The Conservative Mayor the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), Ben Houchen, says he fully intends to fulfil his manifesto pledge of bringing Durham Tees Valley Airport back into public ownership. He will veto any plan to grant £500,000 of taxpayers money to the owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) “ for nothing in return”. But Mr Houchen finds himself at odds with the TVCA’s 5 local authority leaders – all Labour – who have proposed amending the mayor’s budget plans in favour of granting DTVA owners, Peel, £500,000 to secure flights to the airport. The Labour council leaders said they blocked the mayor’s budget “when it became clear that the money requested had been earmarked for solicitors and consultants instead of support for the new routes”. The Mayor said: “I was elected with a clear mandate to buy our airport, and that’s what I plan to do. Labour council leaders sold off our airport for half a million quid, and since my election they’ve bent over backwards to pressurise me into giving taxpayer cash to Peel for nothing in return. It isn’t going to happen. I will veto any proposal that does not offer value for money.” There are currently no flights from DVTA to London, but 3 per day to Amsterdam with KLM to link up with Schiphol’s routes.
Mayor promises to veto plans to give £500,000 to Durham Tees Valley Airport owners
Ben Houchen says he fully intends to fulfil his manifesto pledge of bringing Durham Tees Valley Airport back into public ownership
ByJames Cain (Gazette Live)
13 FEB 2018
The Tees Valley Mayor has said he will veto any plan to grant £500,000 of taxpayers money to the owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport “ for nothing in return”.
Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor of the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), has said he fully intends to fulfil his manifesto pledge of bringing Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) back into public ownership.
But Mr Houchen finds himself at odds with the TVCA’s five local authority leaders – all Labour – who, at a meeting on Friday, proposed amending the mayor’s budget plans in favour of granting DTVA owners, Peel, £500,000 to secure flights to the airport.
In a statement, the council leaders said they blocked the mayor’s budget “when it became clear that the money requested had been earmarked for solicitors and consultants instead of support for the new routes”.
Redcar and Cleveland Council leader, Sue Jeffrey, proposed an amendment to Mr Houchen’s budget to “guarantee the cash needed” to Peel Group.
She said: “The stakes are very high here and time is running out.
“We have a solid proposition to invest and grow our airport but the Tees Valley Mayor is only interested in paying expensive consultants to try to make sense of his un-costed election pledge to buy the airport.
“It is simply reckless to put these new flights at risk.
“Mayor Houchen needs to stop playing politics and support our airport.”
Cllr Bill Dixon, the Combined Authority’s cabinet member for transport, said: “The public will be rightly angry that, after the Tees Valley Mayor made saving the airport such a large part of his election campaign, he is now effectively blocking efforts to bring in more flights.
“Our airport is a valuable asset for our area – but airports are worthless without flights.
“It’s time for Mr Houchen to commit to making sure we secure these new flights.”
But Mr Houchen struck back, promising to veto any plans to put taxpayers’ money into the hands of Peel Group “for nothing in return”.
He said: “I was elected with a clear mandate to buy our airport, and that’s what I plan to do.
“Labour council leaders sold off our airport for half a million quid, and since my election they’ve bent over backwards to pressurise me into giving taxpayer cash to Peel for nothing in return. It isn’t going to happen.
“I will veto any proposal that does not offer value for money. I cannot support Labour’s sticking plaster approach.
“I’m developing my own plan to bring to bring the airport back to life. I look forward to Labour’s support when I present these plans in the coming weeks.”
In his official response to the proposed budget amendment, Mr Houchen added: “He is disappointed that the proposal from Durham Tees Valley Airport was submitted on the Friday before the Combined Authority’s Budget meeting on the following Monday, and that it is therefore not appropriate for Cabinet to commit resources without analysis of the proposal.”
“It is hardly surprising that there is a perception Peel has local governance – if not local authorities themselves – in its pocket”
Over just two months of last year, Salford City Council handed three different Peel Holdings companies almost £2million of public money. Yet those companies, ultimately controlled offshore, have no accountability.
Salford’s experience of Peel is being mirrored in Liverpool, where the Peel `beast’ is virtually running the region via its massive Liverpool and Wirral Waters projects. A new independent report from ExUrbe takes an in-depth look at Peel. And its critique and research is devastating…
“Peel is heavily reliant upon other people’s money to fund its enormous ambitions” ExUrbe
In its last statement of public spending over £500, Salford City Council reveals that in just two months (November and December 2012) Peel Holdings was handed almost £2million of public money for projects that are totally obscure to anyone who didn’t actually write the cheques.
In November 2012, there were two lots of £560 rent paid to Peel Media Ltd from the Council’s Chief Executive’s budget. Also paid to Peel Media was just over £45,000 for `service tenancies’. We can guess that these payments are related to rents for The Landing and The Greenhouse at MediaCityUK.
Meanwhile, also in November, Peel Investments (North) Ltd was paid £111,321 in `misc grants’ for `capital expenditure’. We know it’s something to do with Port Salford but that’s about it.
In November and December, a company called Peel Investments (Intermediate) Ltdwas paid a total of £1,744,320 in `misc grants’ for `capital expenditure’ – but for what purpose we have absolutely no idea.
A look at the last accounts for Peel Investments (Intermediate) Ltd reveals nothing about its activities, except that its `principal activities’ are “property investment and development and the operation of a golf driving range”.
During the year 2012, Peel Investments (Intermediate) Ltd had a turnover of only £654,000 and made an operating loss of over £7million. How and why, we’ll never know because its ultimate holding company is Tokenhouse, which is registered offshore in the Isle of Man and controlled by the 1997 Billown Settlement Trust (John Whittaker’s private family trust) of which there is no publicly available information.
Yet Salford Council is happy to hand this unaccountable, offshore company £1,744,320. Where are the ethics in that? This example is just the tip of the huge financial, political and moral iceberg that is Peel Holdings.
Loganair scraps Aberdeen services at Durham Tees Valley Airport – it only started in October
Date added: February 19, 2018
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has ordered Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) officials to ‘put up or shut up’ following the loss of Scottish services, and reiterated an election pledge to overthrow operator Peel and buy the site. It has been revealed that Loganair is shelving Aberdeen services next month. The flights, aimed predominantly at offshore oil workers, were only introduced to DTVA in October 2017, but Loganair says it is “unable to make the commercial case to lease the required aircraft” to continue the route. DVTA has already lost its flights to Norwich. The airport wants the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) to provide £500,000 of taxpayers’ money to “support route & passenger growth” and attract businesses. The TVCA had previously agreed to provide Peel with financial help after it pledged the airport would remain open until at least 2021 while a 5-year masterplan was developed. But the Mayor will not agree to this spending, that he believes does not give taxpayers’ value for money. He expects Peel to make a success of the airport, or sell it to someone who will.
Heathrow has a current consultation, on its runway plans, which closes on 28th March. People are advised, if they send in a response, to make sure their submission is not taken as tacit agreement with the 3rd runway. The No 3rd Runway Coalition has put together a 2 page briefing, advising people about the many areas in which the consultation is inadequate, and suggesting a list of issues that remain unaddressed by Heathrow. Just some of the issues where the consultation fails are: – No clarity on plans for road and rail access and no commitment to pay for them. – No assessment of cost of moving the M25 nor a traffic impact assessment whilst construction takes place. – No assessment of the impact of construction of local air quality. – No assessment of impact on assets of national importance (parks and open spaces) from potentially being overflown for 12-hour periods with no respite from noise. On questions people should ask, just some are: – Why does the current Heathrow consultation on expansion include proposals for a shorter runway that have not been considered by the Airports Commission nor included in the Airports NPS? – What assessment has been made of the financial cost of the proposals to move the M25 or put it into a tunnel? – What assessment has been made of the impact on local roads of a potential 50% increase in the level of freight handled by Heathrow? And there are many more. See the full briefing here
Briefing on the consultation
Heathrow Airport launched a consultation on 17 January, running until 28 March. This is
separate from the Government’s consultation on the Draft Airports National Policy
Statement which is still ongoing.
The Transport Select Committee is currently running an inquiry into the Draft NPS and is
expected to submit a report to Government by the 29 March.
