Chris Grayling criticised Transport for London’s (TfL) predicted costs for improving road and rail links for the Heathrow expansion. Giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on Heathrow’s 3rd runway, the transport secretary said he considered it “ludicrous” that TfL (who are the experts on transport in London) calculate the necessary work as about £15 billion. He said it looked to him as if “somebody has taken every possible transport improvement in the whole of metropolitan London and thrown it into the mix.” While the Airports Commission estimated that surface infrastructure changes would cost £5bn, TfL estimated the costs of keeping transport flowing – even with a 50% larger Heathrow – to be around £15m-£20m. Heathrow said it would pay for just £1.1 billion. TfF have responded saying. “Expansion at Heathrow will significantly increase demand for access to the airport. Our expert analysis indicates approximately £15bn more investment will be needed beyond what is already committed and the key component of this is a new southern rail link from Waterloo to Heathrow. Thus far, the government have given no commitments to deliver this new rail link, despite the Airport’s Commissions recommendation to do so and, without such a commitment, the aspirations for no increase in road traffic are not credible.”
Transport for London hits back at Chris Grayling’s dismissal of Heathrow costs
By Rebecca Smith (City AM)
Transport for London (TfL) has hit back at the transport secretary, after he branded its cost estimates for rail and road improvements around Heathrow expansion “ludicrous”.
The Airports Commission had estimated that surface infrastructure changes would cost £5bn, but TfL responded by saying the figure underestimated the cost and required changes would cost in the realms of £15m-£20m.
A TfL spokesperson reiterated the prediction after Chris Grayling said he did not see where the £15bn could have come from.
“Expansion at Heathrow will significantly increase demand for access to the airport,” they said.
“Our expert analysis indicates approximately £15bn more investment will be needed beyond what is already committed and the key component of this is a new southern rail link from Waterloo to Heathrow.
“Thus far, the government has given no commitments to deliver this new rail link, despite the Airport’s Commissions recommendation to do so and, without such a commitment, the aspirations for no increase in road traffic are not credible.”
Transport for London analysis of Heathrow expansion surface access costsGrayling made the comments yesterday while giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on Heathrow’s third runway.
On TfL’s cost estimate for surface infrastructure changes, the transport secretary said it looked to him as if “somebody has taken every possible transport improvement in the whole of metropolitan London and thrown it into the mix, and probably funding a large chunk of Crossrail 2 out of it as well”.
[Chris Grayling is keen that Heathrow’s landing charges do not rise, to deter demand. He considers all the necessary transport work will be done anyway, so Heathrow’s impact will be minimal. AW note]
Chris Grayling calls TfL’s Heathrow expansion cost estimates “ludicrous”
By Rebecca Smith (City AM)
Chris Grayling has called Transport for London’s (TfL) predicted costs for improving road and rail links for the Heathrow expansion “ludicrous”.
Giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on Heathrow’s third runway, the transport secretary discussed warnings from TfL that making such improvements could cost up to £20bn.
The Airports Commission had estimated that surface infrastructure changes would cost £5bn, but TfL responded by saying the figure underestimated the cost and required changes would cost in the realms of £15m-£20m.
“I think it’s ludicrous to be honest,” Grayling said. “I do not see where £15bn can come from if you look at what we’re actually seeking to deliver around Heathrow Airport.”
He said it looked to him as if “somebody has taken every possible transport improvement in the whole of metropolitan London and thrown it into the mix, and probably funding a large chunk of Crossrail 2 out of it as well”.
He noted that changes to the M4 were happening already as part of the government’s ongoing road improvement process, while M25 changes will be funded by Heathrow Airport itself and rail improvements partly funded by the airport and partly the government as “these are long planned projects which would happen regardless of the airport expansion”.
Listing Crossrail’s opening in the next couple of years, HS2 providing better connectivity and TfL’s plans for the Piccadilly line to boost capacity, Grayling said these amounted to “a huge step forward” with the wheels in motion already.
“I’m baffled as to where TfL manages to get a £15bn figure from because I don’t know what you’d spend the money on”.
Grayling also said he felt Heathrow would plump for the runway ramp option for crossing the M25 rather than building a tunnel as it would be “operationally easier as well as less expensive”.
Transport Secretary ‘baffled’ by TfL’s Heathrow expansion cost estimate
1.12.2016 (BBC) Image captionA decision on whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick later this month
The transport secretary has said he is “baffled” by warnings from Transport for London (TfL) that improving road and rail links to an expanded Heathrow Airport could cost up to £20bn.
Chris Grayling was giving evidence to House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee where he dismissed the accuracy of TfL’s estimate.
Last month the government backed building a third runway at Heathrow.
The Airports Commission estimated transport improvements would be £5bn.
But TfL responded to the commission’s recommendations in October 2015 by insisting that figure “underestimates the actual cost by £10 to £15bn”.
Mr Grayling said: “It’s ludicrous, to be honest. I do not see where £15bn can come from if you look at what we’re actually seeking to deliver around Heathrow Airport.
“It feels to me like somebody has taken every possible transport improvement in the whole of metropolitan London and thrown it into the mix, and probably funding a large chunk of Crossrail 2 out of it as well.
“I’m baffled as to where TfL manages to get a £15bn figure from because I don’t know what you’d spend the money on.”
‘Quantum step forward’
The transport secretary said the cost of the runway crossing the M25 will be met “directly by the airport” while plans for rail links such as HS2, Crossrail and an improved London Underground Piccadilly line were already happening.
Heathrow would make a “financial contribution” towards further proposals to create rail links between the airport and the lines to Reading and Waterloo, Mr Grayling said. [How much unspecified].
The transport secretary added: “It will be a quantum step forward in public transport access to Heathrow.
“It will become by far the best connected airport in the country if you look at the different rail and Underground access it will have.
“I’m very satisfied that there is a very bold, comprehensive plan to deliver all that and I understand how it’s going to be funded.”
A TfL spokesman responded to the transport secretary’s comments saying Heathrow expansion would “significantly increase demand for access to the airport”.
He added: “Our expert analysis indicates approximately £15bn more investment will be needed beyond what is already committed and the key component of this is a new southern rail link from Waterloo to Heathrow.
“Thus far, the government have given no commitments to deliver this new rail link, despite the Airport’s Commissions recommendation to do so and, without such a commitment, the aspirations for no increase in road traffic are not credible.”
A TfL spokesperson said: “Expansion at Heathrow will significantly increase demand for access to the airport. Our expert analysis indicates approximately £15bn more investment will be needed beyond what is already committed and the key component of this is a new southern rail link from Waterloo to Heathrow. Thus far, the government have given no commitments to deliver this new rail link, despite the Airport’s Commissions recommendation to do so and, without such a commitment, the aspirations for no increase in road traffic are not credible.”
