s skies become increasingly overcrowded.

The UK handled over 250million passengers in 2015, with the population also growing by more than ten million over the past fifty years.

A NATS spokesman said: ‘Our airspace has little changed in over 50 years and is in urgent need of modernisation. Imagine the road network of the 1960s trying to cope with today’s road traffic levels.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4158332/More-flights-Britain-air-traffic-shake-up.html

 

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