The final Airports NPS is expected to be put to a vote in the House of Commons by the
end of July 2018. It is only then that Heathrow Expansion will be formally considered by
This consultation is formed of two separate components. One consultation is on the
options of the physical changes on the ground needed to build a new north west runway
and operate an expanded airport. The second is on the potential principles Heathrow
could apply when designing the new airspace required for an expanded airport. This
does not include any detail on actual flightpaths.
MAIN AREAS OF CONCERN – EXPANSION CONSULTATION
It is clear from the series of consultation documents that the impacts of the expansion
proposal go far beyond that described and assessed in the Airports NPS.
Should Heathrow proceed with a shorter runway this would invalidate the Appraisal of
Sustainability in the NPS and require a fresh round of parliamentary scrutiny.
The consultation includes a number of glaring omissions of the local impacts:
No clarity on plans for road and rail access and no commitment to pay for them.
No assessment of cost of moving the M25 nor a traffic impact assessment whilst
construction takes place.
No assessment of the impact of construction of local air quality.
No assessment of impact on assets of national importance (parks and open spaces)
from potentially being overflown for 12-hour periods with no respite from noise.
No information or views sought on the impact on demand for housing in the local
No assessment of cost to local authorities of increased demand on services.
No plan to cover the costs that will be imposed on local authorities arising from the
relocation of the Lakeside Waste Energy plant.
No plans at all to address the adverse health impacts of a third runway.
No assessment of the impact of freight traffic associated with expansion.
No information on possible flight paths of a three-runway airport.
No detail of areas that may be newly overflown.
No proposal for continued respite for communities.
QUESTIONS TO ASK HEATHROW
Why does the current Heathrow consultation on expansion include proposals for a
shorter runway that have not been considered by the Airports Commission nor
included in the Airports NPS?
What assessment has been made of the financial cost of the proposals to move the
M25 or put it into a tunnel?
What traffic impact assessment has been undertaken for the effects on strategic and
local roads of moving the M25?
What assessment has been made of the impact on local roads of a potential 50%
increase in the level of freight handled by Heathrow?
What increase in surface access capacity will be required to facilitate a third
What rail improvements do Heathrow believe are required to support expansion given
that Crossrail and the Piccadilly Line upgrade have been designed to support
London’s population growth?
What plans do Heathrow have to introduce a road user charge around the airport?
Why have detailed flight paths for a third runway not been published?
What assessment has been made of impacts to residents during the construction of
What guarantees of respite are being offered to communities currently overflown?
How many communities will be newly impacted by noise from airport operations with
a third runway?
How will Heathrow finance the third runway?
FLIGHT PATH DESIGN PRINCIPLES
The operation of Heathrow airport currently exposes hundreds of thousands of people
to the intolerable, detrimental impacts of aircraft noise. Any expansion will simply
expose thousands more to unacceptable levels of aircraft noise. The consultation
presents some of its airspace policy choices as zero sum and is simply seeking to divide
those opposed to expansion. The Coalition advises against engagement with this
Send your views to Freepost LHR EXPANSION CONSULTATION or email
As part of their inquiry into the plans for a Heathrow 3rd runway, in the Airports NPS, the Transport Select Committee wrote on 16th January – with a list of questions – to two economic experts, Professor Peter Mackie, (Institute for Transport Studies, Leeds University) and Brian Pearce (Chief Economist, IATA UK) who advised the Airports Commission (and who were critical of the way the Commission worked out alleged future economic benefits of a Heathrow runway). Mackie & Price have replied in some detail, and some of their comments can be seen below. Asked about the economic impact of the airport not being full in 2 -3 years, but (as John Holland-Kaye has said) over 10 – 15 years, they say: “…that ought to be reflected in the capacity model and profile of shadow costs over time.” Asked about carbon costs, they say: “… we cannot comment either on the probability of a fully effective international carbon trading scheme being in place in the timeframe, nor on the striking price of carbon and its trend over time.” And on Heathrow landing charges they say the DfT’s main case assumes “the benefit of the reduced shadow cost will be fully passed through to travellers while increases in landing charges to fund the infrastructure will be absorbed by airlines. This particular combination seems a bit unlikely.”
The demand growth profile for an expanded Heathrow has also changed to that forecast by the Airports Commission. The DfT have now forecast capacity at the airport to fill-up within the space of two-years from 2026. Putting aside the debate around the plausibility of the opening date, this seems to be a highly optimistic assumption made by the DfT.
It was refuted by several witnesses who appeared in front of the Committee. This outcome also appears to counter Heathrow’s own commercial expectations in which they anticipate phased growth. The updated forecasts have also led to some highly unusual growth profiles for other airports which seem detached from real-world expectations. This seems to occur because of the suppressed demand at Heathrow assumed in the modelling which sees demand flow quickly away from other airports upon capacity being released.
Is there enough evidence of that scale of suppressed demand for Heathrow?
How does the DfT model allocate traffic between the airports more generally?
The DfT has conducted sensitivity analysis with a phased growth profile, albeit over a 10- year period.
Should phased growth be part of the DfT’s central appraisal case?
Given the additional effect of discounting, what might the implications be on the net present value benefits by compressing capacity growth within a two-year period, rather than phasing it over a longer-period?
A Our understanding of the model is that as capacity limits are approached, a shadow cost is added to the surface access costs of reaching constrained airports so as to ration demand to available capacity. This is a model representation of mechanisms such as full planes and higher fares out of the constrained airport causing people at the margin to choose alternatives. The model is predicting that these capacity limits will really begin to bite at LHR in ten years or so (hence the importance of the background growth rate discussed above). If runway three at LHR is built, the shadow costs at LHR is reduced so that
Traffic transfers from competing airports because people are able to access their preferred airport
A wider range of Os and Ds and higher frequencies are offered at the hub
The hub is better able to compete with other hubs in the INT to INT market, so there are second round effects on profitable frequencies.
In a commercial market, we could envisage these responses occurring quite rapidly. But presumably the demand model (NAPAM) is fed with capacity limits which assume that runway and terminal capacity at LHR are in synch. If the reality is that for a time after runway three is open, terminal capacity is the governing constraint, that would act as a brake on growth and should be reflected in the capacity modelling. Similarly, if the regulator decided that it would be prudent to roll out the new slots over a period rather than in one fell swoop, that ought to be reflected in the capacity model and profile of shadow costs over time.
The sensitivity test carried out by the DfT shows the present value of passenger benefits reduced by £0.5 billion if capacity was instead phased in over a 10 year period. That is just 1% of estimated passenger benefits so would appear to be a marginal issue. But given an overall NPV of -1.8 to 3.3 for the LHR options it perhaps is more significant.
The Transport Select Committee asked, on carbon emissions:
The DfT’s updated appraisal now only uses one carbon scenario to forecast demand, compared with the Airports Commission which forecast passenger demand under carbon capped and carbon traded scenarios. Previously, a carbon capped scenario would have resulted in a higher carbon price being applied, resulting in lower demand. The DfT have assumed that more of the carbon reductions can be met through supply side abatement policies without having to use a higher carbon price to reduce demand. Is it a realistic approach to be using a single carbon scenario to forecast demand?
The final point concerns how carbon costs are monetised as part of economic appraisals. The monetised costs of carbon were estimated at £19.2 billion by the Airports Commission, including £18.5 billion for air travel. In the economic case the carbon costs from air travel are excluded from the appraisal. It has become apparent that the exact allocation of these costs in the economic appraisal is dependent upon effective carbon trading being in place. The DfT has assumed a fully-effective international carbon trading scheme to be operating after 2030 and hence the carbon costs from air travel are excluded in the economic case. Is this a reasonable approach to be taking? How should carbon costs of air travel be allocated in an appraisal under a scenario of an absent or ineffective international emissions trading scheme?
To this, Mackie and Pearce replied:
SC Q Is the carbon trading approach reasonable?
The approach is reasonable but we cannot comment either on the probability of a fully effective international carbon trading scheme being in place in the timeframe, nor on the striking price of carbon and its trend over time.