The Mayor of London has submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, on Heathrow’s environmental impacts. The Mayor believes Heathrow expansion could have a very detrimental impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners. The submission says: “It is regrettable that Government has decided to take forward Heathrow expansion in spite of the clear evidence of its serious environmental impacts in terms of air quality and noise and, perhaps of greatest concern, what it would mean for public health.” … “It is yet to be demonstrated that an expanded Heathrow could operate without exceeding legal limits for NO2.” … “Delivering significant mode shift will be critical to limiting highway traffic and helping tackle air pollution; but no new rail infrastructure is deemed by Government or the Heathrow Airport Limited to be required for expansion, rendering such an aspiration simply not credible.’ … “Little consideration has been given to the impact expansion will have on the growth in highway trips associated with air freight and induced economic activity…” … “A three-runway Heathrow would result in an increase in the number of people exposed to significant aircraft noise (at 55dBLden) of over 200,000, compared to a two-runway Heathrow…” and “Even with the partial night flights bans being proposed, the proposals are likely to lead to a net increase in flights across the night period (11pm-7am) of at least 30%.” … and there is more …
Written evidence submitted by Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross CBE, on behalf of the Mayor of London
Evidence from the Mayor to the Environmental Audit Cttee, looking into the environmental impacts of a 3rd Heathrow runway.
Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission to inform your ongoing work in relation to airport expansion. I am responding on behalf of the Mayor.
It is regrettable that Government has decided to take forward Heathrow expansion in spite of the clear evidence of its serious environmental impacts in terms of air quality and noise and, perhaps of greatest concern, what it would mean for public health. The recent court judgment, which the Mayor participated in, quashing the Government’s current Air Quality Plan as inadequate and unduly optimistic, simply underscores the need to properly and robustly assess and address the consequences of this lamentable decision.
That is why the Mayor will be seeking to hold Government to account. To that end, he announced last week that he has directed Transport for London to provide advice and assistance to the group of boroughs preparing a legal challenge – and he has not ruled out joining any legal challenge as a full participant.
The Mayor believes these proposals could have a very detrimental impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners. His fundamental concerns include:
It is yet to be demonstrated that an expanded Heathrow could operate without exceeding legal limits for NO2.
The requirement for Defra to draft a new Air Quality Action Plan incorporating more realistic emissions factors is likely to further complicate attempts to demonstrate the compliance of an expanded Heathrow.
Delivering significant mode shift will be critical to limiting highway traffic and helping tackle air pollution; but no new rail infrastructure is deemed by Government or the Heathrow Airport Limited to be required for expansion, rendering such an aspiration simply not credible.
Little consideration has been given to the impact expansion will have on the growth in highway trips associated with air freight and induced economic activity (attracted to the area as a result of an expanded airport, albeit not directly related to the airport); both could have a disproportionate impact on local roads.
A three-runway Heathrow would result in an increase in the number of people exposed to significant aircraft noise (at 55dBLden) of over 200,000, compared to a two-runway Heathrow (applying similar assumptions); Heathrow Airport Limited claimed a new runway could lead to less noise, but only by not comparing like with like – it assumed measures, notably flight routing optimisation, in its expansion scenarios but excluded them from its non-expansion scenarios.
Applying DfT WebTAG guidance indicates the monetised impact on public health from the noise of an expanded Heathrow to be £20-25bn over 60 years.
Even with the partial night flights bans being proposed, the proposals are likely to lead to a net increase in flights across the night period (11pm-7am) of at least 30%.
For most people living under the flightpaths in the vicinity of the airport, the respite from aircraft movements will be half of what is offered today – i.e. just a quarter of the traffic day.
Taken together, this presents a potentially serious challenge to the health of hundreds of thousands of Londoners. The Mayor believes it would be wholly unacceptable if potential gains in noise and air quality as a result of other measures, such as London’s action on vehicle emissions and aircraft operational changes unlocked by new technology – which could substantially benefit local communities – were instead banked by the airport to enable expansion.
The Mayor believes that such is the scale of the environmental impacts that would result from a third runway at Heathrow, it remains highly uncertain that these impacts are capable of being successfully addressed.
There is also a submission by “Sustainable Aviation”, an aviation industry group that hopes to persuade the world at large that aviation is a green industry, and really trying hard to be environmentally friendly. While growing the industry, and its carbon emissions, as fast as it can.
It is full of worth aspirations, and every possible incentive to become wonderfully green, but with almost nothing to actually stop “business as usual” growth. It is written in the standard language of the industry, the DfT, Heathrow etc. (And it, of course, only mentions in-bound tourists, and outbound freight – and economic benefits to everyone …)
Below is one section of it, as an example” :
CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS
3.1 UK aviation is able to accommodate significant growth to 2050 without a substantial increase in absolute CO2 emissions, through the deployment of more efficient air traffic management and operational practices, more efficient engines and aircraft, and the partial displacement of fossil-based kerosene with sustainable aviation fuels.
3.2 The global aviation sector aims to halve net emissions by 2050 compared to 2005, despite continuing growth in aviation connectivity. Sustainable Aviation’s CO2 Road-Map, published in 2012, set out that this could be achieved for UK aviation through:
Changes in aircraft technology, such as improved fuel consumption, improved aerodynamics and reductions in the weight of aircraft engines
Changes in operational techniques, such as continuous descent and climb operations and more direct routes being flown through improved air traffic management both in the UK and across Europe.
The introduction of renewable aviation fuels – the technology is already proven for these but the challenge is the commercialisation of such fuels, which will require Government support similar to that provided to renewable road fuels.
Market-based measures – although the aviation industry will continue to make significant reductions in its own CO2 intensity, a global CO2 trading scheme will be required to enable aviation to contribute to overall CO2 reductions beyond those achievable within the aviation sector.
3.3 In our progress report published last year, we noted that:
20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions were saved from UK airline flights in the last ten years. [That amounts to below 6% of the total. AW note]
More than 470 new, cleaner and quieter, aircraft (costing $50bn) have been introduced by UK airlines since 2005, which are 20% more fuel efficient. [By cleaner and quieter, which is aviation greenwash terminology, they mean more fuel efficient and marginally less noisy. AW note]
Since 2008, 400 procedural airspace changes and more efficient air traffic control has enabled savings of more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. [Some of those changes have caused real upset and misery to those finding themselves under newly concentrated flight paths. AW note]
The opponents of a new Nantes airport and Notre Dame des Landes are still waiting to see if the authorities try to force them off the land. On the 10th November, there was a good gathering (150 tractors and 500 people) who surrounded one of the farms on the ZAD (zone à defendre) to show solidarity against possible evictions. Now another gathering is planned for 2nd December, as they fear the threat of an attempt to start the removal work is even stronger in the days and weeks ahead. They say “We can not accept that the government does not respect the environmental code and the law on water and protected species.” And “it is our duty to prevent the destruction of fertile soils of the ZAD and the expulsion of those who make a living there.” The plan is meet up, speeches etc, and then pot au feu! In another solidarity campaign, there will be a relay of tractors taking good quality hay grown on the ZAD, up to farmers in Normandy, who do not have enough. On 13th to 16th December 3 hay trailers will start from the ZAD at NDDL, led initially by tractors of farmers at NDDL. Every 20 to 30 km, the relay will be passed to other local farmers with their tractors who take the next stage. Held in the squares of towns or villages, the relay stops will be an opportunity to communicate about the struggle against the planned NDDL airport – and national issues.
Mobilisation des paysannes et paysans de Copain le 2 décembre 2016
Le rassemblement paysan du 10 novembre pour entourer de nos Tracteurs Vigilants la ferme de Brigitte, Sylvain et Justin Fresneau a été une réussite (150 tracteurs et plus de 500 personnes).
La menace d’une tentative de début de travaux est des plus forte pour les jours et semaines à venir.
Nous ne pouvons accepter que le gouvernement ne respecte pas le code de l’environnement et les loi sur l’eau et les espèces protégées.
