Public inquiry into the ending of the “Cranford Agreement” to start on 2nd June and last 3 weeks

The Cranford Agreement was made in the 1950s, to ensure planes cannot take off from Heathrow’s northern runway, to the east, except in exceptional circumstances. That protected Cranford when there are easterly winds. However, it has meant that on easterly operations all take offs are from the southern runway, and all landings on the northern – hitting Windsor hard. Ending the Cranford Agreement would give Windsor residents more respite from the noise. Though the Agreement was formally ended in 2010, Heathrow needed to make changes in access and exit taxiways off the northern runway and consent is needed from Hillingdon Council. They have refused permission (on noise and air quality grounds), but the issue is now going to a public inquiry that starts on 2nd June.  It is likely to last for 3 weeks. The Heathrow plans needing planning consent are also the creation of a new ‘hold area’ at the western end of the northern runway, and the construction of a 5 metre high acoustic noise barrier to the south of Longford Village.


 

 

Hillingdon, Hounslow and the GLA continue to object to the ending of the Cranford Agreement on noise and air quality grounds. This is despite the Government having already assessed and considered these effects in making its decision to allow easterly departures.

 

 

Cranford location

Location of Cranford, east of the Heathrow northern runway 

The Hillingdon Planning site now includes, on its Appeal documents page for the application, the “Neighbour Notification Letter” advising Heathrow neighbours of the Planning Inquiry.


 

Letter sent to local residents:

The Owner and/or the Occupier
S S PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
1 BATH ROAD
HEATHROW
HOUNSLOW
TW6 2AA

14 April 2015
Dear Sir/Madam

NORTHERN RUNWAY, HEATHROW AIRPORT, HOUNSLOW,

Enabling works to allow implementation of full runway alternation during
easterly operations at Heathrow Airport including the creation of a new ‘hold
area’ at the western end of the northern runway, the construction of new
access and exit taxiways, and the construction of a 5 metre high acoustic
noise barrier to the south of Longford Village.

TOWN & COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990
SITE:
DEVELOPMENT:
Appeal Ref : 7364 Our Ref : 41573/APP/2013/1288
PLANNING INSPECTORATE REFERENCE NO: APP/R5510/A/14/2225774

Appellant’s Name: Heathrow Airport Limited

I refer to my previous letter regarding the above appeal.

A Local Inquiry is to be held into the appeal at the Civic Centre, Uxbridge (Committee Room
6)on Tuesday 2nd June 2015 at 10:00 hrs for 12 day(s), by an inspector appointed by the
Department for Communites and Local Government (DCLG).

You may attend the Inquiry and, at the Inspector’s discretion, express views on the matter under appeal, either in person or by a representative on your behalf.

A copy of the appellant’s grounds of appeal and any other relevant documents are available for inspection by appointment at Planning, Environment and Community Services Reception, Level 3, Civic Centre, Uxbridge during normal hours.

Facilities are available for people with disabilities, e.g. parking spaces, access etc. Please ring the number below.

If you require further information regarding procedures, the Planning Inspectorate booklet ‘Guide to taking part in Planning Appeals’ is available free of charge from the Residents Services Reception or from www.planning-inspectorate.gov.uk
Yours faithfully
Stephen Volley
Appeals Officer

Residents Services
Tel 01895 250230
London Borough of Hillingdon
3 North, Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW
www.hillingdon.gov.uk

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Earlier:

 

Heathrow lodges appeal with Planning Inspectorate over protection of Cranford against take-offs

Heathrow has lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate over the London Borough of Hillingdon’s refusal, in March, to grant permission for taxiway infrastructure. If the government inspector approves the appeal, it would allow Heathrow to alternate the use of both its runways, regardless of wind direction. At present, due to the “Cranford Agreement”, made in the 1950s, planes cannot take off from the northern runway, to the east, except in exceptional circumstances. When there are easterly winds, planes therefore have to land from the west, on the northern runway, but take off from the southern runway. Ending the Cranford Agreement would give Windsor residents more respite, with up to 50% cut in the number of planes currently landing from the west of Windsor. The Cranford Agreement was formally ended in 2010, but to operate on easterly operations, Heathrow says the taxiways are required. But ending the Cranford Agreement will mean more noise, on easterly operations, for those in Old Windsor, Horton and Wraysbury, while residents in Windsor would get a better deal. People can submit comments – by 19th November. Details below.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/09/heathrow-lodges-appeal-with-planning-inspectorate-over-protection-of-cranford-against-take-offs/

…. with a lot more information about the Cranford Agreement issue

 

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New O’Hare flight paths wake hundreds of Chicagoans beyond free-insulation zone

Chicago O’Hare Airport has a real noise problem. Figures for March show hundreds of Chicago residents were kept awake by aircraft noise, even though they live outside an area predicted to shoulder the worst noise from new flight paths. Analysis from the complaints website shows these people live outside a “noise contour” that determines eligibility for free sound insulation. The noise complaints came from up to 13 miles away from the airport, which is over 8 miles beyond the limits of the noise contour that the FAA predicted would experience onerous jet noise once an $8 billion O’Hare Modernization Program is completed. Studying the locations from where complaints come, it can be seen that many are between two flight paths, which shows people are being affected by noise from both. (That would be the case over London if there was another runway – two parallel arrivals routes a mile or so apart). Changes to Chicago flight paths were made from October 2013 when flight were shifted to being mainly over suburbs north and south of O’Hare to mostly areas east and west of it. Some people are aware of many flights over them at night, with one resident counting 19 between 11.30pm and 6am on one night. People are finding the sleep disturbance very distressing.
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New O’Hare flight paths wake hundreds of Chicagoans beyond free-insulation zone

4.5.2015 (Chicago Sun Times)
Land featuring forest preserve, highways or commercial areas that is compatible with O’Hare Airport’s Fly Quiet program is depicted in purple on this map.

O’Hare International Airport jet traffic kept hundreds of Chicago residents awake in March, even though they live outside an area predicted to shoulder the worst noise from new flight paths, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis indicates.

More than 95% of Chicagoans who reported that O’Hare jets disturbed their sleep live outside a “noise contour” that determines eligibility for free sound insulation, an analysis of complaints to Chicagonoisecomplaint.com shows.

In fact, March sleep complaints stretch as far east as Sheridan Road in Chicago’s 48th Ward, along Lake Michigan.

That’s 13 miles from the center of O’Hare and more than 8 miles beyond the limits of the noise contour that Federal Aviation Administration experts predicted would experience onerous jet noise once an $8 billion O’Hare Modernization Program is completed.

Plotted on a map, the complaints fan out like a shotgun blast. Many line up with runways. But others are between two east-west runways, indicating that those residents are being hit with noise from more than one flight path, said Darrin Thomas, who created the citizen website that people can gripe to about jet noise.

Fred Cnota of Norwood Park is one of them. As many as five days a week, he says, shortly after 6 a.m., he can see flights headed toward two runways.

“It’s nonstop noise,” he said.

The sleep complaints reflect the dramatic October 2013 shift that switched flights from traveling mostly over suburbs north and south of O’Hare to mostly areas east and west of it.

“It’s insane, the amount of traffic,” said Paula Getman, who lives in the city’s 39th Ward, where the biggest cluster of March sleep complaints — 8,789 — occurred. “It’s slow torture.”

Getman reported her sleep was disturbed 265 times in March. One 24-hour period included five jets from 11:25 p.m. to 1 a.m., 13 more from 2 a.m. to 3:04 a.m., then a final single salute at 5:52 a.m.

Getman said she has lived in her North Park bungalow since 1997 but now it’s “a completely different place.”

Sleep-disturbance complaints indicate the Federal Aviation Administration’s noise contour does not accurately reflect the impact of O’Hare’s new flight paths, said Jac Charlier, a leader of the Fair Allocation in Runways citizen coalition, or FAIR.

“The noise contour, like almost everything else that has happened with the O’Hare Modernization Program, has been wrong. Dead wrong,” Charlier said.

 A deadly experience?

Complaints to the city’s jet noise hotline and website skyrocketed after the O’Hare runway switch. Suddenly, 70 percent of air traffic entered O’Hare from the east over Chicago and departed to the west.

Jet noise complaints to the city soared even higher last week, when the city released the first batch of figures reflecting complaints forwarded from the citizen website.

On Friday, noise complaints to chicagonoisecomplaint.com since Feb. 1 surpassed the 1 million mark. A Sun-Times analysis of just March O’Hare complaints to that site found that more than 61,000 were listed as disrupting sleep. They included 377 Chicagoans who registered 28,843 such reports.

About three-quarters of the March sleep complaints span the Fly Quiet hours of 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., when pilots are urged to fly over less-populated areas.

Of Chicago complainants who listed addresses, 97 percent lived outside noise contour areas predicted to be hit with jet noise loud enough to qualify for free sound insulation.

Experts say repeated sleep disruptions can lead to increased chances of cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, obesity and even death.

In general, “people who sleep five hours a night have an increased risk of death — substantially,” said Dr. Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard University.

Heading to the basement

Under the overhaul plan, two more runways, and the extension of a third, are due by 2020, although funding for much of that work is uncertain. The noise contour is not due to be revised until 2025, although the FAA is re-evaluating the decibel level used to draw such contours nationwide.

STARTUP1

Click for larger image.

The city has been insulating additional homes inside the contour before each runway opens. But with nearly all complaints occurring outside insulation-eligible areas, most residents must find their own ways to deal with overnight jet noise.

Some use deep breathing exercises; others run the dryer.

Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, recommends heavy curtains or noise-canceling machines or earplugs.

Michael Kraetsch holds an iPad with a decibel meter application he uses to measure noise from planes flying overhead on April 28, 2015. | James Foster/For Sun-Times Media

In the 40th Ward, Michael Kraetsch plans to sleep on an air mattress in his basement during the next bad onslaught. That’s usually over the holidays, when Kraetsch said overnight cargo flights seem relentless. He reported 334 sleep disruptions in March on the citizen website.

When he moved from Wisconsin to Chicago in 2014, Kraetsch said, “I never in my wildest dreams imagined that we would be having planes in the middle of the night. I didn’t look at the house at 1 o’clock in the morning [before buying it].”