We note that a significant proportion of international aviation CO2 emissions are covered by those States that has already committed to participating in the voluntary first phase of the ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which suggests there is a reasonable chance for a scheme being in place from 2020. This will not be a trading scheme but a cap-and-offset mechanism, so the carbon price faced by airlines and their passengers will be determined by the cost of offsetting carbon reduction investments. Since the marginal abatement cost curve for carbon reductions to take place within aviation is so steep i.e. it quickly gets very costly for airlines to make reductions beyond normal fuel efficiency gains, airlines would be meeting the cap of a trading scheme through investing in offsets anyway, so the planned CORSIA cap-andoffset scheme can be treated as equivalent to a trading scheme. The effectiveness of such a scheme, as we have seen with the EU ETS, will depend on how rigorously States enforce a cap that is sufficiently below baseline emissions to change behaviour. The use of the BIES traded carbon prices as an input into the forecast price of air travel to model the impact of such a scheme on demand, and then the use of domestic measures to further reduce UK international aviation emissions to the 37.5 MtCO2 planning assumptions looks to us to be a sensible approach.
In the absence of such a scheme (ie an actual carbon price) we would need to fall back on a shadow cost of carbon approach with the aviation sector included in the UK aggregate emissions budget in some appropriate way. The shadow cost would then be that required to bring aggregate carbon emissions to the constrained target level at each point in time. In comparing various Do Something cases with the Reference Case, the difference in the carbon shadow costs would then enter the CBA table as an unpriced real resource cost. We conjecture that in that situation, the net cost of carbon emissions would be higher than in the world carbon trading scenario.
The Transport Select Committee asked, on carbon emissions:
Landing costs rising at Heathrow:
The DfT also seems to have assumed that any changes in airports charges at an expanded Heathrow airport would be absorbed by the airlines, rather than being passed through to passengers. Is this a realistic assumption to be making? What effect might a real change in airfares, because of higher landing charges, have on passenger demand at an expanded Heathrow Airport? The demand growth profile for an expanded Heathrow has also changed to that forecast by the Airports Commission. The DfT have now forecast capacity at the airport to fill-up within the space of two-years from 2026. Putting aside the debate around the plausibility of the opening date, this seems to be a highly optimistic assumption made by the DfT…..
To this, Mackie and Pearce replied:
SC Q What effect might a real change in airfares because of higher landing charges have on passenger demand at an expanded Heathrow?
It would have a dampening effect by partially offsetting the reduction in shadow costs. We think it is important that the economic case and the financial case should be in reasonable synch. As we understand it, the Department’s main case assumes that the benefit of the reduced shadow cost will be fully passed through to travellers while increases in landing charges to fund the infrastructure will be absorbed by airlines. This particular combination seems a bit unlikely. In their sensitivity analysis of October 2016, the Department tested the sensitivity of demand and benefits to alternative pass through assumptions, but decided not to change the basis of their main case in this respect.
Going beyond this particular question, this could be seen as one of a series of questions about the appraisal which include the appropriateness of the 60 year appraisal period and the use of the public sector discount rate for a scheme which is predominantly funded from private revenue streams (aero charges and ancillary revenues).
Letter from two expert economic advisors to the Airports Commission:
A Note from Expert Advisors, Prof. Peter Mackie and Mr Brian Pearce, on key issues considering the Airports Commission Economic Case
Two extracts from that letter:
“Our assessment of the PWC approach is that there is a high degree of overlap between the direct and wider impacts. So for example a benefit accruing proximately to a business traveller going abroad to negotiate an export contract might also show up as a trade effect. We think there is likely to be some double counting between the direct and wider impact channels in the PWC calculations”
“Furthermore the interpretation of the result – what exactly do they mean and is their basis transparent – is an issue. Overall, therefore, we counsel caution in attaching significant weight either to the absolute or relative results of the GDP/GVA SCGE approach (PwC report) within the Economic Case. We would accept that there is some useful indicative material for the Strategic Case but care is required in assessing its robustness and reliability.”
Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, made several assertions when he appeared before the inquiry on the Airports National Policy Statement, held by the Transport Select Committee on 7th February. When questioned about Heathrow’s regional connectivity, he confirmed that many of the domestic routes, promised by Heathrow, would not be commercially viable and would require taxpayer funded Public Service Obligation (PSO) subsidy orders, if they were to ever materialise. Grayling also confirmed that, although up to 121,000 residents around the airport would be expected to suffer the impact of the further air pollution concentrations, likely to flow from the extra flights required to meet the DfT’s own recently updated passenger demand forecasts, the government was yet to undertake any work to assess those impacts. Mr Grayling also confirmed that there would be a ‘real risk’ of non-compliance on air quality, were Heathrow to expand, and that the Government’s own analysis expects that risk to be heightened in the years 2026 – 2030. He also confirmed that the 3rd runway would mean a reduction in respite from noise, for adversely impacted residents. Details with extracts from transcripts at the link below. Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway coalition commented on the NPS that “To proceed on the basis of evidence that unravels, on scrutiny, would simply be unacceptable”.
Grayling makes key admissions at Transport Committee appearance
7th February 2018 (No 3rd Runway Coalition)
Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, made several assertions when he appeared before the inquiry on the Airports National Policy Statement, held by the Transport Select Committee (TSC), on Wednesday afternoon (7 February).
When questioned about Heathrow’s regional connectivity, he confirmed that many of the domestic routes, promised by Heathrow, would not be commercially viable and would require taxpayer funded Public Service Obligation (PSO) subsidy orders, if they were to ever materialise (1. See section copied below); adding that he was unable to comment on any specific routes, as it would be up to the market to determine which might become economic, and then for the Treasury to determine whether financial assistance should be offered.
The Secretary of State also confirmed that, although up to 121,000 residents around the airport would be expected to suffer the impact of the further air pollution concentrations, likely to flow from the extra flights required to meet the DfT’s own recently updated passenger demand forecasts (2. See section copied below), the government was yet to undertake any work to assess those impacts.
Mr Grayling also confirmed that there would be a ‘real risk’ of non-compliance on air quality, were Heathrow to expand, and that the Government’s own analysis expects that risk to be heightened in the years 2026 – 2030. (3. See section copied below)
While acknowledging that the proposed Western Rail Access, into Heathrow, remains unfunded, the Secretary of State sought to re-assure the TSC that it would eventually happen (4. See section copied below).
When it was suggested that respite for overflown residents would fall from half a day, to just one third of a day, were Heathrow to operate a Third Runway, the Secretary of State confirmed that a reduction in respite from noise, for adversely impacted residents, could be expected (5. See section copied below).
The Secretary of State appeared before the committee, two days after Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye (Monday, 5th Feb). On that occasion, the Heathrow boss appeared dismayed when TSC member, Huw Merriman MP, revealed that he had already observed the case for a Third Runway “unravelling” in previous sessions of the committee’s enquiry.
John Holland-Kaye was then confronted with information presented by Committee Chair Lilian Greenwood MP which showed – despite the Heathrow boss’s claim that the number of polluting vehicular journeys to the airport had been in decline – that the percentage mode-share of vehicles using Heathrow had virtually flat lined over the past 10 years, from 62% in 2007/8 to 61% now (6. See section copied below).
Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:
“Developing arguments to justify a third runway for Heathrow was always going to be about pushing squares through round holes. Heathrow, which lies bang slap in the middle of the most densely populated residential region in the country, is already highly disruptive, and the extra noise and pollution that will inevitably flow from its expansion will adversely impact hundreds of thousands of people. To proceed on the basis of evidence that unravels, on scrutiny, would simply be unacceptable“
The Transport Committee has been tasked with examining the draft Airports National Policy Statement and will produce a report to Government before the end of March. Parliament is expected to vote on a final Airports NPS by the summer.
The No 3rd Runway Coalition appeared as a witness to the Transport Committee on 15 January 2018
A significant amount of support for Heathrow has come
from the expectation that it will create great opportunities for domestic
connectivity. How many new domestic routes will an expanded Heathrow
It is difficult to give you an exact answer on routes,
because that is to a significant degree dictated by the market. Clearly,
there are some routes that are supported by the public purse because
they are of strategic importance. Let me focus here on slot allocation
rather than route numbers.
Our view is that we would expect to reserve up to about 15% of slots on
the new runway for domestic connections. They are a really essential part
of the case for this. I have been very clear that there has to be capacity
that is available only for domestic connections, and that that capacity has
to be spread across the day; it cannot be loads of slots at 11 o’clock at
night. We will make provision, through the process of the NPS and the
DCO process that follows it, to ensure that there is specific reserved
capacity for regional connections within the United Kingdom.