Aujourd’hui, construire un aéroport à NDDL est illégal car l’aménagement de l’aéroport actuel est une alternative tout à fait viable au long terme.
Il est de notre devoir d’empêcher la destruction des terres nourricières de la Zad et l’expulsion de ceux qui la font vivre.
Pour nous, paysannes et paysans de Copain, c’est maintenant qu’il faut affirmer notre détermination à empêcher tout début de travaux ou d’expulsion.
Il y a bientôt quatre ans, nous protégions la ferme de Bellevue de la destruction, en occuppant le corps de ferme et les 120 ha.
Depuis, nous entretenons les prairies et les cultures, et la ferme est devenu un lieu de vie, d’échanges, d’émulation et de création.
Nous avons donc décidé:
Un appel à tous les paysannes et paysans et aux comités de soutiens :
Rassemblement le vendredi 02 décembre 2016
à 11h00 à la Ferme de Bellevue
Pour réaffirmer comment nous protègerons la Ferme comme l’ensemble de la Zad
11h00: chantiers de protection
12h00: prises de paroles et conférence de presse
13h00: Pot au feu !
L’ACIPA appelle ses adhérents et sympathisants à accompagner ce rassemblement.
Heathrow has paid Populus to carry out surveys across various parts of London and surrounding areas for several years, trying to get results that show high levels of support for Heathrow. Though all results are published, in the proper manner, the details of the phone script for the interviews is never given. People interviewed have expressed the opinion that it is biased. Now the Evening Standard reports on a recording of a local voter being interviewed for the telephone survey. The interviewer is heard pointing out that legal battles could be “potentially costly” and that Heathrow “has committed to reduce the number of people significantly impacted by aircraft noise, extend the ban on night flights and play their part to improve local air quality”. The interviewee was asked how they would vote in the Richmond by-election and whether a legal challenge being mounted by four local authorities was a “waste of time and money” or a “reasonable” use of taxpayers’ funds. This appears to be not only biased interviewing, likely to skew the results, but also intended to reduce the vote for Zac Goldsmith. Zac called a by-election on the Heathrow runway issue, and Heathrow would see it as a positive sign for them – they want Zac to be beaten (by-election on 1st December).
Heathrow Airport in row over secret recording of Richmond voter quiz
By JOE MURPHY (Standard)
Heathrow was embroiled in a by-election row today after quizzing Richmond Park residents on whether a legal challenge to a third runway at the airport was a “waste of time and money”.
Allies of Zac Goldsmith accused the airport of undermining his election campaign by asking questions that could sway voters.
A secret recording of a local voter being interviewed for the telephone survey has been heard by the Standard.
The interviewer is heard pointing out that legal battles could be “potentially costly” and that Heathrow “has committed to reduce the number of people significantly impacted by aircraft noise, extend the ban on night flights and play their part to improve local air quality”.
The man was asked how he would vote in the by-election and whether a legal challenge being mounted by four local authorities was a “waste of time and money” or a “reasonable” use of taxpayers’ funds.
Lord True, the Tory leader of Richmond council and a supporter of Mr Goldsmith, said the survey was “an unwelcome intervention” that could “undermine the campaign of Heathrow’s leading opponent”.
He said: “I think it is spectacularly ill-judged and inappropriate. They seem to be very leading questions to me.”
Mr Goldsmith, who is standing as an independent candidate after resigning the seat as a Tory MP, is attempting to turn the election into a referendum on the third runway. He said: “They know that if I lose, they win.”
A Heathrow spokesman denied the claims and said: “On behalf of Heathrow, Populus has polled residents in the 12 constituencies around the airport annually for the past four years.
“This polling assesses local views on a number of topical issues linked to the airport and its expansion. This year’s questions include one about the judicial review that some local authorities have launched against the Government. Heathrow enjoys a constructive relationship with Mr Goldsmith, and we have no intention of interfering in the by-election in Richmond.”
Leading Green party members in Richmond Park are split over co-leader Caroline Lucas’s decision to back Lib-Dem candidate Sarah Olney. Some support Labour’s Christian Wolmar, and Clare Keogh, who was the Green candidate in Kingston and Surbiton in last year’s general election, attacked the Lib-Dems for their “regressive role with the Tories in government”.
Text of phone script of Heathrow commissioned Populus poll shows degree of bias
December 12, 2014
In July to September 2014 Heathrow commissioned yet another telephone poll by Populus, on attitudes to its 3rd runway plans. The poll showed 49% net in favour, 32% net opposed and 19% neither support nor oppose. The figures are broadly similar to polls in March 2014 (48% support, 34% against, 18% unsure), November 2013 or May 2013 and there was 50% support from a Populus poll in 2007. Though Populus publish details of the numbers, they do not publish the script used for the phone interview. An enterprising resident, irritated by the polls, noted the wording when telephoned – which indicates how much bias there is in the way the poll was conducted. There was no mention that the poll was paid for by Heathrow. The most dubious question is number 11 which asks: “Are you more or less inclined to support expansion of HRW (or maybe it was a 3rd runway?) knowing that it will mean: 11.1) An additional 41,000 jobs by 2030 (options more, less, or no difference); 11.2) Doubling youth training schemes from 5,000 to 10,000 places (options more, less, or no difference); 11.3) Reduction in number of people impacted by daytime aircraft noise (options more, less, or no difference); 11.4) Reduction in night time disturbance [not specific] (options more, less, or no difference). Unbiased?
Researchers at Leeds University have found that traffic pollution is responsible for previously healthy children developing asthma. The huge study, looking at about a million children, found that black carbon — oily soot particles emitted by diesel engines — is the main cause, with NO2 and particulates. All are emitted by road vehicles. It is already known that higher levels of air pollution trigger asthma attacks in people who already have it, but the role of traffic pollution in initiating the condition in healthy children had not been confirmed before. A large number of schools in the UK are in areas with air quality below EU standards. The pollutants attack the lining of children’s lungs, initiating an inflammatory reaction that leads to asthma. Once triggered, the asthma reaction can happen again and again, causing numerous attacks through a person’s life. The research combined data from 41 epidemiological studies from countries including England, Holland, Germany, Sweden and the US. There are around 1.1m children in the UK with asthma, a near-threefold rise over the past 60 years. Also around 4.3m adults. On average 3 people die each day from it and costs the NHS about £1 billion per year. Long-term exposure to air pollution in childhood is known to stunt lung growth and brain development. The asthma findings will cause further concerns about permitting increases in local air pollution, eg, with a 3rd Heathrow runway, or the government’s £11bn road-expansion programme.
Traffic fumes give asthma to children
By Jonathan Leake, Science Editor (Sunday TImes)
November 27 2016
. Scientists have found that traffic pollution is responsible for turning healthy children into asthmatics — the first confirmation of such a link.
Long-term exposure to air pollution in childhood is known to stunt lung growth and brain development, while short-term surges in air pollution cause increased hospital admissions for heart attacks and strokes.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates that NO2 pollution causes up to 23,500 premature deaths a year in the UK. Particulates are estimated to cause another 29,000 deaths.
Traffic pollution increases risk of developing asthma in childhood
University of Leeds website
Children and adolescents exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) have a higher risk of developing asthma, according to a systematic review and large-scale analysis performed by researchers from the University of Leeds and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).
An estimated 334 million people suffer from asthma worldwide, and numerous studies show that the prevalence of childhood asthma has markedly increased since the 1950s. The factors underlying this increase are largely unknown, but changes in environmental exposures including air pollution are thought to be involved.