Zee urged residents to record decibel levels in their homes.

“You need data,” Zee said.

Kraetsch measured the decibel level in his bedroom during at least three flights on a recent night between 11:15 p.m. and midnight. He said it was 65 to 75 decibels – well above the 55-decibel level officially considered onerous at night outside a home.

The Chicago Department of Aviation declined repeated requests for an interview about O’Hare jet noise and would not respond to emailed questions.

City officials previously have said the runway switch was needed to increase capacity and reduce delays caused by diagonal runways that intersect.

Saving the diagonals

The sleep complaints are another reason lawmakers should allow O’Hare to keep two diagonal runways open instead of decommissioning them before new runways are added, FAIR’s Charlier said. Legislation to do so has passed the Illinois Senate and is making its way through the Illinois House.

One diagonal runway in particular, 14R, leads to a long stretch of mostly non-residential land. Yet 14R was used for only 1 percent of arrivals during Fly Quiet hours in the fourth quarter of 2014, city data shows.

Charlier contends overnight O’Hare traffic is lopsided in favor of one arrival and one departure runway and should be spread out on different nights on different runways, including diagonal ones marked for closure.

“Don’t build lots of runways and then only use one for night arrivals,” Charlier said. “It’s a waste of taxpayer money.”

Thomas urged the city to publicly report and plot noise complaints on a map as he does in real time on his website.

“If I can do it with off-the-shelf technology, why can’t they?” Thomas asked. “I think they aren’t doing it because it’s embarrassing.”

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/564028/new-ohare-flight-paths-wake-hundreds-chicagoans-sound-insulation-help-sight

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See earlier:

Illinois State Senate passes bills designed to reduce O’Hare jet noise

In late 2013 the flight paths at Chicago O’Hare airport were changed, and since then thousands of residents have been exposed to far more aircraft noise. The authorities are trying to find ways to reduce their noise exposure. The Illinois Senate has now unanimously approved legislation to mitigate jet noise by increasing the cap on the number of runways to 10 from 8, and prohibiting the city of Chicago from closing and demolishing any of the airport’s 4 diagonal runways. The aim is to distribute the noise more evenly. The two bills are aimed at expanding O’Hare flight paths are going next to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration. If one of the diagonal runways is closed, its flights will be distributed to the other runways, causing more noise for some people. Keeping 10 runways operational at O’Hare would increase maintenance costs. And while all 10 runways would never be used simultaneously, the more complex airfield layout could create safety risks involving more planes taxiing across runways on their way to the gate or other runways. Noise complaints filed online and to a city-operated hot line totalled 39,500 in January, setting a new monthly record. In 2014, for the whole year, noise complaints totalled 268,211, also an all-time high.

Click here to view full story…

Chicago voters get chance to be heard in public ballot on O’Hare airport noise problem

Chicago O’Hare airport has a new 4th runway that opened in October 2013 as well another new 5th runway that is due to open in late 2015. Others are planned. Since the start of 2014 there has been a distinct change in the flight paths, and huge opposition to the change. The number of complaints to the airport have risen sharply, month after month. However (and how often this has been heard from UK airports too) the authorities claim the numbers are false, as some people complain multiple times. This masks the fact that some don’t complain at all, being unsure how to, and being unconvinced that the airport will take any notice whatsoever. There is now a ballot of residents in 7 affected suburbs of Chicago, but all such referendums in Illinois are only “advisory.”  The questions being asked are on whether the FAA should create and enforce mandatory “fly-quiet” hours around O’Hare. The restrictions would replace the existing voluntary guidelines that ask airlines and pilots to try to reduce noise impacts after 10 pm. Another asks if aircraft noise should be reduced after 7pm,  and people are also asked about more noise insulation being available.  Airport had about 66.9 million passengers in 2013.  Chicago O’Hare on Wikipedia.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/chicago-voters-get-chance-to-be-heard-in-public-ballot-on-ohare-airport-noise-problem/

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Residents in Chicago, fed up with O’Hare airport jet noise, take to the streets to fight it

O’Hare airport in Chicago has been upsetting residents to the northwest of the city, by changing flight paths, so some people are being over flown a great deal than before. This is the result of the O’Hare Modernization Project that took effect in October 2013. The changes mean that 85% of O’Hare arrivals and departures between 11 pm and 6am will fly over homes in certain suburbs. Those living under these flight paths face not only the noise, the annoyance, the potential impacts on their health and the loss of sleep, but also a decrease in their property prices.  The local community campaign, FAiR (Fair Allocation in Runways) has been touring affected neighbourhoods giving out door hanger signs encouraging people to get active and fight the flight paths, or else “kiss your property values goodbye.”  They plan to hand out door hangers to 50,000 homes. They also have “yard signs” (placards to stick in the front garden) for the campaign, selling these to raise campaign funds. Just as in London and near other UK airports, people are devastated by the new noise pollution. One commented that even with noise insulation, it was impossible to avoid the noise in the neighbourhood, even by going shopping, going swimming, going to the park. It cannot be avoided.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/07/residents-in-chicago-fed-up-with-ohare-airport-jet-noise-take-to-the-streets-to-fight-it/

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Chicago O’Hare airport new runway & flightpaths creating huge opposition by those now over-flown

Chicago O’Hare airport currently has many runways but not all can be used simultaneously. The airport has been building more, reducing the lengths of others, to get three parallel runways can be used together. There has been a lot of controversy about the plans over many years, with compulsory purchase of land, from residents who did not want to move.  There is now huge protest against the noise. A group representing city and suburban home-owners, the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition (FAiR), is asking the Chicago Aviation Commissioner to resign or for the Mayor to fire her.  FAiR say there is  “mounting frustration over the lack of response from the Mayor on possible remedies concerning “the ceaseless airplane noise” since air-traffic patterns were changed last autumn.  The Aviation Commissioner has refused to consider altering the use of runways at night to spread out jet noise instead of concentrating it over one or two air corridors. FAiR says she has made up her mind that there will be no change at O’Hare no matter how many citizens demand change, no matter what solutions are proposed and no matter how devastating the impact of her decisions on families, children and seniors, and even entire neighbourhoods. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/chicago-ohare-airport-new-runway-flightpaths-creating-huge-opposition-by-those-now-over-flown/

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GACC critical of Gatwick’s promises – unless part of legal agreements signed before any runway consent

Gatwick’s latest leaflet to those that live around Gatwick is full of promises but provides no guarantees and misses much of the details, as usual. GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has suggested to the Airports Commission that they need to make sure that all the attractive looking promises made by the airport are real, and not just part of their publicity campaign – to be forgotten when the airport is sold. The promises should not unduly sway a decision about a 2nd runway, unless the airport can be compelled to keep their word. The reality is that there is no method of enforcing the various undertakings being made by Gatwick, other than by legal agreements.  However, any new legal agreement would need to be negotiated before approval is given in principle for the runway, otherwise all bargaining power would be lost. GACC submitted this fact to Crawley Borough Council this week, which seemed to be unaware of it. Signing binding legal agreements would prove the airport’s sincerity about its offers, rather than just using them for PR purposes. Gatwick is promising some compensation to a small number of people; it is promising £5,000 per house built for a Gatwick employee; £10 million towards motorway widening; and that landing charges would not rise above £15 till 2030. 
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Gone are the guarantees  – back come Gatwick’s “ice cream” promises

4.5.2015  (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

“Gatwick’s BIG Enough”

Gatwick’s latest leaflet to those that live around Gatwick Airport is full of promises but provides no guarantees and misses much of the details, as usual.                                               [The Gatwick “Our pledges to the local community” ].

GACC has suggested to the Airports Commission that they need to make sure that all the sugar-sweet promises made by Gatwick Airport are for real, and not just part of their publicity campaign – to be forgotten when the airport is sold.

GACC chairman Brendon Sewill says: “We are confident that, in the end, no new runway will be built at Gatwick, but we don’t want the Commission, local authorities or residents to be bamboozled by ice-cream promises from the airport which melt in the sun.”

There is no method of enforcing the various undertakings being made by Gatwick Airport Ltd. GACC has good knowledge of this issue having been closely involved in drawing up and overseeing a number of legal agreements with BAA when they owned Gatwick.

 

Gatwick’s Promises to its neighbours

Direct Compensation – for the majority there would be no compensation.

More Jobs – The Commission state that there would have to be a mass inward migration of workers due to the lack of unemployment in areas surrounding Gatwick, so the job market would change as we know it as families move here in search of work.

Housing Support and More Apprenticeships – There is no legal agreement to enforce the promise of £5,000 per house built for a Gatwick employee.  When challenged, Gatwick management suggest this money will be held until they had received proof that a house had been built due to Gatwick expansion. £10m that Gatwick has offered for work to improve roads would only cover 1 mile of motorway widening.  The other costs such as construction of ring roads and underpasses would have to be borne by the taxpayer, and the costs could be many millions of pounds.

Apprenticeships are welcomed but Croydon has so been the major beneficiary of these to date.

No Financial Cost to You – This is not true.  Residents will not have to pay for the runway if they do not fly.  But the cost of the infrastructure to support Gatwick, which may be even larger than that required at Heathrow, has not been evaluated nor has the cost of dealing with the huge influx of workers to West Sussex looking for homes and amenities.

Local Engagement – The poll carried out by Gatwick was created by Gatwick with their own wording. It provided no detailed information to what a new runway would mean to Kent, Sussex and Surrey residents. Results of the polls are often dictated by the questions set.

Better Rail Connections – Gatwick has one railway line that is already congested. You can add trains, carriages but you can’t expand the line unless you remove all the houses from Gatwick to London and the coast. So who will pay in overcrowding, delays and fare rises?

Lower Fares – Gatwick specialises in low cost airlines, unlike Heathrow. Building a new runway at Gatwick could mean the airport is no longer competitive for low-cost airlines, due to overheads. That could force airlines to seek cheaper landing fees at other airports such as Stansted and Luton, which are not full.

 

Considerable public concern has been expressed in recent months about promises made by foreign multi-national companies in the course of take-over bids that are subsequently negated when the takeover is approved. An example was the take-over of Cadbury by the US based Kraft in 2010.