Beyond that, it is for the market to decide which routes to pursue,
subject to the fact that we will continue, as we do today, to support some
routes that are of strategic importance to the country. I suspect,
however, that a good connection from Newquay to Heathrow will not
need much support from the public purse.
Q479 Steve Double:
Let’s hope not. You have alluded to the fact that some of
these new routes are not likely to be commercially viable, so you see
very much a role for the Government with PSO supporting those routes.
I think there will be. Heathrow itself has identified a
number of airports to which it expects to have connections. I expect that
most, if not all, of those will be commercially viable. The fact is that the
demand for air travel has grown significantly. There is a need for better
connections around the UK. People are flying to Amsterdam rather than
being able to transfer within the United Kingdom.
I am not pessimistic about this at all. I think we will see a rapid move
into domestic connections and more competition as well. At the moment,
the slots are concentrated very much in a small number of carriers. There
are substantial UK carriers—for example, easyJet—that currently do not
go into Heathrow but would be very likely to do so, and, when doing so,
would open new regional connections themselves.
I see a competition benefit and, as a result, a fall in fares into Heathrow
from regional airports, and I see a wide spread of routes emerging as a
result of this. Obviously, we would consider support for a destination that
was strategically important, but I do not think this will be an issue. The
demand to get into Heathrow is enormous.
2. On local air pollution – number affected:
The analysis showed that 121,000 people were affected by worse air quality, and that number has not changed since the new demand forecasts were put into the appraisal. That does not sound as if the new demand forecasts have been incorporated; otherwise, you would have expected that number to change, wouldn’t you?
I would have to check what that number is and where it is set out. What we put out in the consultation was the level of NOx emissions compared with the 40 microgram limit value on the various link nodes that would be affected by expansion at Heathrow. We put out updated data for all of those link nodes. I would have to check the number of people affected statistically and where that sits in the analysis.
I think that is in the 2 km perimeter around the airport. It is based on 47,000 households; 121,000 people are affected by worse air quality.
Within that perimeter, the approach taken, based on independent expert advice, is that that is the actual footprint of additional emissions from the airport itself. There is a significant issue around air quality, because a number of the analyses that have been brought forward in the discussion generally wrap in issues that go way beyond the airport.
I do not really want to get into that.
But in this particular case that is an assessment of a geographic area around the airport that has not changed.
I am sure we will come back to questions about air quality, but you asked why we thought the updated forecasts had not been built in. It is because the number of people affected has not been updated. One would have expected that, if there were higher demand forecasts, it would impact on that number.
That is the number of people who live in that geographic area, rather than the number of people travelling through, if I understand correctly what you are referring to, but it sounds as though we should check that we are talking about the same thing.
But you would expect more pollution and, therefore, that it would affect more people.
The expert advice is that the impact would go up to 2 km from the airport. That has not changed.
Q496 Steve Double:
The same number of people would be affected.
Q497 Steve Double:
But it may have a greater impact on those people.
The further air quality analysis then goes on to show whether it does or does not through the dispersal techniques that the Secretary of State is referring to, but the physical number of people is a static number, if that is the number you are referring to.
I was not aware that it was a population of people, as opposed to a population of people affected.
That is right.
3. On local air pollution – risk of it stopping the runway:
Q538 Daniel Zeichner:
I understand that, but also that most recent evidence,
particularly in those years between 2026 and 2030, suggests that there is
a high risk of breaching air quality compliance at that point, and yet the
NPS states that it is capable of taking place within legal limits. Given all
the issues that have been raised in the last couple of years, how can you
be so confident that there are not going to be strong legal challenges on
air quality compliance?
That does not reflect mitigation measures. The
do-nothing scenario is that it comes pretty close. With mitigation
measures—and we are going to see mitigation measures across our
society because this is a problem that we are all going to have to deal
with generally before we get to that point—I expressed the view that
Heathrow itself will have to take individual steps, of which the most
obvious is to create a low emission zone for those coming into and out of
the airport. If you drive a high emission vehicle into the airport, you pay
to do so, and in doing so you have the effect that other low emission
zones such as the Mayor’s T-charge are designed to achieve. Mitigation
measures are not taken into account in that analysis. As we have said,
clearly, if it is going to breach the limits, it can’t happen. If it is going to
breach the limits, there will have to be mitigation measures.
I am sorry to jump in. Wasn’t the modelling reassessed after the
air quality plan was done so that it did take account of mitigations? It is
just a matter of factual accuracy that I am trying to check.
It takes account of the Mayor’s plan, on which he has
been consulting, but it does not take account of anything additional that
the Mayor might do if it seems that we are in the top part of that range
that you talk about, and it does not take account of anything the airport
might do. So, the Secretary of State has said that the airport is
consulting on a low emission zone. That would have a significant impact
on the types of cars that are being triggered by airport expansion.
So there is a level of mitigation that has already been taken into
account in the modelling.
We have taken it into account on the national air quality
strategy in the second bout of modelling. What we have not taken into
account is specific Heathrow-related mitigations.
Q541 Daniel Zeichner:
In effect, the Mayor can be trying to improve air
quality in general. He may be pushing water upstream, if we are not
careful, because you will be making it more difficult for him.
If you look at the analysis we have done, the increment
related to Heathrow is very small.
Q542 Daniel Zeichner:
What is your assessment of the risk that the
development consent order will be refused on the grounds of air quality
We do not think that that will happen. We think that, for
a variety of different reasons, the airport will be able to meet those
targets, but, if it is required to do so, it will need to put in mitigation
measures such as a low emission zone. My own view is that that is
something that they should seek to do.
Q543 Daniel Zeichner:
But it is a real risk, is it not?
Not if they put in place appropriate mitigation measures.
If they do not and if they ignore the issue, yes, of course it is a risk. But
they are not going to because they want the runway to happen.
Q544 Daniel Zeichner:
The NPS has a condition saying that approval will only
be granted if the scheme avoids significant adverse impacts on health
and quality of life from noise. Should there not be an equivalent condition
applied to air quality?
There is. It has to meet what are nationally and
internationally-set air quality limits. The airport will have to conform to
the air quality laws.
Q545 Daniel Zeichner:
Basically, what you are saying is that if these things
are not achieved then it cannot go ahead.
4. Heathrow payment for rail scheme upgrades:
Q555 Luke Pollard:
In the evidence we heard from Transport for London, it
suggested that the surface access upgrades necessary for an expanded
Heathrow would be in the region of £15 billion. The Airports Commission
says it is about £5 billion. There does seem to be a big discrepancy
between these two figures. I am trying to get at what the difference is.
Far be it for me to be mischievous, but I suspect
Transport for London would be very keen to secure massive contributions
to transport schemes across west London. There is no reason for what I
have described to cost anything like £15 billion. HS2 has already arrived
and Crossrail is nearly finished. The costs of western and southern rail
access would be a little in excess of £1 billion, but not massively so. I do
not see where the number of £15 billion comes from, to be honest.
Q556 Luke Pollard:
So the number that you are looking at is less than £5
Q557 Luke Pollard:
Do you have a figure for how much that would be?
In a world of rail projects, putting an exact figure on
them is probably fairly rash, but it is certainly not £15 billion. I am sure
that Transport for London would love to have £15 billion spent on
transport in London, but the reality is that I do not see why the mix of
projects I have talked about needs to come anywhere remotely close to
Q558 Luke Pollard:
How much do you think Heathrow will eventually
contribute to surface access costs?
As much as we can get out of them. As they have said
to you, they have set aside provisions within this. They will need to pay
for the roads. The railways have committed to contributing to the rail
links. We are going to do the best possible deal for the taxpayer. Some of
this they are doing; some of it we will contribute to, because not all the
benefits derive from it. Some of these projects are Heathrow-related
alone. We will do the best possible deal for the taxpayer.
5. Respite to be reduced with 3rd runway:
Q569 Iain Stewart:
An issue of huge concern to the communities around Heathrow is the respite periods. The NPS states that the northwest runway will offer more predictable periods of respite, although the period will fall from half a day to a third of a day. What does that mean in practice? It is very vague, and the people we have heard from want more clarity as to what the impact will be on their communities.