This new study, published in Environment International, is the largest and most up-to-date review and analysis of current evidence of exposure to traffic-related air pollution and the development of childhood asthma. The authors reviewed more than 4,000 articles published on the topic between 1999 and September 2016, and analysed the data from 41 epidemiological studies (from the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden, England, France, Italy, Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea) which met criteria for inclusion in the systematic review. Khreis and co-authors then combined data for over a million children in meta-analyses, and showed that TRAP exposures increase the risk of childhood asthma development.
Haneen Khreis, researcher at the University of Leeds and lead author of the study, concludes that “according to the analysis we performed, combining data from multiple studies, we can now confirm that there is a positive association between TRAP exposures and development of childhood asthma”. In particular, the review looked at exposure to traffic-associated nitrogen dioxide, black carbon, and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) during childhood, and the subsequent development of asthma. “Our analysis shows that the most robust effects were in association with black carbon exposures, a specific marker of traffic exhaust and a diesel-related pollutant, but more research is needed to draw definitive conclusions, including exploring the effects of non-exhaust pollutants”. With the roads in many cities now dominated by diesel vehicles, this research sheds more light on the public health consequences of transport policy.
“Air pollution has a great impact on childhood health” underlines Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, senior author of the study and director of the Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative at ISGlobal. He adds “Given that almost 70% of people globally are projected to live in urban areas by 2050, exposure to traffic-related air pollution is a major global health problem and we need to act quickly”.
A new report, involving researchers from the University of Southampton, starkly sets out the dangerous impact air pollution is currently having on our nation’s health – with around 40,000 deaths a year linked to air pollution.
Entitled ‘Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution’, the report says the harm from air pollution is not just linked to short term episodes but is a long term problem with lifelong implications.
The report notes examples from right across an individual’s lifespan, from a baby’s first weeks in the womb through to the years of older age. Examples include, the adverse effects of air pollution on the development of the fetus, including lung and kidney development, and miscarriage, increases in heart attacks and strokes for those in later life; and the associated links to asthma, diabetes, dementia, obesity and cancer for the wider population.
Stephen Holgate, Medical Research Council Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton, chaired the working party for the report, while John Holloway, Professor of Allergy and Respiratory Genetics at the University, co-wrote Chapter 3: In the beginning: protecting our future generations.
Professor Holloway explores how and why infants and young children are affected by air pollution. It says that due to the rapid pace of change which take place in utero and early childhood as children develop, the adverse effects from air pollution can have far greater influence on health than exposure of adults, as important organ systems, once their development is harmed, cannot recover resulting in life long effects on health. In particular, harmful exposures during pregnancy can modify DNA of the developing child, altering the way genes are regulated. This can not only alter development of organs (such as the lungs), leading to differences in organ function at birth, but may also lead to altered responses to further exposure to pollutants later in life.
Professor Holloway comments: “There are three major periods of vulnerability to the adverse effects of air pollution: the mother’s health during pregnancy, the development of the fetus and infancy. Everything is inextricably linked. There is no doubt that air pollution can affect the fetus, either indirectly through the health of the mother, or directly by affecting developing fetal organs and systems. These effects can have a permanent influence on growth and health throughout life. Exposure of the young child to air pollution can produce definite harm and increase the risk of disease both immediately and throughout the rest of their lives. We must act now to ensure our future generations are not put at risk.”
Professor Holgate adds: “We now know that air pollution has a substantial impact on many chronic long term conditions, increasing strokes and heart attacks in susceptible individuals. We know that air pollution adversely effects the development of the fetus, including lung development. And now there is compelling evidence that air pollution is associated with new onset asthma in children and adults. When our patients are exposed to such a clear and avoidable cause of death, illness and disability, it our duty to speak out.”
The landmark report has been led by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).
In relation to asthma, the report stresses the significant point that after years of debate, there is now compelling evidence that air pollution is associated with both reduced lung growth in childhood and new onset asthma in children and in adults – whilst highlighting that air pollution increases the severity of asthma for those with the disease.
In recent years the dangers of outdoor air pollution have been well documented however, the report highlights the often overlooked section of our environment – that of indoor space. Factors such as, kitchen products, faulty boilers, open fires, fly sprays and air fresheners, all of which can cause poor air quality in our homes, workspaces and schools. According to the report indoor air pollution may have caused or contributed to 99,000 deaths annually in Europe.
Although government and the World Health Organization (WHO) set ‘acceptable’ limits for various pollutants in our air, the report states that there is in fact no level of exposure that can be seen to be safe, with any exposure carrying an associated risk.
As a result, the report offers a number of major reform proposals setting out what must be done if we are to tackle the problem of air pollution.
Put the onus on polluters. Polluters must be required to take responsibility for harming our health. Political leaders at a local, national and EU level must introduce tougher regulations, including reliable emissions testing for cars.
Local authorities need to act to protect public health when air pollution levels are high. When these limits are exceeded, local authorities must have the power to close or divert roads to reduce the volume of traffic, especially near schools.
Monitor air pollution effectively. Air pollution monitoring by central and local government must track exposure to harmful pollutants in major urban areas and near schools. These results should then be communicated proactively to the public in a clear way that everyone can understand.
Quantify the relationship between indoor air pollution and health. We must strengthen our understanding of the key risk factors and effects of poor our quality in our homes, schools and workplaces. A coordinated effort is required to develop and apply any necessary policy changes.
Define the economic impact of air pollution. Air pollution damages not only our physical health, but also our economic wellbeing. We need further research into the economic benefits of well-designed policies to tackle it.
Lead by example within the NHS. The health service must no longer be a major polluter; it must lead by example and set the benchmark for clean air and safe workplaces.
The report also emphasises how the public can do their part to reduce pollutant exposure. Noting the impact collective action can have on the future levels of air pollution in our communities.
Trying alternatives to car travel or preferably taking the active option: bus, train, walking and cycling.
Aiming for energy efficiency in our homes.
Keeping gas appliances and solid fuel burners in good repair.
Learning more about air quality and staying informed.
Other key points from the report note:
Estimated cost of air pollution in the UK is £20 billion annually (in Europe €240 billion)
A need to develop new technologies to improve air pollution monitoring.
More research to determine how social and economic trends are affecting air quality and its twin threat climate change.
Why are people with asthma more at risk from pollution?
When pollution levels are high we all breathe in harmful substances; but if you’ve got asthma you’re much more likely to feel the effects. You might notice you’re coughing or wheezing, your chest is tight, or your nose and throat feel scratchy. Pollution is more of a risk for people with asthma because:
Pollutants, such as the chemicals in traffic fumes, can quickly irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms.
The tiny particles found in dust, soot, and diesel fumes are small enough to get right into the lungs, causing inflammation and making your asthma symptomsworse.
Pollution can make you more sensitive to your usual asthma triggers (such as house dust mites, pollen, pets, moulds and fungi).
Are some people with asthma more at risk than others?
Air pollution is a risk factor for everyone with asthma but if your asthma is well managed and you rarely have symptoms you’ll be much more able to cope with the effects.
Some people with asthma need to take extra care:
Children and young adults with asthma are more at risk from the effects of pollution because they have faster breathing rates, and their lungs are still developing.
Children living in areas with high pollution are more likely to have reduced lung function as adults.