In a normal planning application, undertakings given by the applicant are incorporated either in legally binding planning conditions, or in a legally binding section 106 agreement.

 

The answer is a legal agreement. But any new legal agreement would need to be negotiated before approval is given in principle, otherwise all bargaining power would be lost, GACC submitted this fact to Crawley Borough Council this week, who seemed ignorant of this fact.

This procedure would impose a good reality check on GAL’s aspirations. If they were not prepared to sign a legal agreement (in the vernacular, if they were not prepared to put their money where their mouth is), it would prove that their aspirations are not to be taken seriously.

www.gacc.org.uk

Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) is making a number of promises but does not mention the environmental damage to Kent, Sussex, Surrey. In fact it will destroy the tranquillity for thousands of people, including in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). Residents in areas affected will pay for a Gatwick runway, through a reduction in their quality of life.

Gatwick’s runway plan is not supported by EasyJet, BA, or Virgin.  It is also not supported by the Institute of Directors, and only 25% of London First support expansion at Gatwick.

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See earlier:

 

GACC says Gatwick’s rash promise to cap landing charge at £15 puts its runway plan in doubt

Gatwick airport have made a very rash promise not to raise their landing charges above £15 (plus inflation) for 30 years, if they get a 30 contract from the government (details not specified). Brendon Sewill, of GACC said: “The whole runway project is in doubt…. Gatwick’s rash promise not to raise airport charges above £15 per head …. seriously puts in question whether building a new runway at Gatwick is a viable business proposal – either for the present owners or for the new owners if Gatwick is sold.” The Airports Commission calculate that Gatwick charges would need to rise to ‘between £15 and £18, with peak charges of up to £23. GACC points out that Gatwick’s promises are meaningless unless they are put into a legal agreement binding on the present airport owners – and future owners. If so, the £15 would become a legal maximum – rather than the current £9. Even at £15, some airlines, and passengers might well decide instead to use much cheaper airports such as Stansted or Luton. GACC has pointed out to the Airports Commission the risk that Gatwick may have fewer passengers than forecast, in which case the cap of £15 may not be sufficient to cover the costs of a new runway and new terminal. Brendon Sewill asks: “What would happen if the money runs out when the new runway is only half built?”

Click here to view full story…

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Gatwick hoping its “pledge” of £46.5 million if it gets 2nd runway will go towards a new Crawley hospital

The local Crawley press reports that Gatwick airport has said they will provide money to contribute towards the cost of a new hospital serving Crawley if they are allowed to build a 2nd runway. This is not a new offer – it was in their list of “pledges” put out in July 2014. However, last week Crawley Borough Council announced that it will tell the Airports Commission a new hospital for Crawley and Horsham must be built if Gatwick is expanded. Members of the council’s overview and scrutiny commission debated a report by council officers that the Commission had “significantly underestimated” what healthcare needs would be created by expansion. Gatwick has said it would provide a £46.5 million fund for community infrastructure projects if there is a new runway. (There is doubt whether a future owner of Gatwick would be legally held to any pledges made now by GIP). Gatwick says it would provide just £5,000 per new house needed, and it estimates that number to be 9,300. ie. £46.5 million. But that would have to cover all areas, down to the coast, not only Crawley. Other figures of the cost of building a hospital put the cost at around £330 – £430 million. Local hospital facilities in the area are already under pressure.

Click here to view full story…


 

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Heathrow “Community Noise Forum” to get independent study into continuing changes (or not) to flight paths

In December 2014 Heathrow decided to set up a “Community Noise Forum” to set up dialogue with deeply upset and angry community groups – and try to build up some trust. There is already a separate “Noise Forum.” The Community Noise Forum consists of representatives of the Airport, the CAA, NATS, BA, local authorities, community organisations and campaign groups. One key task of the new Forum is to try to resolve the dispute between Heathrow and the communities affected by the flight path trials. These took place last year, and while the airport is adamant that the situation has returned to the pre-trial pattern, residents in areas such as Ascot, Teddington, Englefield Green, Lightwater, Binfield and Bracknell, are adamant that it has not. The Forum is to commission an independent study (it has to be independent) to look at the flight paths before the trials, during and afterwards.  The aim is to see whether flight paths post-trial really have gone back to their pre-trial routes, or not. The independent study will also look into whether any other changes had taken place. Heathrow can give technical assistance and will pay for the study. A steering group will draw up the brief for the study, and report back to the Forum.
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Heathrow Community Noise Forum set up

Heathrow Airport has set up the Community Noise Forum.  It consists of representatives of the Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), National Air Traffic Control (NATS), British Airways, local authorities, community organizations and campaign groups.  It was set up following the complaints received during the recent trials carried out by Heathrow and NATS.  In particular, it was hoped it could resolve the dispute between Heathrow and the communities where the trials took place that flight paths have or have not returned to their pre-trial pattern.  It is the reason why these communities and local authorities – largely to the west of the airport – are at present the main participants.  Local authorities and community organizations to the east of the airport are expected to be invited to join at a later stage, though HACAN, as the overall body, is on the Forum and does represent residents in these areas.

Its first task will be to commission an independent study to look at the flight paths before the recent trials took, during the trials and post-trials.  The aim is to see whether flight paths post-trial have gone back to their pre-trial routes.  Many in the communities impacted – places like Ascot, Teddington, Englefield Green, Lightwater, Binfield and Bracknell, claim they have not.  Heathrow Airport claims they have.

The independent study will also look into whether any other changes had taken place. The steering group which will draw up the brief for the study and which will oversee it will be drawn entirely from community representatives of the areas where the trials took place. Heathrow has offered technical assistance and will pay for the study. The steering group will meet soon. It will report back to the Community Noise Forum.

 NATS explained to the Forum the change they made to some flight paths in June 2014 without telling anybody. It transpires that what happened was that, when easterly winds were blowing, around 20 aircraft a day departing on the Compton Route were moved north and concentrated over a 7 mile band covering places like Ascot, Bracknell and Binfield. Previously they had been spread across a 13 mile band which included areas to the south of these places.  It is not regarded as a major change and won’t be reversed.

There is a separate Noise Forum, on which HACAN also has a place along with a local authority representative and representatives from the industry, which doesn’t look at area-specific work but concentrates on more generic issues such as respite.

http://hacan.org.uk/community-noise-forum-set-up/

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Information from Heathrow’s website:

Community Noise Forum

The Heathrow Community Noise Forum was set up in 2015 and is made up of representatives from 12 local authorities around Heathrow, NATS, BA, DfT, CAA and Heathrow.

Heathrow set up the forum in response to local concerns regarding future changes to airspace as a result of the Government’s Future Airspace Strategy.

Its aims are to:

  • keep community representatives and local authority stakeholders informed and seek their input in preparing for and consulting on future airspace modernisation as part of the Government’s Future Airspace Strategy;
  • improve understanding of members on Heathrow’s operations and airspace issues;
  • seek input from members to inform the communications approach to trials and public consultations regarding potential airspace changes;
  • build trust in the data through members involvement in the independent verification of the data and analysis of data.

On this page you can find the information relating to the Heathrow Community Noise Forum including minutes and presentations from meetings.

Meeting 1 on 2 March 2015

Meeting notes  2 March 2015 (262KB PDF)

Presentations

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http://www.heathrowairport.com/noise/making-heathrow-quieter/our-noise-strategy/working-with-local-communties/community-noise-forum

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See earlier:

Heathrow says it did not know flight path changes were continuing – blames NATS for not telling them

Heathrow and NATS had flight path trials during summer 2014, which ended on 12th November, due to intense opposition. See details. But complaints have continued and people have been adamant that the trials have not ended. Heathrow has given assurance after assurance that the trials have ceased, implying people are imagining the noise – or have become over-sensitive to it.  Now Heathrow and NATS have had to apologise. Heathrow says it did not know the trial affecting the “Compton” route to the south west and west of Heathrow had not ended, as NATS had not informed them.  As NATS and Heathrow work closely together, that is very hard to believe. Even if it could be credible, it reveals a markedly dismissive attitude to the thousands of upset residents, who have complained week after week. The airport had made no apparent effort to establish the facts, for many months. The areas particularly affected by this change are Virginia Water, Ascot, Binfield and some parts of Bracknell, which are experiencing a concentrated flight path. John Holland-Kaye said: “Because of the assurances we received [from NATS], we in turn told residents in good faith that no changes had occurred. That is unacceptable and I unequivocally apologise to local residents.”  However, NATS say they changed the route to improve the safe and efficient management of traffic departing from Heathrow and they are not planning to revert to previous procedures.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/03/heathrow-says-it-did-not-know-flight-path-changes-were-continuing-blames-nats-for-not-telling-them/
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See earlier:

Heathrow Airport to set up a new Community Noise Forum, to help residents understand flight path issues

Heathrow Airport knows it has a real problem with aircraft noise, that could block its runway aspirations. The recent flight path changes and trials revealed a degree of anger and opposition to increased plane noise that stunned Heathrow staff. Thousands of people newly overflown, or under new concentrated flight paths, expressed their intense opposition to the noise nuisance inflicted on them. Heathrow, at its Consultative Committee meeting on 10th December, was keen to set up a new “Community Noise Forum” through which to try to defuse some of this local anger and dissatisfaction – and to try to win back some trust.  For many, the repeated half truths and worse from the airport mean trust has broken down irretrievably.  The minutes say:  “Even the CAA had been regarded by some as not entirely independent in the process.”  There is already a “Noise Forum” (which replaced the Heathrow Noise & Track Keeping Working Group (NTKWG)), but that only involves HACAN and not other community groups. The new plan is to get something started as soon as possible, to give the appropriate community members and local authorities access to the raw data on flight path dispersal and concentration. A suitable chairperson needs to be located.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/heathrow-airport-to-set-up-a-new-community-noise-forum-to-help-residents-understand-flight-path-issues/

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Why the ruling by the Supreme Court on air pollution could stop plans for a new SE runway

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Government must produce a new action plan by the end of this year for bringing air pollution within legal limits. A decision to allow another Heathrow runway could be legally challenged unless the Government’s new plans are sufficiently ambitious to reduce emissions of a 2 runway airport below the legal limit – and also leave enough headroom to accommodate the negative impact of a 3rd runway. There is only pure speculation on how it could be achieved. The court ruling also suggests that the cost-benefit analysis for adding a runway will need to be revised, as the Government has previously claimed that complying with air quality law would be too expensive. And this does not only affect Heathrow, but Gatwick too. Gatwick is keen to claim it does not have a poor air quality problem. But EU regulations require not only that poor air quality must be improved but also that good air quality should be protected.  A 2nd Gatwick runway would mean local air pollution hotspots, with a risk of breaching the legal limits. The Airports Commission has a duty to the public not to recommend a project that would significantly damage people’s health. It would also be a poor use of taxpayer’s money to make recommendations that invite a legal challenge.
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Why This Week’s Court Ruling on Air Pollution Could Stop Airport Expansion

1.5.2015  (Huffington Post)

By James Lees (AEF – Aviation Environment Federation)
Sat at the back of the Supreme Court this week, while cheers erupted with the announcement that the panel of judges had unanimously ruled in favour of Client Earth’s air pollution case, it is possible to imagine a member of the audience hurriedly typing out a message to his or her colleagues.