The key point here is that, at the moment, Heathrow operates in a way that means that half the flightpaths—two out of the four—do not have a plane flying over them at any one time. With three runways, one will operate in mixed mode normally, and that means that, of the six, two out of the six at any one time will not have planes flying overhead. That is clearly a change. It means less respite for some areas than they have at the moment. We will want to try to mitigate that through smart use of the approach technology.
This is one of the benefits I expect to come out of the airspace modernisation. We will try to provide as fairly as possible a mix of approaches to the airport that gives people some degree of certainty and as much respite as possible. It is worth remembering that this is a key thing to differentiate it with Gatwick.
The analysis—not necessarily the airport’s plans—is predicated on two, fully-mixed mode runways operating all the time and over a very long period of time. The other thing to say is that, unlike at present, we want to move to a clear six-and-a-half-hour ban on night flights, rigorously enforced. I think that is a necessary quid pro quo given the other respite issues.
6. From the Holland-Kaye session, on the flat number of passengers arriving at Heathrow by car:
I just want to come back to something you said about the proportion of people travelling to Heathrow by car. I think you said it had increased, but on the figures I have in front of me in 2007-08 it was around 60% or 62%, and in 2016 it is still 61%. Has it not just been very flat throughout that time and there has not been that improvement in the mode share?
People travelling to the airport by public transport?
No; by car.
I guess it would be the inverse. The significant changes that we have seen in public transport use for passengers have been where we have had new capacity coming in on rail schemes. When Heathrow Express opened, that saw a significant change in mode share. It makes up about 10% of all usage and is increasing at the moment.
If people are using rail rather than AN Other form of public transport, that is not really a help if we still have 60% or 61% travelling to Heathrow by car if we are concerned about congestion at the airport.
Just to be clear, if we look over that period, we have seen an improvement in public transport mode share from rail and the whole range of public transport mode share. People have been getting out of their cars.
It is virtually flat in the last 10 years from the information we have.
The period I am talking about is over 25 years. That takes into account the introduction of Heathrow Express, which was 15 or 16 years ago. That might be before the period that you are looking at. I can write to the Committee separately to lay out how that has worked. If you imagine yourself in east London at the moment, it is not particularly easy to get to Heathrow if you want to come here. With Crossrail, Canary Wharf will be a little over 30 minutes, and Stratford not much more than that. That really opens up Heathrow to the whole of east London. That is a benefit not just for passengers but also for people who work at the airport. That is a really significant part of the journeys coming into Heathrow.
The earlier hearing on 5th February, questioning John Holland Kaye:
The Hansard transcript of the Holland-Kaye session is at
Giving evidence to MPs at the Transport Select Committee, on the proposed 3rd runway, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed those living in areas like Greater Manchester ‘needed Heathrow’ to sustain business links with the world. But Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, has accused him of making ‘misleading claims’ about its importance to Manchester passengers – and the UK economy. Holland-Kaye also claimed that the services Manchester had won – like Cathay Pacific’s direct route to Hong Kong – were thanks to Heathrow trail-blazing the route first. He tried to make out that Heathrow has a ‘unique’ position in providing long haul routes to countries like China, despite Manchester’s existing Beijing route along with Guangzhou and Shanghai services in the pipeline. Heathrow clams these are vital for business, despite admitting most passengers are not on business – they just facilitate more flights to destinations where business might be done. Heathrow always says, as its mantra, that “only” Heathrow can provide “connectivity” to world destinations. Andrew Cowan said Heathrow continues to make misleading claims about its benefit to the UK economy, and Heathrow “is far from being unique in connecting UK businesses to global markets.” Manchester is important for the Northern Powerhouse, jobs in the north and rebalancing UK economic growth.
Heathrow Airport boss claims people living in Greater Manchester ‘need Heathrow’
Giving evidence to MPs over the proposed £14bn third runway at Heathrow, chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed those living in areas like Greater Manchester ‘needed Heathrow’ to sustain business links with the world
By Charlotte Cox (Manchester Evening News)
7 FEB 2018
The boss of Manchester Airport has accused Heathrow’s chief of making ‘misleading claims’ about its importance to Manchester passengers – and the UK economy.
Giving evidence to MPs over the proposed £14bn third runway at Heathrow, chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed those living in areas like Greater Manchester ‘needed Heathrow’ to sustain business links with the world.
Mr Holland-Kaye also claimed that the services Manchester had won – like Cathay Pacific’s direct route to Hong Kong – were thanks to Heathrow trail-blazing the route first.
He emphasised the Heathrow’s ‘unique’ position to provide routes to countries like China, despite Manchester’s existing Beijing route along with Guangzhou and Shanghai services in the pipeline.
Mr Holland-Kaye said: “What is unique about a hub airport like Heathrow is that we can develop long-haul connections typically to the business destinations that the UK needs in order to grow its economy. It is important not just for London but for the whole of the UK that we are connecting all of Britain to the growing markets of the world.”
He said Heathrow needed to be the ‘main port of entry’ from China, adding: “We need to make sure that all of the UK benefits from connectivity, and only Heathrow expansion can deliver that.”
His statement riled Andrew Cowan, Manchester Airport CEO. Currently in India to progress intended routes to Delhi and Mumbai – and on a leadership team battling for a direct route to Shanghai – he said: “It is concerning that Heathrow continues to make misleading claims about its role in the UK economy.
“Contrary to Heathrow’s claim, it is far from being unique in connecting UK businesses to global markets.”
Mr Cowan argued that with its new services to China, the US and the Middle East in recent years, Manchester Airport had shown it’s the ‘North’s global gateway’.
Insisting the hub plays a huge role in driving the Northern Powerhouse forward, he added: “The truth is that airports across the UK are doing far more to support jobs and stimulate regional economic growth than Heathrow ever will. The next 10 years will be crucial for the UK economy and for rebalancing economic growth.
“That’s why we need Government and politicians to focus on what they can do now to support growth and improved connectivity across the UK – and not be misled by Heathrow’s suggestion that it somehow has a monopoly on connecting Britain to the world.”
During the hearing with MPs, Mr Holland-Kaye added: “What we see happening typically in global aviation for long-haul destinations is that network carriers operating out of a hub airport are growing the number of destinations they serve; they are adding more secondary cities. A good example would be Cathay Pacific, which has recently started a four-day-a-week service from Hong Kong to Manchester.
“That is fantastic connectivity for Manchester and is exactly the right thing for the UK. That is on the back of having eight direct flights a day to Hong Kong every day of the year from Heathrow.
“We have been able to help develop trade via Heathrow for Manchester businesses that are now being served directly.
“That is a very good thing to have, but it is not a substitute for hub connectivity. Hong Kong to Heathrow is one of the busiest airline routes in the world; it is absolutely right that other cities should be able to develop connections, but it will be a long time before Manchester has a direct flight to Mexico City, or to some of the secondary cities in China that it desperately needs to be trading with.
“Until that time, Heathrow will be able to fill the gap and make sure that we are helping businesses in Manchester, Scotland, Belfast or the west to develop.”
It comes just a week after the UK signed a deal with China for 50 more weekly flights – all for non-London airports.
400-space car park for Manchester Airport is fighting to stay open after operating for six years without planning permission
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has awarded the rights for airline Hainan to fly Manchester to Guangzhou – with a commercial deal yet to be done.
Figures show that in its first year, the Manchester-Hong Kong connection boosted demand for travel between the north and China by 25 per cent.
A public consultation on the planned third runway at Heathrow was reopened last year due to new evidence on issues including noise pollution and air quality.
But the Department for Transport has insisted it is on track to be signed off by parliament. The airport hopes to begin construction in early 2021, with the runway completed by the end of 2025.
Mr Holland-Kaye was speaking at the Transport Select Committee which will be sitting all this week.
Manchester Airport currently serves 210 destinations while Heathrow has 180 destinations.