Older people with asthma, particularly if they have underlying COPD or another long-term condition such as heart disease may find it harder to cope with pollution.
Edinburgh airport’s initial findings into the letsgofurther consultation (on airspace change to create new flight paths across a wide swathe of East Central Scotland) are out. There was an overwhelming rejection of their plans to change flight paths. They are refusing to publish the comments in full. Local campaign, Edinburgh Airport Watch comments: “While it is unclear what criteria the airport has used to categorise the responses as Positive, Neutral or Negative, it is obvious from the airport’s own reckoning that the majority of responders were against the proposals to change the airspace. The initial consultation documents contained little detail, yet people across the piece have given an emphatic thumbs down to any further change to the airspace with 70% of Community Councils commenting negatively.” … Since the airport’s disastrous TUTUR trial in 2015, hundreds of thousands of people have woken up to find themselves suddenly and without warning living under a busy and disruptive flight path – with no consultation. … “We are struck by the number of comments from people clearly stating the importance to them of tranquility.” …”Before embarking on any more proposals for further change, we call on the airport to reverse the changes it has already made to the airspace since 2015 and enter into a proper dialog with those Communities whose lives have been turned upside down by their actions so far.”
with an overwhelming rejection of their plans to change flight paths by just about everyone. They are refusing to publish the comments in full – one can only wonder why – how often have they said they intend to be open and transparent?
Initial comments from Edinburgh Airport Watch:
Today Edinburgh Airport Limited (EAL) has published its initial findings into its letsgofurther consultation on airspace change to create new flight paths across a wide swathe of East Central Scotland.
By failing to publish all responses, the airport has chosen not to follow its own often repeated desire for openness and transparency. While it is unclear what criteria the airport has used to categorise the responses as Positive, Neutral or Negative, it is obvious from the airport’s own reckoning that the majority of responders were against the proposals to change the airspace.
The initial consultation documents contained little detail, yet people across the piece have given an emphatic thumbs down to any further change to the airspace with 70% of Community Councils commenting negatively.
We would ask why the airport has not chosen to publish all the comments it received? Many of the sample comments that have been published make reference to the importance people place on tranquility and their concerns about the impact on health of exposure to unwanted aircraft noise.
The airport’s own appointed assessors of the process, The Consultation Institute, were unable to assess the process as Best Practice, mainly due to the admitted loss of 200 responses by the airport due to an IT blunder, and have made a number of recommendations for improvements to the process. It remains to be seen how many of these recommendations made by their own consultants will be taken on board by the airport.
We note that the airspace change consultation documents were not fully accessible in terms of font, print size, etc which is an error repeated in the recent Masterplan consultation launched on 11th November. We would have hoped that the airport is learning lessons, however it would appear this one has passed it by yet again.
Edinburgh Airport Watch said:
“We are saddened and disappointed to see that Edinburgh Airport has not followed through on its promises of openness and transparency, and has failed to publish in full the anonymised responses it received to this initial consultation so that the process can be open to independent scrutiny.
“While we remain unclear of the criteria the airport has used to assess the comments received, it is obvious that the vast majority of responders across many geographical areas are in the “negative” category and have stated loud and clear that they simply do not want to be overflown by noisy and disruptive aircraft.”
The airport says that 70% of the Community Councils who responded have given a “negative” response to the proposals, which is confirmed by the dialogue we (Edinburgh Airport Watch) have had with Community Councils across many areas.
Since the airport’s disastrous TUTUR trial in 2015, hundreds of thousands of people have woken up to find themselves suddenly and without warning living under a busy and disruptive flight path – with no consultation, and with the airport continually refusing to accept that anything has changed.
We are struck by the number of comments from people clearly stating the importance to them of tranquility. For over a year now, we have been telling the airport that the only thing people who are being woken at 6am by noisy jet planes want is to get their peace and quiet back. Perhaps finally the airport might now take heed.
In any reasonable consultation process, the status quo should always be an option. It is clear that the airport does not enjoy any support from Communities for the changes to flight paths it says are necessary, so we urge them to rethink and take the pattern of use of the airspace back to how it was in 2015.
Before embarking on any more proposals for further change, we call on the airport to reverse the changes it has already made to the airspace since 2015 and enter into a proper dialog with those Communities whose lives have been turned upside down by their actions so far.
Just 1% of councillors contacted over controversial plans to alter flight paths above Scotland’s busiest airport responded to a consultation on the issue, a new publication shows.
An Edinburgh Airport report shows it contacted 334 councillors in Scotland’s central belt and the Borders about its airspace change programme (ACP) but only three responded to the call for views.
All of Scotland’s 129 MSPs and 59 MPs were also contacted during the consultation on the proposals, with 11 (6%) replying. Airport bosses said those whose constituencies are directly affected by the plans did respond.
The report also maps out responses from members of the public to the proposals from area to area, with concerns about noise and pollution among the issues raised by people.
They ranged from West Lothian – where 71% of the 1,823 responses received were negative about the plans – to Midlothian, where negative responses accounted for less than half (45%) of the 222 replies sent in.
Edinburgh Airport launched its ACP earlier this year with a view to modernising its flight paths amid forecasts of continuing passenger growth at the base. It held an initial consultation on the proposals, the biggest of its kind by a UK airport, from June 6 to September 19 and published a report on those findings on Friday.
Overall, 5,880 responses were submitted – 89 from organisations and elected officials and 5,791 from individuals. The report notes that airport officials contacted 226 community councils, of which 33, or 15%, responded to the consultation. More than 900 stakeholder organisations were also contacted, with 34 (4%) replying.
It is understood councillors in Fife, Falkirk, Edinburgh, the Lothians, Borders and South Lanarkshire were contacted and that some may have responded as individuals, not in their council role. A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said they have had a lot of dialogue with politicians.
He stressed it is a two-stage consultation process, with views to be sought on further more detailed options from January onwards.
The largest number of public responses was received from people in West Lothian, closely followed by residents in Edinburgh, with 1,659 responses. Just over half (51%) of replies from people in the city were classed as negative while 22% were positive and 27% were neutral.
Among the top “themes” identified were noise concerns and local pollution and environmental issues. The airport says it will use the public’s views to shape its plans.
Chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “Meeting and listening to people in our neighbouring communities has been an invaluable exercise for us; we have learned a lot about their hopes and concerns in regards to the growth and development of Edinburgh Airport. “We will be presenting our design options – in part guided by the findings of this initial consultation – and beginning a second consultation in early 2017.”
Edinburgh consultation on flight paths turns into omni-shambles as airport loses vital consultation data
September 7, 2016
Edinburgh Airport Watch, and many others, were shocked to learn that the integrity and accuracy of the airport’s consultation process has been jeopardised by a computer upgrade. The airport has admitted that they lost 199 responses made over the last week. The data submitted between 10.31am on Monday, 29 August and 12.05pm on Friday, 2 September was accidentally not saved between these dates and times during a planned upgrade of the site. The airport has apologised for the inconvenience to those who now have to re-submit their response, and the consultation has been extended by a week (from the earlier end date of 12th September to 19th September) to give people the chance to submit again. The airport has 21 of the email addresses (out of the 199) lost submissions, so can inform those people. Local group, Edinburgh Airport Watch commented that trust in the airport had already hit rock bottom, and this latest blunder (even if not directly the airport’s fault) only serves to further damage Edinburgh Airport’s seriously tattered reputation among communities, especially in its consultation process. The group also have concerns about the area being consulted, with a huge number of people not being affected by the airport’s flight paths. A large public meeting was held on 6th September.