It reads: “we may have a problem”.

That person could be a member of the Airports Commission staff and he or she would know that the ruling could mean the end of Heathrow’s third runway scheme and possibly even Gatwick’s bid for a second runway.

The Airports Commission, tasked with making recommendations on the future of UK airport capacity could already have written its final report, recommendations finalised, and be waiting for the post-election humdrum to die down before the report would be launched into the public sphere. The Supreme Court ruling changes that.

There is now a serious challenge to any recommendation to build a new runway, particularly (but not only) at Heathrow. Around the airport, the area is in breach of legal limits for NO2 pollution today and has been for many years. Modelling released by the Government’s environment department revealed that the area around Heathrow is forecast to continue breaching legal limits up to 2030, that’s with just two runways.

The Airports Commission has concluded that expanding either Heathrow or Gatwick would have a negative impact on air pollution through increases in air traffic and cars and taxis needed to carry passengers to and from the airport. This should mean thatunder law, planning permission for Heathrow (and possibly even Gatwick) should be refused as is the case for all developments that will cause air quality limits to be breached, or make air quality worse in an area where pollution already exceeds the limits.

But until now, there has been little reason for the Commission to think that this represented a meaningful barrier to airport expansion. The UK has been in breach of air pollution laws for some time and the Government claimed that it would take time to put in place effective measures to tackle air pollution. Being compliant with legal limits by 2030 was the latest estimate.

The Government’s stance was firmly rejected this week by the Supreme Court when it ordered the Government to produce a new action plan by the end of this year for bringing air pollution within legal limits. Any decision to expand Heathrow could be legally challenged unless the Government’s new plans are sufficiently ambitious to reduce emissions below the legal limit and leave enough headroom to accommodate the negative impact of an additional runway. That is a tough ask and it is pure speculation about how it could be achieved.

The court ruling also suggests that the cost-benefit analysis for expansion will need to be revised since the Government has previously claimed that complying with air quality law would be too expensive. The cost of having to take additional mitigation measures to accommodate increased emissions from a new runway under legal limits should be added to the cost-benefit analysis of a new runway.

Does the court’s decision open the door to a Gatwick runway? Not necessarily. EU regulations require not only that poor air quality must be improved but also that good air quality should be protected. It has been estimated that if all of the local jobs predicted by the Airports Commission materialise following Gatwick expansion, there would be an additional 100,000 vehicles using roads around the airport each day. That could create an air pollution hotspot around Gatwick. The lower background air pollution means that there is a lower risk of breaching the legal limits but a risk still remains.

The Airports Commission, as an independent but taxpayer funded organisation, has a duty to the public not to recommend a project that would significantly damage people’s health. It would also be a poor use of taxpayer’s money to make recommendations that invite a legal challenge. That is why it is possible to imagine a concerned Airports Commission member of staff hurriedly typing away on his or her phone at the back of the courtroom this week.

James Lees
Research and Communications Officer

Aviation Environment Federation
2nd Floor, 40 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UD
t: +44 (0) 20 3102 1509

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/james-lees/air-pollution_b_7188314.html

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See also:

Landmark air pollution ruling by Supreme Court could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow due to high NO2 level

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.” This could have implications for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, as areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits. That is due both to air pollution from the planes in addition to the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. In their verdict, 5 judges ordered the Secretary of State at DEFRA to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”. The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth. HACAN commented: “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a 3rd runway is concerned.”

Click here to view full story…


Part of letter by Jeff Gazzard:

Gazzard letter 1.5.2015


Comment from an AirportWatch member in the Heathrow area:

The Davies Commission conclusions can’t be accepted without proper scrutiny of the detailed local air quality dispersion modelling – which probably means a proper consultation.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that the last consultation in 2007/8 had government documents (?reverse-engineered) to explain that there would be no air quality problems with predicted graphs, based on new Euro vehicle emission standards, showing pollution levels to plummet as the years pass.

The Environment Agency argued that the argument was very optimistic and out of line with the trends in actual measured values.

Nevertheless the Government decided to proceed with the expansion proposal.

In practice, the predicted values at the monitoring locations for 2010 were not achieved and the air quality modelling for the Cranford Agreement application shows rather more areas modelled to be above EU limits than was the case in 2007.


See also
30.4.2015
UK Human Rights Blog
BY DAVID HART QC

Supreme Court: no excuses, UK must comply with EU air pollution law

http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2015/04/30/supreme-court-no-excuses-uk-must-comply-with-eu-air-pollution-law/

R (ClientEarth) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food &  Rural Affairs, Supreme Court, 29 April 2015, judgment here

Bit of a history to this one, with 5 hearings so far. The short version is that in May 2013, the UK Supreme Court (here), faced with the UK’s non-compliance with EU Directive 2008/50 (nitrogen dioxide etc in air), decide  to refer various issues to the CJEU in Luxembourg.  In 2014, the CJEU said its piece, (C404-13 and my post here), and its views are now considered by the Supreme Court, hence this second SC judgment.

The UK has been in breach of Article 13 of the Air Quality Directive since 1 January 2010, by not complying with pollution limits in specified areas. ClientEarth, an environmental NGO, sought to enforce the Directive in the national courts.  Defra admitted breach of Article 13 and the lower courts said that, given that admission, it was for the EU Commission, if it wished, to take infraction proceedings.  The Supreme Court’s 2013 judgement disagreed; it granted a declaration that the UK was in breach of Article 13, and posed various questions about the meaning and enforcement of the Directive to the CJEU.

The first two questions concerned two provisions in the Directive, Article 22 (concerning the postponement of deadlines) and Article 23 which provided for the provision of air quality plans. Unfortunately, the CJEU merged the questions, and gave one answer, thus leading to, as Lord Carnwath explained, an important ambiguity in both question and answer, not elucidated in

its characteristically sparse reasoning

ClientEarth and Defra battled it out over the ambiguity, but the current Supreme Court thought that the answer was still not clear. It proceeded not to answer the question, saying that it had become academic because the final deadline (1 January 2015) imposed by Article 22 had in any event expired by the time the matter came before the Supreme Court.  More on this gripping issue in my last post, though as will be apparent I had there somewhat overstated the clarity of the CJEU’s response. The furthest that Lord Carnwath was inclined to go (though not reaching a concluded view) was that he saw considerable force in the Commission’s reasoning that Article 22 was an optional derogation, but in the event that the state did not apply for such a derogation, it was under an

essential obligation to act urgently under article 23(1), in order to remedy a real and continuing danger to public health as soon as possible

The CJEU had dispensed with an Advocate-General’s opinion in this case, and in its absence, Lord Carnwath found a good deal of assistance in the Commission’s detailed observations – a helpful hint to those engaged in construing the more Delphic of the CJEU’s pronouncements.

The point of wider interest arose under the third and fourth questions, namely the obligations under Article 13, and the Court’s duty to enforce breaches of EU environmental law. On the third question, the Supreme Court (in line with the CJEU) emphasised that Article 13 (not to exceed pollution limits) was the primary obligation, to which Articles 22 (derogation) and 23 (plans) were supplementary. About the fourth question, the CJEU had been unequivocal that this was not just a matter for the Commission, but also a matter for domestic courts. Despite that, Defra argued that the existing air quality plans should not be quashed, and in any event Defra were going to replace the existing plans with new ones. The Supreme Court thought that this indication of intent was not enough:

Further, without doubting the good faith of the Secretary of State’s intentions, we would in my view be failing in out duty if we simply accepted her assurances without any legal underpinning.

No undertakings were forthcoming from Defra, because of the restrictions imposed by “purdah”, the constitutional convention that pending an election campaign one government does not do anything to commit its successor. Interestingly, the court also thought it could take notice of the fact that

the formation of a new Government may take a little time.

Upshot: the Supreme Court made a mandatory order requiring new air quality plans complying with the precise terms required by Article 23 within a defined timetable. Article 23 requires such plans to set out measures so that the period for which the UK was in breach of its obligations should be kept “as short as possible”. EU case law (including C-68/11 Commission v. Italyhas previously shown that the scope for arguing that it was impossible to meet its obligations was very limited, and Lord Carnwath foresaw this argument surfacing in the UK’s plans. All the more reason, he thought why the plans should be produced under order of a court, with liberty to determine such issues as and when they arose (without entirely fresh proceedings).

So the order to be made is far from a simple declaration of breach by the UK. Our courts will now have to roll up their sleeves and keep Defra up to the mark.

The judgment gives some of the background to this issue. The UK is one of 17 member states in breach, though the only one against whom the Commission has launched infringement proceedings. Why? We do not know, because the Commission’s correspondence is confidential. Lord Carnwath thinks that the Supreme Court’s previous declaration may have been a trigger (as I suppose may also have been the rather provocative assertion by Defra in the domestic courts that the only enforcer should be the Commission). According to a Defra witness, the main reason is that diesel vehicles emit more NOx than the regulatory test cycle reveals, and Defra cannot do anything about that without an EU-wide measure on diesel engines.  Well, up to a point; the sorts of measures which the Directive envisages as being contained in a member state’s plan under Article 23 include traffic planning, congestion pricing, differentiated parking fees or other incentives establishing low emission zones.