UK and China renew bilateral deal so each could have 100 return flights (up from 40) per week
October 12, 2016
The DfT has renewed the bilateral aviation agreement with China, to allow more weekly flights between the two countries. Until now, the limit had been 40 flights by UK airlines to China per week, and 40 flights by Chinese airlines to the UK. This has been raised to 100 flights each. There will be no limit on the number of all-cargo services (but most Heathrow freight goes as belly hold, not separate freighter). Currently Chinese airlines operate 38 flights a week between the two countries, and UK airlines operate 29. (Not enough demand for the 40). The only UK airports that have flights to China are Heathrow and Manchester. The earlier deal was that any UK airline could serve a maximum of 6 separate airports in China. Now UK airlines can operate to anywhere in mainland China. Laying on the hype, Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, said the deal was a “big moment for the UK”. However, airlines will have to decide whether it makes sense to use the extra capacity to offer new Chinese flights to and from China, with doubtful demand, when transatlantic routes are more profitable. The hope is probably for more UK business and UK exports. The DfT ignores the problem that the UK imports from China more than twice as much as it exports to China. More flights may exacerbate that. House of Commons Library data says that: “In 2014, UK exports to China were worth £18.7 billion. Imports from China were £38.3 billion. The UK had a trade deficit of £19.6 billion with China.” Flights to and from Hong Kong are in a separate bilateral deal.
Manchester Airport MD says UK needs a national aviation policy to address north-south economic divide
October 1, 2016
Ken O’Toole, who is the Managing Director of Manchester airport, (and on the board of Manchester Airports Group), says government ‘paranoia’ over Heathrow expansion harms efforts to close the north-south economic divide – and this means the “northern powerhouse” risks being derailed. He says there is an “over-emphasis on the south-east at the expense of everywhere else”. Ministers needed to draw up a national aviation policy to address the north-south economic divide. Though he was confident that Theresa May’s government was supportive of ex-chancellor George Osborne’s “northern powerhouse” agenda, there was a lack of a national aviation policy behind the strategy. Manchester airport is part of the northern powerhouse agenda, in part because it deals with much of the business travel into the north of England. The MAG owns Manchester and Stansted airports, the 3rd and 4th largest by passenger numbers in the UK. With the over-emphasis on the south east, Mr O’Toole believes the south east should not over-shadow the north or the rest of the UK. Manchester airport is the only airport other than Heathrow, with two runways. While it has 25 million (or fewer till recently) passengers per year it has capacity for 55 million, and “could overtake Gatwick to become the UK’s second-biggest airport within 15 to 20 years.”
Manchester Airport rubbishes claims Heathrow expansion is crucial for Northern Powerhouse to succeed
June 21, 2016
The boss of Manchester Airport, Ken O’Toole, has rubbished Heathrow’s claims that a new London runway is crucial to the Northern Powerhouse. He argues that Manchester is an international airport in its own right with many direct long-haul routes. He says Manchester airport could make up any long haul capacity gap over the next 15 years and beyond “if the country adopts a culture of healthy competition.” Manchester started a direct service to Beijing last week, giving the North its first ever non-stop flight to mainland China. But Heathrow continually tries to persuade that, without a third Heathrow runway, northern businesses would lose “up to £710m” per year. Manchester airport believes it can have a range of long haul flights, not only to tourist destinations – mentioning important markets like “Singapore, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and, from next March, San Francisco.” If people can get flights to these destinations direct from Manchester, they do not need to – inconveniently – travel via Heathrow. Ken O’Toole says some 22 million people live within two hours’ drive of Manchester Airport. They have a huge amount of spare capacity on their two runways. Heathrow is very nervous of losing the transfer traffic it cannot manage without, to either other hubs like Schiphol or Dubai – or the growth of airports like Manchester.
Hainan Airlines direct flights (4 per week) from Manchester to Beijing start on June 10th
May 26, 2016
Hainan Airlines will start flying (4 times per week) from Manchester Airport to Beijing from June 10th, as the first direct service from the north of England to mainland China. There are already flights from Manchester to Hong Kong. Some businesses including tourism hope this “will deliver a major boost to the region.” The University of Manchester is reported to believe the link will be a significant benefit to students. Faster air links to emerging markets could boost UK exports (they could also boost UK imports, which generally exceed exports). There are the usual comments like: “The Manchester Airport expansion shows that the city is ready to become an outward looking economic powerhouse” and there is even an expectation that it “will deliver an economic boost to the UK worth £250m” (no details or time-scale given …. it never is). Currently, more than 100,000 people from the North (about 6,350 from North Wales) fly to mainland China every year but have to travel indirectly via London or other overseas hubs. Manchester hopes that the flights will bring “hundreds of thousands of tourists to this part of the world every year.” North Wales Tourism and Bangor University have both praised the new service to Beijing and hope it “will unlock new opportunities for the area.” Many thousands more people will not need to use Heathrow for their travel to China.
Manchester airport granted planning consent for huge programme of building works on terminals etc
March 4, 2016
Manchester airport has huge expansion plans. The City Council’s planning committee has approved part of a £1bn building plan. The Manchester Airport Transformation Programme (MAN-TP) will expand and reconfigure Terminal 2, as a “super terminal” with a new elevated road, and a 7-storey car park and also reconfigure Terminal 3. It wants to demolish Terminal One and its car park. The airport hopes over the next decade the project “will see the airport continue to develop as a global gateway for the UK, directly to and from the North.” The airport sees itself as a key part of the Northern Powerhouse idea. The expansion will also create space for 50 food and retail businesses – (airports need to boost profits.) Local Ringway Parish Council are deeply opposed to the planned developments, and say the airport is “our worse enemy.” They have been fighting the airport’s plans for decades. Ringway PC says the impact on the environment will be ‘massive’. “They build on farmland, knock down old houses and they just don’t care. They don’t care about the environment, about small villages being decimated …It’s a one-sided exercise, because planning applications from the airport will always be waved through.” The building will overshadow local houses, make the roads busier and worsen noise pollution.
Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, appeared before the Commons Transport Select Committee to give evidence for their inquiry into the proposed 3rd runway (the Airports NPS inquiry). He tried to defend claims that the runway, and 50% more flights, would result in a cut in road traffic connected with the airport. He tried to insist the airport’s pledges on air quality levels would be met if a 3rd runway went ahead. The comments came after Tory MP and committee member Huw Merriman said that a number of airport commitments had “somewhat unravelled”. Heathrow are trying to persuade MPs etc that they have a “triple lock” on the problem of air pollution, and it had a “strong plan” to deal with traffic levels. He blames road vehicles, nothing to do with Heathrow, for local air pollution – and gave confusing evidence about whether Heathrow could, or could not, count the number of vehicle journeys associated with the airport. (If they cannot count them, then cannot confirm they have not increased …). Asked if he could make a “firm commitment” that landing charges would not increase, Mr Holland-Kaye told MPs: “At this stage I couldn’t….” And he blathered when asked by Lilian Greenwood about the financial benefits of Heathrow, if it only reached a 50% increase in flights over 10 – 15 years, not just a few.
Heathrow chief plays down environmental impact of airport expansion
John Holland-Kaye insisted that air quality is a key concern.
Heathrow’s chief executive has defended claims that a major expansion of the airport would see a cut in road traffic connected to the transport hub.
Appearing before the Commons Transport Committee, John Holland-Kaye insisted pledges on air quality levels would be met if a third runway went ahead.
The comments came after Tory MP and committee member Huw Merriman said that a number of airport commitments had “somewhat unravelled”.
Mr Holland-Kaye insisted Heathrow would be able to keep to promises such as “no new cars on the road” after any expansion.
He said: “It is linked to the question around air quality. We have to make sure that we are fully complying with EU air quality standards, which we will do.
“And we have a triple-lock plan which will help to make sure that we can do that.”
The Heathrow chief said a “strong plan” had been drawn up to deal with traffic levels.
He said: “The issue with air quality is not about the planes, it is about cars on the road.”
Mr Holland-Kaye said expansion of the airport would cut costs for travellers.
He told MPs: “We should also be concerned about the end price passengers pay for their tickets.
“And there is no question that there will be more competition and choice on routes into Heathrow, that the price of passenger tickets will come down.”
The Department for Transport is due to publish final proposals for a third runway at Heathrow in the first half of the year for a vote in Parliament.
If the scheme is approved, the airport will submit a planning application after consulting local communities on detailed proposals.
It hopes to begin construction in early 2021, with the runway completed by the end of 2025.
The third runway was due to cost about £16.8 billion, but Heathrow claims it can complete the project for £14 billion.
Airlines have expressed concerns that landing charges could be hiked to help pay for the investment, but the airport insists that the charges – currently around £22 per passenger – will remain “close to today’s levels”.