Edinburgh Airport Consultation on Flight Paths – public meeting on 6th September
September 2, 2016
Edinburgh Airport is currently consulting (ends 12th September) on changes to their flight paths. These changes affect a wide swathe around the airport, and are likely to impact on about 300,000 people across West Lothian, Falkirk and Fife areas, many in communities that have not been affected by aircraft noise previously. The local community group, Edinburgh Airport Watch, has organised a public meeting on 6th September, for people to understand the issues and what is at stake. It is to be chaired by Neil Findlay MSP. Edinburgh airport’s website has some more information, but there are few details on what is actually being proposed. There is insufficient detail of routes and how intensively they will be used, or over what times of day (or night). Many local communities are very concerned about changes that have already happened, and those that may happen in future, in terms of changes routes and concentration of routes. Some previously quiet areas that had no overhead flights, or few, now have very noticeably more. The airport wants to put in more flights at peak times, and that is a key driver of the changes. In 2015 the airport was forced to abandon a trial of a new westerly take-off (TURUR) route due to huge and widespread opposition. This route now cannot be used again without a full public consultation.
Edinburgh airport starts 1st stage of consultation to get more RNAV routes in place by summer 2018
June 9, 2016
Edinburgh airport met strenuous opposition when it ran a trial that started in June 2015 of the TUTUR route. Now Edinburgh has put out a consultation (ends 12th September) of the first phase of a process of getting more airspace changes. The consultation is not on actual routes. The airport says: “The positions of the new routes have not yet been determined. We seek to inform the decisions regarding where best to position these routes by consulting with those impacted or who have an interest.” The question in the consultation is “what local factors should be taken into account when determining the position of the route within the design envelope given the potential impacts, and why?” They say feedback “will inform the detailed design process and will influence the design options.” Once draft routes have been designed, a further consultation (probably summer 2017) will take place on the detailed design of the routes. After the second consultation, Edinburgh Airport will submit an airspace change proposal to the CAA. They have been careful to get their consultation in quickly, before the CAA system of improving the airspace change process comes into being. ” The target date for the RNAV routes to come into operation is Summer 2018.” Consultees cannot comment on air traffic growth, airport expansion, or government policy on airspace noise (or the lack of it), or of PBN or the desirability of RNAV.
Plans to build a third Heathrow runway have suffered a setback after the government’s official climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warned ministers the project risked blowing a hole in the UK’s legally binding carbon targets. Lord Deben, chairman of the CCC, wrote to Greg Clark at BEIS to raise “concerns” about the plans. Lord Deben said the central business case ministers made in October when they agreed to back a 3rd Heathrow runway would mean greenhouse gas emissions from aviation were about 15% higher than their target level by 2050. This cap is 37.5MtCO2, which is the level of UK aviation emissions in 2005. The CCC has repeatedly said that aviation emissions should stay at 2005 levels until 2050 if the legally binding UK targets are to be met. If aviation is allowed to miss, by 15%, its already very generous allowance, this would necessitate CO2 cuts from all other sectors to be 85% of their 1990 level by 2050. Lord Deben said that would require “significantly more action”to slash carbon pollution from other sectors, which is likely to be impossible. Doug Parr, chief scientist of Greenpeace, said: “What ministers know full well but don’t want to admit is that a third runway means other sectors of the economy will have to bear the costs of further carbon cuts, whether it’s regional airports or the manufacturing and steel industries. … it’s time ministers came clean about it with those concerned and the British public.”
Heathrow third runway ‘to breach climate change laws’
By Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst Follow Roger @rharrabin
Plans to expand Heathrow Airport are set to breach the government’s climate change laws, advisers have warned.
The Committee on Climate Change says the business plan for Heathrow projects a 15% increase in aviation emissions by 2050.
If that increase is allowed, members say, ministers will have to squeeze even deeper emissions cuts from other sectors of the economy.
The government said it was determined to keep to its climate change targets.
It warns that creating the space for aviation emissions to grow will impose unbearable extra emissions reductions on sectors like steel-making, motoring and home heating.
The committee also says that in making the decision to allow a third runway at Heathrow, ministers appear to have jettisoned their policy that aviation emissions in 2050 would be frozen at 2005 levels.
Its chair, Lord Deben, wrote to the Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark, saying: “If emissions from aviation are now anticipated to be higher than 2005, then all other sectors would have to prepare for correspondingly higher emissions reductions.
“Aviation emissions at 2005 levels already imply an 85% reduction in other sectors. My committee has limited confidence about the options (for achieving the compensatory cuts needed).”
Already since 1990, aviation emissions have doubled while economy-wide emissions have reduced by more than a third. Ministers see aviation as a special case because low-carbon technology for planes is not well advanced.
The committee says the Department for Transport appears to be planning to solve the aviation overshoot by buying permits to pollute from poor countries which have low levels of CO2 emissions.
‘Bear the costs’
This is permitted internationally under a new code recently agreed by the aviation industry.
But it is a departure from the government’s own existing policy – and rules stipulate that the change should have been checked with the committee before being agreed.
A committee spokesman told BBC News: “The committee has consistently said the government should not plan to use credits to meet the 2050 target because these credits may not be available in the future and they may not be cheap.”
Doug Parr from Greenpeace said the affair showed climate change was still an afterthought from a government pursuing business as usual.
He said: “What ministers know full well but don’t want to admit is that a third runway means other sectors of the economy will have to bear the costs of further carbon cuts – whether it’s regional airports or the manufacturing and steel industries.
“We are considering how we will continue to reduce our emissions across the economy through the 2020s and will set this out in our emissions reduction plan, which will send an important signal to the markets, businesses and investors.
“Our commitment to meeting our Climate Change Act target of an at least 80% emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2050 is as strong as ever.”
But it’s not just on aviation that climate policies are struggling. The government’s long-awaited master plan for reducing long-term emissions has been delayed again – until early 2017.
But the biggest challenge is the UK’s leaky housing stock: since the government scrapped its ill-fated Green Deal programme of home insulation it has had no nationwide plan to improve comfort and reduce emissions from existing homes.
Confirms, as there is absolutely NO mention of CO2 or climate in it at all, that this government does not consider there is any need for UK aviation to stick within a carbon target.
“[HR3] was the right decision for the whole country … And it will certainly not prevent London’s other airports from expanding. Gatwick, Luton, London City, Stansted and Southend all have crucial roles to play to meet growing demand for air travel.
“Of course growth will not be limited to the south east. Airports across the country will expand. Indeed, this is already happening. Last year our regional airports handled over 97 million passengers. Several have achieved double digit growth over the past 5 years, including Edinburgh, which has grown by more than a quarter, and Bristol, which has recorded an 18% increase in passengers.
“… Our chairman spoke eloquently earlier about the importance of promoting growth throughout the industry. I absolutely agree.”
” Climate change is a very important issue that we take very seriously. I was delighted by the agreement reached at the International Civil Aviation Organisation summit in Montreal recently, which sets a way forward for the aviation industry with international agreement. That is a significant step forward. We agree that a significant challenge remains that we must monitor very carefully, but the Airports Commission said very clearly that the expansion could take place and we could meet our objectives. That is what we intend to do.”