Conclusion

In my post on the CJEU judgment, I mused

….it is now all to play for.  Will the Supreme Court order something with more “teeth” than the existing declaration of breach? If so, what?

Well, it has certainly done that in making a mandatory order, including a structure under which the UK’s attempts to remedy its breaches can be scrutinised by the Courts.


http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2015/04/30/supreme-court-no-excuses-uk-must-comply-with-eu-air-pollution-law/

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See also:

 

Landmark air pollution ruling by Supreme Court could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow due to high NO2 level

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”  This could have implications for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, as areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits.  That is due both to air pollution from the planes in addition to the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. In their verdict, 5 judges ordered the Secretary of State at DEFRA to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”. The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth.  HACAN commented: “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a 3rd runway is concerned.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/landmark-air-pollution-ruling-by-supreme-court-could-impact-3rd-runway-at-heathrow-due-to-high-no2-level/

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Edinburgh Airport unveils 5 month trial of flight path to boost the airport’s capacity

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a 5-month trial of a new flight path for aircraft taking off to the west, in a bid to increase capacity. The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June,  will introduce a new SID route, the purpose of which is to allow more flights to use the runway, and allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals. This is to “allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.”  Most of the time the flights take off to the west and there are currently 3 SID€™ routes – known as Grice (which goes north), Gosam (which goes south west) and Talla (south). The new route – Tutur – will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, passing over West Lothian and to the east of Linlithgow. The settlements worse affected, with planes at 1900 – 2000 feet, would be Uphall and Dechmont. Map  Aircraft will climb as they turn, to fly over the coast and down the Firth of Forth passing North Queensferry, and then fly back over land at approximately 13,000ft near Musselburgh.  The airport says the aircraft using the trial route are likely to be their least noisy (B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s). The airport says the trial would monitor the impact on local communities, and noise monitors would be placed along the flight path to collect data on the flights.

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Edinburgh Airport’s information on the flight path trial

http://sid.edinburghairport.com/

Over the coming months, supported by air traffic control providers NATS and in line with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) guidance, we’ll be leading a trial to introduce a new Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route for certain aircraft taking off on a westerly departure route from our airport.

This will enable aircraft to depart in one minute intervals – allowing us to encourage and maintain safe and sustainable growth whilst ensuring punctuality and operations are unaffected.

At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s. What we’re aiming to do is to begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport, bringing it into the 21st century.

As we continue to see more passengers travel through our airports than ever before, we’ll need to increase airspace capacity above Central Scotland to cater for this growth.

This is a very exciting and challenging project but to keep you fully up-to-date with its progress, we’ve created this microsite. Here you’ll be able to find maps, images and more information which should answer your questions and allow you to learn more about what we’re doing.

I would encourage you all to have a look and give us your feedback.

As Scotland’s busiest airport we’re committed to the future of Scottish aviation and we’ll work with you to ensure you have all the information you need on the trial and that we can capture your views throughout the trial.

I look forward to working with you throughout this exciting project and sharing regular updates on its progress with you.

Gordon Dewar

Gordon Dewar
Chief Executive

The new route

http://sid.edinburghairport.com/follow-the-route

From the end of June, our most modern and quietest aircraft will have the option to take off on a new westerly departure route. This is called a Standard Instrument Departure route or SID for short. The aircraft likely to be using this route are B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s.

The new SID route we will be trialling, will see aircraft take off from Edinburgh Airport in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, climbing above water before flying back over land at approximately 13,000ft.

We’ve taken great care to design this new departure route with care and consideration for our neighbours in mind. Aircraft using the route will pass over very few settlements and will be routed over the Firth of Forth for the bulk of their flight path around Edinburgh.

We’ll be actively engaging with all of our stakeholders and neighbours to help you understand why we’re doing this and help us to find out what kind of impact the trial will have.

We’ll be placing noise monitors along the flight path so we can collect data on all the flights using the new route and analyse any noise that aircraft potentially cause.

Investment in a new SID route will not only create new capacity in the air, it will also help us increase Scotland’s connectivity and ability to attract more airlines and fly to more new destinations.

Current route

Aircraft can currently choose three different westerly departure routes when taking off from Edinburgh Airport. These are called, GRICE, TALLA and GOSAM. The new route we will trial this summer will be called TUTUR. Our existing routes and the new trial route are all shown on the map below. The new route is shown by the red line.

 

The map below from Edinburgh Airport shows the three existing routes for westerly take-offs, and the proposed new route to be trialled, “TUTUR” shown in red.

Edinburgh airport current 3 routes and new trialled one TUTUR

http://sid.edinburghairport.com/

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Edinburgh Airport unveils flight path trial

28.4.2015 (BBC)

See short film clip.

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a five-month trial of a new flight path for departing aircraft in a bid to increase capacity.

The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June, will introduce a new Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route.

Airport bosses said the new route would allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals.

They said it would allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.

Edinburgh is Scotland’s busiest airport, with more than 40 airlines serving more than 100 destinations.

Last year, more than 10 million passengers passed through, making it the busiest year ever for a Scottish airport.

Most of the time the flights take off west towards Newbridge into the prevailing wind.

The airport currently uses three SID€™ routes – known as Grice (which goes north), Gosam (which goes south west) and Talla (south).

The new route – Tutur – will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, passing over West Lothian and to the east of Linlithgow.

Aircraft will climb as they fly above the river before flying back over land at approximately 13,000ft near Musselburgh racecourse in East Lothian.

The new Standard Instrument Departure will be on trial until the end of November

The new Standard Instrument Departure will be on trial until the end of November

David Wilson, chief operating officer of Edinburgh Airport, said: “At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s.

“What we’re aiming to do is begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport and bring it into the 21st Century.”

He said the trial would give more modern aircraft the opportunity to take off on a new westerly departure route.

Mr Wilson said: “We’ve taken great care to design this new departure route with the utmost consideration for our neighbours.

“The route passes over very few populated areas and flies over the river for the bulk of its flight path.”

He said the trial would monitor the impact on local communities and noise monitors would be placed along the flight path to collect data on the flights.

Councillor Gavin Corbett, of the Scottish Greens, said he would like to see a more fundamental review of travel capacity.

He said: “For example, almost half of Edinburgh Airport’s traffic is domestic traffic. That’s the kind of traffic which should be on the railways and perhaps that’s the way forward.”  [He also commented that much of the traffic using Edinburgh airport is holiday flights, taking Scottish people to spend their holiday money in other countries, thus not doing anything to help the Scottish economy].  See film clip.

Glasgow Airport is also reviewing its airspace.

Along with Edinburgh and Prestwick airport, it is part of the Scottish Airspace Development Design Group, formed last year to review capacity and future growth of air travel in central Scotland.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: “Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network designed in the 1970s and there will be a requirement for this to be upgraded.

“We are currently working to understand what this means for Glasgow Airport, however, we will consult fully with relevant stakeholder groups, community representatives and other interested parties prior to any trials.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-32502490

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Edinburgh Airport flight paths spark noise fears

28.4.2015 (Edinburgh Evening News)

Edinburgh Airport is to trial a new flight path that could see a plane taking off every minute, raising fears of increased aircraft noise and pollution.

The route, which will be tested for six months from June 25, will see southbound planes take off over Broxburn and Uphall, before turning east over the Forth, then south over East Lothian.

And it will cut the minimum interval between take-offs from two minutes to one minute, doubling the potential number of flights by large planes from the hub and increasing the total number of flights in and out of the Capital by 20 per cent to around 120,000 every year.

Not every flight will use the new route, which will increase the total number of take-offs and landings possible per hour from 42 to 50 by 2017, if the trial is rolled out permanently.

But as a result of the change residents in West Lothian are being told to expect increased aircraft noise, with some flights being routed directly over houses. Noise levels will be between 80-90 decibels, the same as standing five metres away from a busy road.

Uphall community councillor Fraser Graham, who lives under the flight path, said: “This could cause people some problems. I will be raising this at our next meeting.”

However, the airport said only quieter modern aircraft will use the new corridor, which will see planes climb rapidly on take-off. The route has been designed for larger aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 and 787 Dreamliner, and Airbus A319, A320, A321, and A330.

There were also concerns that increased flight capacity would add to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

David Wilson, chief operating officer of Edinburgh Airport, said: “At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s. What we’re aiming to do is begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport and bring it into the 21st century.”

Flights set to use the new corridor include busy international routes to Amsterdam, Brussels, Poland and Italy, as well as new medium-haul routes to the Middle East.

Residents can check the route themselves and offer feedback on the level of disturbance via a dedicated website set up by Edinburgh Airport.

Mr Wilson continued: “We’ve taken great care to design this new route with the utmost consideration for our neighbours. The route passes over very few populated areas and flies over the river for the bulk of its flight path.

“We’ve contacted community councils, groups and politicians and will continue to do this to ensure people understand why we’re doing this and to find out how the new route is impacting on them. We’ll be placing noise monitors along the flight path so we can collect data.”

Sandy Legget, general manager of air traffic controller NATS at Edinburgh, said the new route would help the airport expand.

She said: “NATS has supported the airport in preparing for this trial, ensuring the design delivers benefits for the airport and airlines and is mindful of the airport’s commitment to local communities.

“A new departure route would enable sustainable and safe growth at Edinburgh Airport.”

Colin Keir, MSP for Edinburgh Western and convener of the Cross Party Group on Aviation, said: “I welcome this trial and hope it proves successful.”

More details on the proposed route are trial can be found at   http://sid.edinburghairport.com/

 

 

Read more »

Landmark air pollution ruling by Supreme Court could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow due to high NO2 level

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”  This could have implications for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, as areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits.  That is due both to air pollution from the planes in addition to the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. In their verdict, 5 judges ordered the Secretary of State at DEFRA to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”. The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth.  HACAN commented: “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a 3rd runway is concerned.”
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Landmark air pollution ruling could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow

29.4.2015 (HACAN)

A landmark ruling by the Supreme Court handed down this morning could have implications for a third runway at Heathrow.