Asked if he could make a “firm commitment” that landing charges would not increase, Mr Holland-Kaye told MPs: “At this stage I couldn’t. It would be a mistake at this stage to make any guarantee on particular costs.”
The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman has found 3,073 late-night flights (between 21.31 and 23.59 GMT) occurred at Belfast City Airport between 2008 and early 2016, and there was maladministration by a Stormont department over these late-night flights. The Ombudsman said there had been “a series of failures” by the former Department of the Environment (DoE) which for several years did not gather data on late-night flight movements “on a regular and systematic basis”. The investigation was carried out after a complaint was made by Belfast City Airport Watch, which represents residents. The Ombudsman said the DoE should have had an “agreed understanding” of what the night time restrictions meant in practice, so people living close to the airport knew “what was intended by this obligation”. It has recommended an operational definition should now be reached between the Department for Infrastructure, which has replaced the DoE, and the airport. A spokesperson for Belfast City Airport Watch said “We have spent years trying to convince the authorities they needed to take action on this issue. What is important now is that the department acts on the report’s recommendations as quickly as possible.”
Belfast City Airport late-night flight ‘failures’ criticised
By Julian O’Neill (BBC News NI Business Correspondent)
2 February 2018
The ombudsman found 3,073 late-night flights occurred at Belfast City Airport between 2008 and early 2016
A watchdog has found there was maladministration by a Stormont department over late-night flights at George Best Belfast City Airport.
Flights operating between 21:31 and 23.59 GMT are only permitted in “exceptional circumstances”.
But the ombudsman found 3,073 such flights between 2008 and early 2016.
The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman said there had been “a series of failures” by the former Department of the Environment (DoE).
For several years, the DoE did not gather data on late-night flight movements “on a regular and systematic basis”, it said.
The investigation was carried out after a complaint was made by Belfast City Airport Watch, which represents residents.
Under its planning agreement, the airport is allowed to facilitate delayed flights – but only in “exceptional” situations.
However, the ombudsman said the department should have had an “agreed understanding” of what this meant in practice, so people living close to the airport knew “what was intended by this obligation”.
It has recommended an operational definition should now be reached between the Department for Infrastructure, which has replaced the DoE, and the airport.
A complaint was made to the ombudsman on behalf of Belfast City Airport Watch, which claimed the airport was “abusing the exceptional circumstances clause”.
A spokesperson for Belfast City Airport said it was “fully compliant” with its operating agreement.
Spokesperson Mari Fitzduff said: “We have spent years trying to convince the authorities they needed to take action on this issue.
“What is important now is that the department acts on the report’s recommendations as quickly as possible.”
A spokesman for the airport said it was “fully compliant” with its operating agreement, adding: “No airport in the world operates without delays.”
The 3,073 flights “accounted for only 1.04% of all total aircraft movements” during the period in question, added the spokesman.
Ombudsman finds Department for Infrastructure guilty of maladministration for failure to enforce late flights rule
Feb 2nd 2018
Residents affected by aircraft noise from George Best Belfast City Airport have welcomed a report by the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman, Marie Anderson, which is heavily critical of the failure by the Department for Infrastructure to properly enforce the airport’s late flights rule i.e. to permit no flights beyond the 9.30 p.m. deadline except in exceptional circumstances.
In response to the Ombudsman’s enquiries, the Department stated that the 3000 plus flights that took place over a 7 year period were ‘exceptional’. They had however no definition for ‘exceptional’.
Ombudsman also noted that the Department failed to gather data on a regular and systematic basis on late flight movements from 2008 to 2011 for the purpose of monitoring the Airport’s compliance with the 2008 Planning Agreement;
The Department failed to investigate BCAWL’s complaint thoroughly and provide adequate responses to concerns raised.
The report found the Department’s failure amounted to maladministration, and made a number of recommendations:
o The Department should enter into discussions with the Airport with a view to establishing an operational definition of ‘exceptional circumstances’
o The Department should establish and implement operating procedures for analysing data, record keeping and reasons for monitoring decisions.
o The Department should also provide training to ensure that staff are aware of the importance of responding to complaints in an effective manner.
In addition, the Department are required to make a compensatory payment of £1000 together with an apology to BCAWL to effect a fair settlement of the matters complained of. The report notes:
‘This payment reflects the injustice of frustration, outrage and uncertainty relating to the Department’s maladministration in regard to the 2008 Planning Agreement. It also reflects the injustice of frustration and uncertainty about the complaint handling and time and trouble in pursuing the complaint’.
Speaking on behalf of the residents’ group, Belfast City Airport Watch, Steering Group member Professor Mari Fitzduff said residents were delighted with the ruling:
“We have spent years trying to convince the authorities that they needed to take action on this issue,” she said. “Our case was dismissed by the Department but now, finally, we have been vindicated. We hope this will mean that long-suffering residents can finally look forward to peace and quiet in the late evening and night-time.
“What’s important now is that the Department acts on the report’s recommendations as quickly as possible.”
The planning agreement states that late flights should not occur after 9.30pm, except in ‘exceptional circumstances’. But the airport’s own figures show that late flights have occurred, on average, more than once a night, with nearly 500 in 2016 alone.
To support its case, Belfast City Airport Watch carried out an analysis of the reasons provided by the airport for more than 200 late flights. It found that, in most instances, the reasons given were routine ones, such as common technical issues, rather than anything which could be regarded as ‘exceptional’ and out of the ordinary.
One local person who has welcomed the Ombudsman’s ruling is Sydenham resident, Elizabeth Bennett (76). She lives under the flight path and is a full-time carer to her husband.
“Life is stressful enough for me already, and the planes only add to my stress levels,” she said.
“They start up at 6.30 in the morning and go on until late at night. I’ll certainly be very glad if they stop at 9.30pm as they’re supposed to.”
Another Sydenham resident, Marlene Allen, said late night noise can be a particular problem for children:
“I have two young foster daughters and, when they first arrived, they found the noise quite unsettling,”she said.
“I’ve also complained to the airport, only to have the phone put down on me.
“The government needs to act on this and I’m glad the Ombudsman has recognized that.”
The ruling has also been welcomed by Jessica Barreda, who lives in the Ravenhill area of south Belfast, under the flight path. She has two children, Chloe (9) and Adam (6). She also found complaining to the airport did not work:
“As a family, we find the noise really stressful and annoying,” she explained.
“If we’re out in the garden, we can’t really enjoy yourselves properly because there’s planes constantly going overhead and we can’t hear each other talk.
“Late flights are especially frustrating because we’re supposed to get a break from the noise after 9.30pm.
“I complained to the airport numerous times about late flights but they never took any action. I hope things are going to change now that this report’s been published.”
Belfast City Airport Watch comprises 13 residents’ and community groups across affected areas within east and south Belfast, and north Down, and one trade union branch. It also has 729 individual associate members. For more information on the campaign, visit: www.belfastcityairportwatch.co.uk
British Airways’ owner IAG (Willie Walsh) has called on government to break up Heathrow’s “monopoly” of infrastructure, suggesting to the CAA that other companies could run the different terminals to create competition and cheaper flights for consumers. IAG, which is Heathrow’s largest customer, said the airport’s planned expansion could allow independent firms to create and run new terminals more effectively than Heathrow’s current owners, with lower costs to airlines – and better cost control. IAG is desperate for charges by Heathrow not to rise, to pay for its runway etc. Walsh said: “Heathrow’s had it too good for too long and the government must confirm the CAA’s powers to introduce this type of competition. … This would cut costs, diversify funding and ensure developments are completed on time, leading to a win-win for customers.” BA runs a terminal at JFK airport in New York and there are European examples at Frankfurt and Munich airports. Heathrow has a real problem, becoming ever more clear, with funding for its expansion plans. Chris Grayling has said Heathrow landing charges (already some of the world’s highest) “should be kept as close as possible to current levels.” A vote is due to be held this summer in the Commons on the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS).
British Airways owner calls for breaking up Heathrow monopoly
Create competition to run terminals when third runway is built to keep airfares low, IAG tells government
By Gwyn Topham (Guardian) @GwynTopham
Mon 5 Feb 2018
British Airways’ owner has called on government to break up Heathrow’s “monopoly” of infrastructure, suggesting that other companies could run the different terminals to create competition and cheaper flights for consumers.