“We take the issue of climate change very seriously, and the Government have introduced a raft of measures to address it, but we must also ensure that we have the prosperity that enables us, for instance, to fund our national health service and our old age pensioners. Having a thriving, modern economy with strong links around the world is an important part of that.”
The DfT statement on its website on 25th October said:
“The government believes that a new runway at Heathrow can be delivered within the UK’s carbon obligations.”
DfT now regards keeping to the aviation cap of 37.5 MtCO2 per year as “unrealistic”
This is where the DfT states that using the carbon-capped figures is “unrealistic” and so they are only looking at the carbon traded figures (which allow for Heathrow expansion, and aviation emissions above the target of 37.5MtCO2 that they have been recommended, by the CCC (Committee on Climate Change) since 2009.
Page 15 of the DfT document (25.10.2016) states:
“1.12 The AC’s approach to modelling the carbon-capped scenario uses carbon price assumptions that are higher than the central values published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for appraisal. The carbon-capped scenario is helpful for understanding the varying effects of constraining aviation CO2 emissions on aviation demand and the impact on the case for airport expansion, but was described by the AC as “unrealistic in future policy terms”. The AC’s carbon-capped appraisal results are discussed further in chapter 8. ”
Following the announcement that the UK Government has approved the expansion of UK airport capacity, including expansion of London Heathrow Airport, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has issued the following statement:
Emissions from aviation are a relatively small but increasingly important source of UK greenhouse gas emissions (making up 6% of total emissions in 2014). Since 1990, aviation emissions have doubled whilst economy-wide emissions have reduced by more than a third.
It is important that decisions about UK airport capacity are consistent with the UK’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, as set out in the Climate Change Act.
This should include a plan to limit UK 2050 aviation emissions to 2005 levels (implying around a 60% increase in passenger demand), which the Committee has previously advised is an appropriate contribution to the UK’s 80% target for 2050. The Committee’s advice on the level of 2050 aviation emissions was incorporated by the Airports Commission in their analysis and recommendations to Government.
The Government should also consider strategic options and innovation priorities to pursue deeper cuts in aviation emissions, consistent with the objective in the Paris Agreement to move towards overall net zero emissions in the second half of the century.
Aviation emissions are currently below the level they were in 2005. Ensuring aviation emissions do not exceed 2005 levels by 2050 could be partly achieved with continued improvements in fuel and operational efficiency and use of sustainable biofuels. Depending on technological and related progress, this could imply limiting the growth in demand to around 60% above 2005 levels by 2050 (45% above current levels).
The Committee will continue to monitor developments in aviation emissions and policy.
Aviation emissions are included in the 2050 target to reduce economy-wide emissions by at least 80% below 1990 levels. CCC analysis has illustrated how the 80% target could be achieved with aviation emissions at 2005 levels in 2050, and by reducing emissions from other sectors by 85%. Aviation emissions at 2005 levels could be achieved with a 35% improvement in carbon intensity (through improved fuel and operational efficiency, and use of sustainable biofuels) and by limiting demand growth to around 60% above 2005 levels by 2050. Higher aviation emissions than 2005 levels in 2050 should not be planned for, since this would imply greater than 85% cuts in other sectors; there is limited confidence about the scope for this.
In 2015 UK passenger demand was 11% above 2005 levels; a 60% increase on 2005 levels is equivalent to a 45% increase on the 2015 level.
In 2014 (the latest year for which there are data), UK aviation emissions were 9% below 2005 levels. This is likely to be due to a range of factors including improved fuel efficiency of aircraft, operational decisions by airlines (e.g. higher loading factors), and changes in the route mix flown by passengers.
Chairman of CCC writes to BEIS to query why DfT appears to no longer use the 37.5MtCO2 cap for UK aviation – but intends to allow higher emissions
November 22, 2016
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has been giving the UK government the advice, since 2009 (when government was trying to get a 3rd Heathrow runway) that UK aviation should emit no more CO2 than its level in 2005 (which was 37.5MtCO2) per year by 2050. This has tacitly been accepted by government since then. But the DfT “sensitivities” document put out on 25th October, said that this cap on UK aviation carbon was “unrealistic” and its assessments were only now looking at the carbon traded option. That means UK aviation CO2 well above the target. The Chairman of the CCC, Lord Deben, has now written to Greg Clark, Sec of State at BEIS (Dept of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, now in charge of UK carbon emissions, since DECC was scrapped) to point out that the DfT seems to no longer see the constraint of 37.5MtCO2 as being important, and its forecasts and business assumptions are all now based on higher CO2 emissions by UK aviation. Lord Deben says: “If emissions from aviation are now anticipated to be higher than 2005 levels, then all other sectors would have to prepare for correspondingly higher emissions reductions in 2050.” Even if UK aviation stuck at 37.5Mt CO2 by 2050, this would mean “an 85% reduction in emissions in all other sectors”. The CCC does not have confidence that cuts of over 85% could be made. That implies the UK would miss its legally binding CO2 target.
Sadiq Khan has welcomed the potential for direct train services from Waterloo to Heathrow Airport but warned that there may not be enough capacity on the rail network for such a service to be introduced. The Mayor said: “While the potential for a new connection between Heathrow and Waterloo is welcome, the proposals face a serious capacity challenge. Rail lines between Windsor and Waterloo are severely constrained and the multiple level crossings on the route limit the ability to accommodate additional trains. Any new airport service cannot be at the expense of existing and planned services or the network’s ability to meet forecast growth in background demand. If the Government is to take forward a third runway at Heathrow airport, it needs to demonstrate that there is both the rail connectivity and capacity to enable expansion and achieve the airport’s stated aspiration of a zero increase in passenger and staff highway trips. The Southern Rail Access proposals, reliant on the rail lines between Windsor and Waterloo, cannot provide the capacity to support an expanded Heathrow.” … “While the Airports Commission identified Southern Rail Access as the only rail scheme required for Heathrow expansion, it emerged last month that the Government now deems no new rail infrastructure essential for an expanded Heathrow. Such an approach is deeply concerning and risks worsening congestion on the roads and a further deterioration of air quality around Heathrow.”
Sadiq warns Waterloo to Heathrow rail link may be impractical
25.11.2016 (London SE1)
Sadiq Khan has welcomed the potential for direct train services from Waterloo to Heathrow Airport but warned that there may not be enough capacity on the rail network for such a service to be introduced.
Labour London Assembly member Fiona Twycross tabled a question to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan asking whether he backed calls by Seema Malhotra MP for a rail link between Heathrow Airport and Waterloo Station.
Mr Khan’s reply was published this week.
The Mayor said: “While the potential for a new connection between Heathrow and Waterloo is welcome, the proposals face a serious capacity challenge.
“Rail lines between Windsor and Waterloo are severely constrained and the multiple level crossings on the route limit the ability to accommodate additional trains.
“Any new airport service cannot be at the expense of existing and planned services or the network’s ability to meet forecast growth in background demand.
“If the Government is to take forward a third runway at Heathrow airport, it needs to demonstrate that there is both the rail connectivity and capacity to enable expansion and achieve the airport’s stated aspiration of a zero increase in passenger and staff highway trips.
“The Southern Rail Access proposals, reliant on the rail lines between Windsor and Waterloo, cannot provide the capacity to support an expanded Heathrow.
“There are alternatives which could deliver the capacity and connectivity required – including direct links to Waterloo – and these are being investigated by TfL.