In a unanimous verdict, five judges ordered the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission no later than 31 December 2015.

The plans require the Government crack down on the UK’s high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution. Lord Carnwath said the court was “in no doubt about the seriousness” of the UK’s breach of EU law in failing to meet legal pollution limits, which leaves it open to the risk of European Commission fines totalling £300 million.

The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”.

The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth which had sued the Government over its lack of action.

The judgement could also have implications for a third runway at Heathrow.

Areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits.  It is down to a combination of pollution from the planes and the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. Due to the proximity of these huge roads, it is the only airport in the UK where the EU limits are breached or are likely to be so in the future.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, which campaigns against a third runway, said, “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a third runway is concerned.  It is difficult to see how any Government will get away with backing a new runway at Heathrow when the plans it is now required to draw up urgently to present to the EU say it must come up with a coherent plan to cut air pollution.”

http://hacan.org.uk/landmark-air-pollution-ruling-could-scupper-3rd-runway/

www.hacan.org.uk

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See also:

Why the ruling by the Supreme Court on air pollution could stop plans for a new SE runway

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Government must produce a new action plan by the end of this year for bringing air pollution within legal limits. A decision to allow another Heathrow runway could be legally challenged unless the Government’s new plans are sufficiently ambitious to reduce emissions of a 2 runway airport below the legal limit – and also leave enough headroom to accommodate the negative impact of a 3rd runway. There is only pure speculation on how it could be achieved. The court ruling also suggests that the cost-benefit analysis for adding a runway will need to be revised, as the Government has previously claimed that complying with air quality law would be too expensive. And this does not only affect Heathrow, but Gatwick too. Gatwick is keen to claim it does not have a poor air quality problem. But EU regulations require not only that poor air quality must be improved but also that good air quality should be protected. A 2nd Gatwick runway would mean local air pollution hotspots, with a risk of breaching the legal limits. The Airports Commission has a duty to the public not to recommend a project that would significantly damage people’s health. It would also be a poor use of taxpayer’s money to make recommendations that invite a legal challenge.

Click here to view full story…


Earlier:

Airports Commission consultation shows air quality problems with new runways, but no adequate data yet

No new information has yet been provided by the Commission.  29.4.2015

The Airports Commission consultation document is aware that air quality is a major obstacle for a new Heathrow runway.  It says expanding either Gatwick or Heathrow would have a negative impact on air quality, with all proposed schemes requiring expansions to local road networks to accommodate increased road traffic. For both the Heathrow runway options the Commission says “Both local Air Quality Objectives and EU limit thresholds are at risk of exceedance at a small number of monitoring sites in the local area under this scheme. While in some cases these exceedances are also forecast to occur in the do minimum scenario, there is clearly a substantial negative impact of the scheme on air quality, unless forceful mitigation measures are implemented.” But they have not been able to complete full detailed modelling of the air quality impacts of new runways and further work is needed. This unfortunately is not in time for the consultation.  The Commission intends to supplement this at a future date with “more detailed dispersion modelling”.  [Section 2.56 of consultation document]. That means models to show how wind and weather disperses pollution, and it could be questioned how much faith should be placed on sufficient wind speeds in coming years.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/airports-commission-consultation-shows-air-quality-problems-with-new-runways-but-no-adequate-data-yet/

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UK Supreme Court orders Government to take “immediate action” on air pollution

29 April 2015 (Client Earth)

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year.

The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, handed down this morning, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”

The historic ruling is the culmination of a five year legal battle fought by ClientEarth for the right of British people to breathe clean air.

The ruling will save thousands of lives a year by forcing the Government to urgently clean up pollution from diesel vehicles, the main source of the illegal levels of nitrogen nioxide found in many of the UK’s towns and cities.

ClientEarth Lawyer Alan Andrews said: “Air pollution kills tens of thousands of people in this country every year. We brought our case because we have a right to breathe clean air and today the Supreme Court has upheld that right.

“This ruling will benefit everyone’s health but particularly children, older people and those with existing health conditions like asthma and heart and lung disease.

“The next Government, regardless of the political party or parties which take power, is now legally bound to take urgent action on this public health crisis. Before next week’s election all political parties need to make a clear commitment to policies which will deliver clean air and protect our health.”

The Supreme Court ruling means the Government must start work on a comprehensive plan to meet pollution limits as soon as possible. Among the measures that it must consider are low emission zones, congestion charging and other economic incentives.

ClientEarth is calling for action to clean up the worst polluting diesel vehicles, including through a national network of low emission zones.

http://www.clientearth.org/news/press-releases/uk-supreme-court-orders-government-to-take-immediate-action-on-air-pollution-2843

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Supreme Court orders UK to clean up air pollution in landmark ruling

Major victory for ClientEarth after five year legal battle

By Jessica Shankleman (Business Green)

29 Apr 2015

Ministers must draw up strict plans to crack down on the UK’s high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, following a landmark ruling in the Supreme Court today.

In a unanimous verdict, five judges ordered the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to consult on new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission no later than 31 December 2015.

Lord Carnwath said the court was “in no doubt about the seriousness” of the UK’s breach of EU law in failing to meet legal pollution limits, which leaves it open to the risk of European Commission fines totalling £300m.

The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”.

Defra’s plans revealed that some of the worst polluted areas of the country, such as London, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire, will be unable to meet legal limits until after 2030.

The NGO ClientEarth sued the government over its proposal, in an attempt to force the government to take more ambitious action to tackle air pollution, which is blamed for tens of thousands of deaths a year.

At a hearing earlier this month, the government volunteered to publish a consultation this autumn on a new plan that included “appropriate, feasible and effective” measures for bringing down NO2. That plan would then be submitted to the Commission by the end of this year, the government said.

The Secretary of State argued that an injunction was unnecessary because the European Commission launched its own infraction proceedings against the UK last year, which it was working to comply with.

However, ClientEarth argued Defra could not be relied upon to deliver voluntarily and asked the Supreme Court to impose an injunction.

The judges agreed with ClientEarth, saying they would be “failing in their duty” if they “simply accepted” assurances from the Secretary of State without any legal underpinning. They also noted that since 2010, the government has revealed more pessimistic predictions of when some areas could comply.

The outcome is likely to place fresh pressure on ministers to introduce bolder measures for tackling air pollution.

Some campaigners have called on the government to ban the most polluting diesel vehicles, which are widely blamed for causing spikes in NO2 pollution that may increase the risk of breathing and heart problems, expand ultra low emission zones in urban areas and revisit plans for road pricing and higher taxes for the dirtiest vehicles. The ruling could also impact plans to expand Heathrow Airport, as it is located in one of the UK’s worst air pollution blackspots.

ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said the Supreme Court ruling upheld the right for people to breathe clean air. “The next government, regardless of the political party or parties which take power, is now legally bound to take urgent action on this public health crisis,” he said in a statement.

“Before next week’s election all political parties need to make a clear commitment to policies which will deliver clean air and protect our health.”

Ellie Watson, an environment lawyer for Pinsent Masons said the ruling could open the door for a series of similar legal challenges across European Member States as the UK is not alone in failing to comply with NO2 limits.

“UK Government will now have to act fast to cut nitrogen dioxide levels to avoid hefty fines,” she said. “For business, this will inevitably mean more stringent regulation but savvy firms will translate investment into low emission vehicle fleets and ramped up green travel policies into cost savings and PR benefit.

“EU law-makers may now find themselves under some pressure to rethink the directive and the EU’s approach to managing pollution levels.”

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2406257/supreme-court-orders-uk-to-clean-up-air-pollution-in-landmark-ruling

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See also:

EU ruling on air pollution compliance is a ‘major blow’ for Heathrow Airport expansion plans

The levels of air pollution in the Heathrow area already routinely breach EU limits (the Air Quality Directive), for nitrogen dioxide, due to the concentration of road traffic in the area – in addition to the aircraft. The UK has tried to avoid a showdown with the EU by agreeing to reduce air pollution levels in line with the EU directive by 2025, but the date has since slipped to ‘post 2030′. The European Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has now rejected this plan and UK ministers will have to prepare new measures for reducing illegal pollution levels ‘as soon as possible’. The CJEU has given the UK Supreme Court responsibility for enforcing compliance with air quality law. Judges will examine the case next year. The cross-party 2M group of councils opposing a 3rd Heathrow runway say this is a ‘major blow’ for the plans. Heathrow hopes that improvement, over coming years, in road vehicle emissions will solve their problem, but this is outside their control. The 2M groups says the Supreme Court will have to be convinced about the unlikely scenario in which air pollution can be reduced  -while Heathrow increases flights, road traffic and freight.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/12/eu-ruling-on-air-pollution-compliance-is-a-major-blow-for-heathrow-airport-expansion-plans/

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Defra condemned for proposals – yet again – to scrap local air pollution monitoring, with danger of reducing air quality

Edit this entry.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/24345/

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Defra condemned by Clean Air in London for proposals scrapping local air pollution monitoring

Air pollution is a key problem for Heathrow, making the addition of a 3rd runway very hard to justify – or to fit within legal air quality limits. The main pollutant with which Heathrow has problems is NOX – nitrogen oxides, the  majority of which comes from road traffic. The actual proportion from aircraft, airport vehicles and other road vehicles is very difficult to establish. The other key air pollutants are PM10 and PM2.5 – tiny particles which lodge in the lungs and can cause long term health problems. DEFRA has responsibility for air quality monitoring. It put out a consultation on streamlining some air pollution  monitoring, on 19th December (finishes 30th January). The aim is to no longer require local authorities to monitor 4 pollutants, and to combine monitoring of PM10s with PM2.5s. The group, Clean in London says “DEFRA’s plans would result inevitably in the scrapping of thousands of local monitoring sites that have taken a decade to put in place and probably all of them within a few months or years.”  Also that “Alarmingly, local authorities are being told to make use of Defra’s tiny national monitoring network (i.e. 137 monitors, few of which measure two or more of NO2, PM2.5 and PM10).”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/defra-condemned-by-clean-air-in-london-for-proposals-scrapping-local-air-pollution-monitoring/

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ClientEarth wins case – EU Court rules UK government must act to clean up deadly air pollution

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has delivered its judgement in ClientEarth’s case,  that the UK must act to clean up illegal levels of air pollution “as soon as possible”.  Under current plans the UK will not meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) until after 2030 – twenty years after the original deadline.  NO2 has known harmful health impacts including increasing the risk of heart attacks and asthma. In their case at the ECJ, ClientEarth win on all points.  The judgement says the UK’s plans should have aimed at compliance by 1 January 2015 at the latest.  The UK remains in ongoing breach of EU law, and UK courts must order the government to produce a plan which rapidly achieves NO2 limits. To be successful, a plan to deal with air pollution needs to drastically cut nitrogen oxides from diesel vehicles. Much of the air pollution around airports, like Heathrow, is caused by these diesel vehicles.  Around 29,000 people die early in the UK each year as a result of air pollution, making it the biggest public health problem after smoking. ClientEarth’s case will return to the UK Supreme Court for a final ruling next year. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/eu-court-rules-uk-government-must-act-to-clean-up-deadly-air-pollution/
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Read more »

Why Schiphol will never become ‘Heathrow’s 3rd runway’ – it has tight noise and ATM limits

We are routinely told that, if Heathrow doesn’t expand, people from other UK airports like Newcastle, Edinburgh and Liverpool will choose to fly to Schiphol (Amsterdam) to interchange onto long-distance flights.  The CEO of Schiphol Airport has even rather cheekily called it ‘Heathrow’s third runway’ or referred to Amsterdam as “London’s 2nd hub.” However, John Stewart explains that this is not a situation that can continue indefinitely. Though Schiphol has 5 runways, in reality only two can be used at one time. And unlike airports in the UK, Schiphol has strict noise regulations about which runways can be used, and when.  The use of the two runways which go over densely-populated areas is avoided whenever possible. Schiphol has almost reached its permissible noise limits, with around 425,565 flights last year – and a limit of 510,000 per year (cf. 480,000 at Heathrow).  When the noise from planes using one runway reaches a certain point, no more is allowed in that year, and traffic should be diverted to alternative runways. The system in use at Schiphol to protect residents from aircraft noise is more rigorous than in the UK, and the Dutch take their noise responsibilities on aircraft noise too seriously to allow Schiphol to become effectively a UK hub.
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Why Schiphol will never become ‘Heathrow’s third runway’

Blog by John Stewart

28th April 2015

We routinely are told that, if Heathrow doesn’t expand, people from other UK airports will choose to fly to Schiphol to interchange on to a long-distance flight.  The CEO of Schiphol has even rather cheekily called it ‘Heathrow’s third runway’. [And Amsterdam as London’s 2nd hub].

He knows full well it can never be that because Schiphol has almost reached capacity.

It is not that Schiphol lacks runway space.  It has five runways (six if you include one for very small planes) and fewer flights than Heathrow.  [52.5 million passengers in 2014 at Schiphol compared to 70 million at Heathrow].

Schiphol map

 

The capacity constraint is down to the strict rules which exist about which runways can be used and when.

There are tight noise regulations in place which mean that all five runways are never in use at any one time.  Indeed, rarely are more than three of the runways used at once.  And the use of the two runways which go over densely-populated areas is avoided whenever possible.

 But here’s the big reason why Schiphol can never become London’s third runway.  It has almost reached its permissible noise limits.  The airport has a complex way of regulating noise:  “the present system as from 2005 consists of 35 points around Schiphol where the actual noise of passing planes is physically measured and added up to annual totals per point. If a total at a certain point exceeds its legal maximum, the relating runway can no longer be used and traffic should be diverted to alternative runways. The maximum capacity of this system is some 480,000 air traffic movements each year.

You can read more about this in the paper Noise Reduction at Schiphol:Noise reduction Schiphol  

The system is being altered so that possibly 510,000 flights will be able to use the airport each year.  [The number was about 425,565 in 2014].  But that’s it.  No more.  And not significantly greater than the 480,000 cap at the two-runway Heathrow.  The trips from Edinburgh, Manchester or Newcastle to Schiphol to interchange will have a finite limit. 

Schiphol is looking to get round its limits by ‘outsourcing’ perhaps as many as 70,000 low-cost, leisure flights to the smaller airports Netherlands.

If  – and it still very much is ‘if’ that happens – it will free up some space at Schiphol but not enough to dent the myth that Schiphol can ever become Heathrow’s third runway.  Gatwick maybe.  Stansted possibly.  Even Birmingham or Boris Island.  But not Schiphol.  The Dutch take their noise responsibilities far too seriously for that to happen. 

http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=381

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Comment from an AirportWatch member:

“In the Netherlands noise is clearly taken very seriously. It would be shameful if
Heathrow were to have a lower standard – more noise due to a third runway
– in order to gain ‘competitive advantage’ over Schiphol”


See earlier:

Schiphol airport unfazed by prospect of new London runway – many UK passengers prefer transferring from Schiphol

Schiphol Group president and chief executive Jos Nijhuis, described Amsterdam as “London’s second hub”. Schiphol now handles up to 8 million UK passengers a year, 60% of whom connect to onward flights. Schiphol believes passengers from UK regional airports will continue to choose Amsterdam rather than Heathrow to connect to long‑haul flights, even if Heathrow gets a 3rd runway. 13 UK airports have services to Amsterdam and this will rise to 14 next month, with the addition of Belfast.  The loss of UK regional traffic to Amsterdam because of capacity constraints at Heathrow has featured heavily in Heathrow’s lobbying for a new runway, wanting to prevent the loss of customers to Schiphol. And wanting to keep on being the biggest international airport, by far, in Europe.  Jos Nijhuis said: “We are London’s second hub and doing very well. …I tell [Heathrow chief executive] John Holland-Kaye: ‘Consider our most western runway as yours. We can rename it Heathrow Runway Three….We are a much better transfer airport [than our rivals]. We designed the airport for transfers.” KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers said: “I don’t think additional capacity in London would make Heathrow more attractive than Schiphol to passengers in Newcastle or Humberside.” He felt higher charges needed by Heathrow to pay for a new runway would mean the runway would not reduce the traffic going via Schiphol.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/schiphol-airport-unfazed-by-prospect-of-new-london-runway-many-uk-passengers-prefer-it/
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Schiphol claims to operate Heathrow’s 3rd runway and provide the UK with global links

Schiphol airport has launching an aggressive advertising campaign, making out that it is offering more than 100 daily flights to the UK, enabling Britons to connect to 275 destinations across the world. Schiphol now serves 23 UK airports in Britain, compared with 12 offered by Gatwick and only 7 by Heathrow. Schiphol has 5 runways – compared with Heathrow’s 2 [of course, they cannot all be used at the same time – probably in practice only two are used at once].  Schiphol hopes to have more passengers etc than Heathrow within a decade (don’t they all?). The Telegraph is promoting this story, to help pile on pressure for new runways in the south east, and also as part of its continuing campaign against APD – wanting flying to be even more under-taxed than at present. The Telegraph, and Schiphol, are promoting the fear that Heathrow might be overtaken some time, with threats that ….”the Government is outsourcing Britain’s airports and jobs to our European competitors.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/11/schiphol-claim/

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Schiphol to get 3,000 fewer night flights per year – but that still leaves 29,000 per year

The number of night flights at Schiphol in the next 3 years will be reduced from 32,000 to 29,000. That still means around 80 flights per night – hugely more than other airports. There has been an agreement  – the Alders Agreement – between the airport and the local communities under the airport ‘s flight path. It allows for some growth at the airport but only within strict environmental limits. In order to remain within these limits the number of night flights had to be cut, but the agreement is only for 3 years.  Schiphol is saying that the 3,000  flights are not being switched to other airports, and it is a real reduction, not just a displacement.  Up to 2020  the limit for the number of aircraft movements at Schiphol is 510,000 per year. There are also meant to be measures to use quieter planes to cut noise and compensate residents for noise.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/11/schiphol-night/

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Great majority of election candidates around Gatwick oppose a 2nd runway

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) members have carried out a survey of the views of parliamentary candidates about a new runway at Gatwick. All 11 Conservative Parliamentary candidates in the seats around Gatwick (Crawley, Horsham, Arundel and South Downs, Mole Valley, Reigate, East Surrey, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge & Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Mid Sussex, and Wealden) oppose a 2nd  runway.  So do all Green Party candidates.  So do all UKIP candidates.  Almost all Lib Dem candidates oppose a 2nd runway – except for a few; the odd ones out being the candidates for Crawley and Horsham.  The Labour candidates are about equally divided, half for and half against the runway.  Many of the candidates have now signed a pledge against the runway, appreciating the runway would produce an increase in aircraft noise, worsened environment and lack of infrastructure such as roads, rail, schools and hospitals. At the national level both the Labour and Conservative manifestos say in effect that they will wait for the recommendations of the Airports Commission (expected June/July).  At the Lib Dem conference last year a resolution supporting a Gatwick runway was overwhelmingly defeated, and their manifesto reflects this policy but leaves a little wriggle room if the Airports Commission comes up with “compelling new evidence.” 
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Candidates Oppose Gatwick 2nd Runway

26.4.2015

(GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

All eleven Conservative Parliamentary candidates in the seats around Gatwick oppose a second runway.  So do all Green Party candidates.  So do all UKIP candidates.

Almost all Lib Dem candidates oppose a new runway, the odd ones out being the candidates for Crawley and Horsham.  The Labour candidates are about equally divided, half for and half against.

GACC members carried out a survey of parliamentary candidates with many of them signing a pledge to oppose a new runway due to increase in aircraft noise, worsened environment and lack of infrastructure such as roads, rail, schools and hospitals.

At the national level both the Labour and Conservative manifestos say in effect that they will wait for the recommendations of the Airports Commission (expected June/July).  If all the Conservative candidates were to be re-elected the bloc of eleven votes in a hung Parliament might perhaps just be sufficient to stop the runway.