Daniel Moylan, who worked for years for Transport for London commented:
Waterloo-LHR rail link would be expensive (tunnels required) and would offer few trains because of congested lines into Waterloo. Not a solution.
More on government now trying to say none of the expensive (up to £18 billion or so, according to TfL) public transport improvements needed to deal with the extra passenger and demand from a 3rd runway.
2.4 There remains some uncertainty over whether all of the surface access schemes included in the AC’s estimate of costs are required as a direct result of expansion. For example, the M4 is already congested and the pressure on that corridor is expected to continue to grow with or without Heathrow expansion, as background demand continues to grow as a result of population increases and economic growth. Airport users are a relatively small proportion of those who use the route. The AC concluded that additional demand associated with expansion might be the factor that triggers the need for measures to increase capacity on the M4. These measures could include managing demand or providing additional capacity, including as widening sections of the M4. The AC included the full cost of M4 widening in its assessment, whilst acknowledging that there were alternatives to widening which might be less expensive.
2.5 Alternately, airport expansion may only have a limited impact, or could be viewed as simply bringing forward the need to undertake surface access improvements by a few years, implying that the full cost of the works should not be ascribed to airport expansion. The department has concluded that the M4 should be considered holistically as part of the normal roads investment process. It is not possible at this stage to say with confidence what the cost of any eventual solution to increased congestion on the M4 might be, or what proportion should fall to the airport.
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.”
Government backed Heathrow Airport third runway ‘using old pollution data’
By NICHOLAS CECIL
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today admitted the Government backed a third runway at Heathrow without fully understanding the implications of ground-breaking new evidence on vehicle emission standards.
Ministers insist the west London airport 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.
“Further work is needed to understand the implications of this evidence,” Mr Grayling told MPs in a letter ahead of his appearance in front of the Commons environmental audit committee next week. Link
“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, Environmental Audit committee 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.”
Ministers insist the Government’s 2015 Air Quality Plan and new measures around Heathrow will ensure London will not be breaking nitrogen dioxide levels in the mid 2020s when the new runway is due to open.
But the Government was defeated earlier this month for the second time in the courts over this blueprint.
The ruling in the Judicial Review, brought by environmental lawyers ClientEarth, called the plan “woefully inadequate”.
“We are carefully considering what this means for the airport capacity programme,” Mr Grayling added in his letter.
The Cabinet minister emphasised that final consent for another runway would only be given if the Government believed it would not breach the UK’s compliance with pollution limits.
A government spokeswoman said: “Improving air quality is a priority and we are determined to cut harmful emissions. Our plans have always followed the best available evidence — we have always been clear that we are ready to update them if necessary.”
Mr Grayling also backed the Airport Commission’s conclusion that a third runway could be built with fewer people suffering noise blight than currently, and also while meeting the UK’s carbon targets.
Dr Tania Mathias debate in Parliament on Heathrow – hoping in vain for government assurances on air pollution
November 24, 2016
Dr Tania Mathias, Conservative MP for Twickenham, secured a debate on Heathrow and its air pollution problem. She made persuasive and important points, and received only inadequate responses from John Hayes, the Minister of State, DfT. A few quotes are copied here: …”the WHO has said that for PM2.5 “no threshold has been identified below which no damage to health is observed.”… “within just over a week of the Government being found guilty in the courts of not having an adequate plan to address air quality, they decided to approve Heathrow expansion. The expansion will involve perhaps 50% more planes. … with nearly 250,000 more flights planned, there will be thousands more passengers and staff, and they will not be walking to and from Heathrow airport.” … “£799 million will be spent on car parks at an expanded Heathrow.”.. My question to the Minister is simple: if the Government support Heathrow expansion, how will they get air quality within legal targets? I have asked two Prime Ministers, two Secretaries of State for Transport and a Minister from DEFRA how they can expand Heathrow airport without increasing air pollution. Thus far, I have been assured that it will happen, but I have not been told how. I hope that today, at the 6th time of asking, I will be told.” [She was not].
High court gives ministers deadline of April for draft of tougher air pollution plan and final by 31st July 2017
November 22, 2016
On 2nd November, environmental lawyers ClientEarth inflicted a humiliating legal defeat on the UK government (the 2nd in 18 months) when the high court ruled that DEFRA plans to tackle illegal levels of air pollution in many parts of the UK were unlawful. The court gave the government 7 days to agree on the next steps, but it rejected the proposal from ClientEarth for an 8 month timetable for the improvements, saying it needed till September 2017. Now the high court judge, Mr Justice Garnham, has ruled that DEFRA must must publish a stronger air quality draft plan by 24th April 2017 and a final one by 31st July 2017. The judge also ordered the government to publish the data on which it will base its new plan. In his judgement on 2nd, the judge said it was “remarkable” that ministers knew they were using over-optimistic pollution modelling, based on flawed lab tests of diesel vehicles rather than actual emissions on the road, but proceeded anyway. He also ruled that ClientEarth can go back to court if it deems the government’s draft plan, due in April 2017, is once again not good enough to cut pollution rapidly. Alan Andrews, ClientEarth’s air quality lawyer, said: “We will be watching on behalf of everyone living in the UK and will return to court if the government is failing.” ClientEarth believes measure such as a diesel scrappage scheme and other measures that would cost money, that the Treasury has been unwilling to approve.
Environmental Audit Cttee finds Treasury failing to take long-term environmental costs into account
November 18, 2016
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has done an investigation into the role of the Treasury in relation to sustainable development and environmental protection. The EAC is calling for the Treasury to “green-check” all its decisions, after its major investigation found that the Treasury puts short term priorities over long term sustainability – potentially increasing costs to the economy in the future. [The Treasury has been a key promoter of a new south east runway, with Treasury staff helping the Airports Commission.] EAC Chair, Mary Creagh, said: “The Treasury is highly influential and uniquely placed to ensure the whole of Government works to promote sustainability. But we have seen considerable evidence that it fails to do this.The Treasury tends not to take full account of the long term environmental costs and benefits of decisions which would reduce costs for taxpayers and consumers in the long run. On the carbon capture and storage competition and zero carbon homes we saw the Treasury riding roughshod over departments, cancelling long-established environmental programmes at short notice with no consultation, costing businesses and the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds. With a week to go until the next Autumn Statement, we hope our inquiry will be a wake-up call to the Treasury.”
Councils and campaigners take first step towards legal challenge against government support for Heathrow runway
November 18, 2016
Solicitors Harrison Grant acting on behalf of Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead Councils, together with Greenpeace and a Hillingdon resident have (17th November) sent a letter, under the Judicial Review Pre-Action Protocol, to the Secretary of State for Transport. The letter gives the Government a period of 14 days in which to withdraw its decision, issued on the 25 October to support a 3rd runway at Heathrow. If it fails to do so, judicial review proceedings will be commenced in the High Court, without further notice to the Government, on the basis that the Government’s approach to air quality and noise is unlawful and also that it has failed to carry out a fair and lawful consultation exercise prior to issuing its decision. The 33 page pre-action letter sets out comprehensive grounds for legal challenge, drawing on a broad range of statute and legal precedent, as well as highlighting the many promises and statements made by senior politicians confirming that the third runway would not be built. The move comes shortly after the Government’s air quality plans were overturned in the High Court, putting ministers under greater pressure to reduce illegal levels of air pollution in places like Heathrow. The latest court ruling rejected the current government plans to tackle emissions as inadequate and based on over optimistic assumptions.