The Green Party candidates are in line with their national manifesto which opposes any new runway, mainly on climate change grounds.

The UKIP manifesto opposes any new runway but supports instead greater use of Manston.

At the Lib Dem conference last year a resolution supporting a Gatwick runway was overwhelmingly defeated, and their manifesto reflects this policy but leaves a little wriggle room if the Airports Commission comes up with compelling arguments.

The constituencies included in the survey were Crawley, Horsham, Arundel and South Downs, Mole Valley, Reigate, East Surrey, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Mid Sussex, and Wealden.

Not all candidates could be contacted but the summary above gives an accurate reflection of the majority views.

www.gacc.org.uk

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Councils around Gatwick opposed to a 2nd runway

Almost all the county, borough, district, town and parish councils around Gatwick have decided to oppose a second runway.

  • Kent County Council has reversed its position, from support for a second Gatwick runway to opposition.
  • After a long and passionate debate, West Sussex County Council councillors voted 37:26 to cancel their support in principle and to oppose a 2nd runway.
  • Surrey County Council is sticking to its policy, agreed a few years ago, to oppose a second runway unless sufficient infrastructure improvements are made first.
  • Crawley Borough Council, the planning authority for Gatwick, has voted 25:11 to oppose a second runway.
  • Horsham District Council has voted 23:1 against.
  • Mole Valley District Council has voted unanimously against.
  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has voted 39:1 against.
  • Tandridge District Council has sent in a response drawing attention to its core strategy to oppose any expansion of the airport which would adversely affect their residents.
  • Mid Sussex District Council has strongly opposed a 2nd runway
  • Wealden District Council has opposed a 2nd runway
  • Reigate and Banstead Council is still making up its mind.
  • Horley Town Council and virtually all the fifty or so parish councils around Gatwick have voted No to a runway
  • The only odd one out is East Sussex County Council which voted 27:19 to support a 2nd runway. Most of the votes in favour came from councillors in seaside areas such as Hastings or Eastbourne who were enticed by the prospect of more jobs.
  • None of the Members of Parliament around Gatwick support a 2nd runway. Eight out of nine MPs have declared their opposition. One (Henry Smith) says that Gatwick have not yet made a case for a new runway, and has now stated that the costs would outweigh the benefits.

 

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and see

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/crawley-borough-council-votes-by-2611-to-oppose-second-runway-at-gatwick/  for much more on councils opposed to a new Gatwick runway

Read more »

Heathrow finally completes £4.8 million of insulation work on schools etc – after 10 years

Heathrow has finally finished installing noise insulation at the 42 schools and other community buildings (31 in Hounslow) where it promised in 2005 to carry out the work. It has taken 10 years, and it cost Heathrow £4.8 million.  Heathrow said in 2005 it would install double glazing and make other improvements to minimise the din from aircraft, at selected schools etc under its flight paths. Now, pressing for a runway, John Holland-Kaye ensured the work under the Community Building Noise Insulation scheme was completed this April.  Part of the cost is the adobe buildings for school playgrounds, in which children can be taught “outdoors” under the dome. How being inside an adobe dome counts as being “outdoors” is a mystery. The adobe buildings have cost £1.8 million, from Heathrow, and have been installed in 5 schools in Hounslow and Slough – with 5 more due to be completed in Hounslow this year. If Heathrow gets a 3rd runway, it has “promised” to spend £700 million insulating homes, schools and other buildings affected by aircraft noise – more than 20 times the £30 million currently on offer. But is it not saying if it will make any improvements, if it does not get a runway. John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said: “What’s important is that further insulation should not be dependent on a third runway.”

As one wit asked: “If it has taken them 10 years to do £4.8 million of insulation work, how long could it take them to get round to £700 million?”   A fair question indeed …..
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Heathrow fulfils schools promise – decade after it was made

25.4.2015 (Get West London)

By Robert Cumber

The airport’s operator has finally finished installing noise insulation at the 42 schools and other community buildings where it promised in 2005 to carry out the work

An adobe hut at Hounslow Heath Infant and Junior School, which was the first to get one of the noise-insulated domes funded by Heathrow

Heathrow’s owners have fulfilled a promise to insulate schools in Hounslow from the noise of passing jets – a decade after it was made.

Bosses at the airport pledged in 2005 to install double glazing and make other improvements to minimise the din at selected schools and other community buildings lying under its flight paths.

But they had faced flak for taking so long to make good the commitment, which had its origins in a 2003 government white paper ordering airport operators to offer such measures.

When Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye took up the top post in July last year, one of the first promises he made was to complete the Community Building Noise Insulation scheme by April 2015.

The airport operator announced on Tuesday (April 21) that he had kept his word, with noise insulation now completed at all 42 buildings qualifying for the voluntary initiative, 31 of which are in Hounslow.

Heathrow said the total cost of the work to the buildings, which include nursing homes and community centres as well as schools, was more than £4.8m.

Mr Holland-Kaye said: “The completion of this schools insulation programme and our innovative adobe buildings are only part of our ambitious plans to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on local communities, and be a better neighbour.”

He also hailed the impact of new adobe huts being built at schools around Heathrow thanks to £1.8m funding from the airport.

The Teletubby-style huts, which are built from soil-filled tubes and offer refuge from aircraft noise during outdoor lessons, are already in place at five schools in Hounslow and Slough, with another five scheduled for completion in Hounslow this year.

Hounslow Council leader Steve Curran said: “The conclusion of the insulation programme is a good step towards creating better schools in Hounslow and we will continue to work with the airport in promoting the adobe buildings scheme and the primary and secondary school challenges, Heathrow’s education programme to inspire the next generation of engineers.”

Hounslow Heath Infant and Nursery School has benefited from noise insulation and the adobe huts, along with a bespoke ventilation system also funded by Heathrow.

Its headteacher Kathryn Harper-Quinn said: “We are very pleased with this noise insulation work as it makes a difference to staff and pupils, and we are just one of many schools in the Heathrow area to benefit from this scheme.”

If Heathrow gets a third runway, the operator has promised to spend £700m insulating homes, schools and other buildings affected by aircraft noise – more than 20 times the £30 million currently on offer.

However, it has resisted pressure to say whether it would improve the current compensation scheme should it fail in its bid for a new landing strip.

John Stewart, chairman of the anti Heathrow expansion campaign group HACAN said: “This insulation programme has been welcomed by local people. What’s important is that further insulation should not be dependent on a third runway.”

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/heathrow-fulfils-schools-promise—9088731

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See earlier:

Adobe earth houses in school playground give pupils refuge from Heathrow noise

Pupils at the Hounslow Heath Infant school ( children aged 3 –  7) just under a Heathrow flight path, have very loud and intrusive aircraft noise from the planes flying some 180 metres approx overhead. The problem is so bad that BAA (as it was) paid for the construction of some adobe structures in the playground, so the children can spend at least part of their time outdoors in places where they can hear each other speak. At some times of day, there is aircraft noise for 25 seconds out of every 90 seconds. Classes of up to 30 children can be seated inside the main dome, and inside the noise is reduced by some 17 decibels. Outdoor learning is valued by teachers and is also a statutory part of the national curriculum. The headteacher said the adobe structures are important as refuges because  “When kids are playing they are also developing their language skills, and in the playground again they’re being interrupted.” Schools should not be located under flight paths where planes are low.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1993

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Heathrow pays £1.8m for noise-reducing adobe huts in playgrounds of 21 schools under its flightpaths

It was reported in April 2013 that four adobe domes had been put  up in the grounds of Hounslow Primary school, which is under the southern runway at  Heathrow, in order to enable the children to use the playground despite the plane noise. Now Heathrow says it will spend £1.8 million to extend the scheme to 21 schools that are badly affected by aircraft noise. Heathrow is desperate to try and persuade London residents that aircraft noise is being dealt with, and a 3rd runway will not cause intolerable noise to those overflown. The 21 schools, which have not been  named, will each get around £85,000 for the building of these structures. The largest can hold 30 children, and the level of noise can be 17 decibels lower than outside. Children can hear the teachers inside the domes, so teaching does not have to stop for a considerable time every 90 seconds or so, when planes go over. Children can also hear each other, and so develop their language skills. However, the domes do not solve the problem of providing ventilation and soundproofing of classrooms.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/11/18296/


Fear that ‘Heathrow noise reduces pupil learning by third’ – as Hounslow opens its Heathrow consultation

15.4.2013
The head teacher of an infant and nursery school directly under a Heathrow flight path, close to the airport in Hounslow, has been speaking of the impact of the planes on the learning of children at her school. Kathryn Harper-Quinn, who runs Hounslow Heath Infant & Nursery School said a recent study had highlighted the dramatic impact planes thundering 600-feet overhead have on children’s learning. Asked to recall factual details from an outdoor lesson, she said, a class of 7-year-olds could remember about a third less than those hearing the same lesson in a specially built noise-insulated hut. When the study was repeated with a fictional story, there was no noticeable difference in performance – a result Ms Harper-Quinn put down to pupils being able to fill in the gaps more easily.  Speaking at the official launch of Hounslow Council’s consultation on Heathrow, she claimed a 3rd runway would blight thousands more children’s education. The consultation questionnaire contains 11 questions, and the deadline for responses is  May 16th.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2363


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Heathrow noise ‘hinders pupils’ reading progress’ – would only worsen with more runways and fights

March 28, 2013

Children living under the Heathrow flight path are suffering two-month lags in their reading development as a result of aircraft noise. Hounslow council says pupils in the borough have to put up with “continual disruption”, and warned the problem will worsen if the airport expands to three or more runways. Around 40 schools are directly under the Heathrow flight paths with planes landing every 90 seconds or so much of the day. The council cites an international study by London University into aircraft noise which found it led to a “significant impairment” in reading development, as well as affecting long-term memory and motivation. As well as a 2-month delay in reading, the children’s education is suffering from the continual disruption from low-flying jets. If schools don’t have triple glazing the interruptions to lessons can be relentless. One school near the airport has had shelters installed in the playground so children can escape the noise. A 2010 ECRD study suggested that chronic aircraft noise has a deleterious effect on memory, sustained attention, reading comprehension and reading ability.

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