IAG said the airport’s planned expansion could allow independent firms to create and run new terminals more effectively than Heathrow’s current owners, with lower costs to airlines.
The proposal from IAG, Heathrow’s dominant customer, to the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, is the latest salvo in its battle to ensure that charges remain low when a third runway is built. IAG argues that fares could be driven up by escalating expenses, but that breaking up Heathrow could lower this risk.
“Heathrow’s had it too good for too long and the government must confirm the CAA’s powers to introduce this type of competition,” said Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive. “This would cut costs, diversify funding and ensure developments are completed on time, leading to a win-win for customers.”
BA runs a terminal at JFK airport in New York, and Walsh said the proposal would ensure that Heathrow focused on cost control. “This is not rocket science. Most major US airports have terminals owned or leased by airlines and there are European examples at Frankfurt and Munich airports. There’s absolutely no reason why this cannot happen at Heathrow.”
The airline has urged the government to make explicit in its national policy statement approving a third runway that airport charges will be capped at current prices. While the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, has said landing charges “should be kept as close as possible to current levels”, the Airports Commission envisioned a steep rise in charges to pay for new infrastructure. Heathrow has since pledged to deliver its runway for £14.3bn.
A spokesperson for Heathrow said the airport was working hard to keep expansion costs down, but added: “Anyone who has had the misfortune of connecting through JFK airport will know this is not a passenger experience we should seek to replicate at Heathrow. At Munich and Frankfurt airports, only one airline dominates – again, something which is against the interests of our passengers.”
Meanwhile, another influential backer of expanding the airport said he would now prefer to build at Gatwick than pursue the current scheme. Jock Lowe, who promoted the Heathrow Hub runway plan shortlisted by the Airports Commission, had previously said that the most important thing was that Heathrow was enlarged. However, he said that the plans had failed to address operational concerns over taxiways and flight paths and would not deliver the promised capacity or respite from noise.
Lowe said: “I imagined Heathrow had better solutions to these issues. But they haven’t published a safety case or given any answers. I worry that at some point it will grind to a halt. There isn’t a solution to some of them – it’s whether government makes a decision with full knowledge of the problems.
“I’d do Gatwick. You can’t have expansion at any price. As it stands, without a safety review, it’s very difficult to back it.”
The Heathrow spokesperson said they were still consulting on designs, including of taxiways, but all would increase capacity safely. “We have unrivalled experience operating a major airport and we are completely confident that we can safely operate 740,000 annual flights with a third runway. This was confirmed independently by the Airports Commission after undertaking the most extensive, in-depth review of aviation in a generation.”
Heathrow’s third runway plans face more parliamentary scrutiny this week when the transport select committee questions Heathrow executives on Monday and Grayling on Wednesday.
A vote is due to be held this summer in the Commons on the national policy statement. Although Heathrow is confident that a majority of MPs would back expansion in a free vote, prominent Conservatives are likely to vote against, and Labour may yet decide to oppose it as a party, with the leadership vehemently anti-expansion.
British Airways owner IAG calls for “Heathrow monopoly” to be broken up to boost competition and cut costs
By Rebecca Smith (City AM)
Monday 5th February 2018
Heathrow says it has become “increasingly confident” of meeting the government’s affordability challenge on expansion (Source: Heathrow)
The boss of British Airways owner IAG has today called for Heathrow’s “monopoly” to be broken up so its terminals can be run by third parties in order to stimulate competition.
The airport’s biggest customer has been vocal in its criticisms of plans for a third runway at Heathrow, with IAG chief executive Willie Walsh saying last month a detailed breakdown of costs was needed to ensure customers are not “ripped off”.
Now, in a new submission to the Civil Aviation Authority, IAG said that Heathrow’s expansion provides an opportunity for independent companies to design, build and run commercial facilities like terminals. It added that competition would also ensure customer charges do not rise to pay for new infrastructure.
IAG said it would also generate better financing options for new infrastructure providing greater transparency and lower risk.
Walsh said today:
Heathrow’s had it too good for too long and the government must confirm the CAA’s powers to introduce this type of competition. This would cut costs, diversify funding and ensure developments are completed on time, leading to a win-win for customers.
The IAG boss said his proposal would also ensure Heathrow “continues to focus on cost control, something it has been reluctant to do in the past”.
Heathrow pointed to JFK airport, saying its terminals are operated by different airlines.
“Anyone who has had the misfortune of connecting through JFK airport will know this is not a passenger experience we should seek to replicate at Heathrow,” a spokesperson for the airport said, adding that it was “against the interests of our passengers” to have one dominant airline.
The airport has launched a consultation on its proposals, as it seeks to slash £2.5bn off expansion, taking the overall cost down to £14bn. Heathrow said it developed the plans in “close cooperation” with airlines and would ensure Heathrow expands with airport charges staying close to current levels.
The call comes with Heathrow bosses facing questions from MPs today over expansion plans for the airport, in the latest evidence session on the government’s airports national policy statement.
Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye and the airport’s executive director for expansion will appear before the Transport Select Committee today, with transport secretary Chris Grayling facing MPs on the matter on Wednesday.
The leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia, has criticised Heathrow’s current consultation and hit out at its ‘fatally flawed’ scheme. Heathrow has a current consultation that is largely a PR exercise. No flight plans have been included in the first stage of the two-part consultation, which relates to physical changes on the ground. It is widely agreed (except by Heathrow and the DfT) that no sensible, informed decision cannot be made on a 3rd runway until the details of future flight paths are made clear – there is currently no information. The second consultation will deal with airspace. Four councils, Richmond, Wandsworth, Hillingdon, and Windsor and Maidenhead, have been campaigning against the expansion since it was proposed. Ravi Govindia said: “I find the fact that Heathrow seem to think this is a done deal absolutely appalling. We know that this scheme is fatally flawed and if it went ahead would have a serious impact on our local environment and the health of our residents. I urge everyone who opposes this expansion to make their voices heard and get involved in this consultation process.” But it is important that those opposing the runway state that clearly. Otherwise their responses can be used by Heathrow as evidence that people support some variants of the scheme, over others – implying acceptance and agreement.
‘Fatally flawed’ – Wandsworth Council leader slams Heathrow proposals
By Grainne Cuffe (Wandsworth Guardian)
The leader of Wandsworth Council has blasted Heathrow and hit out at its ‘fatally flawed’ scheme.
A consultation period is currently open for people to put their views on the airports major expansion proposals.
The airport unveiled a number of new proposals last month such as tunnelling the M25, the location of expanding terminal facilities and three options for the length of the new runway varying between 3,200 metres and 3,500 metres.
The third runway was due to cost £16.8 billion, but Heathrow claims it could cut that figure by £2.5 billion.
According to one option, the M25 could be lowered by seven metres to create a tunnel between junction 14 and 15, with the runway over it.
Heathrow claims its target is to operate “zero carbon airport infrastructure” by 2050, but Twickenham MP Sir Vince Cable told the Commons that the damage to air quality from expanding Heathrow was a matter of “human health and mortality”.
He said: “Heathrow is a far more damaging option than the alternatives: it is more polluting, it is noisier and it is the most expensive.”
No flight plans have been included in the first stage of the two-part consultation, which relates to physical changes on the ground, and many believe an informed decision cannot be made until they are put forward.
The second stage will deal with airspace.
But the proposed runway has been met with condemnation from councils, residents, and environmental campaigners.
Although Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said the airport was “determined to reduce its environmental impacts” by cutting emissions and bringing in “cleaner, quieter” aircrafts, some people are not convinced.
Four councils, Richmond, Wandsworth, Hillingdon, and Windsor and Maidenhead, have been campaigning against the expansion since it was proposed.
Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “I find the fact that Heathrow seem to think this is a done deal absolutely appalling. We know that this scheme is fatally flawed and if it went ahead would have a serious impact on our local environment and the health of our residents.
“I urge everyone who opposes this expansion to make their voices heard and get involved in this consultation process. The Gatwick option has great merit, we need to make sure that is the message that rings through loud and clear.”
Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s executive director of expansion, said: “When the government announced its support for Heathrow expansion it made a clear commitment to keeping Britain open for business.
“We want an expanded Heathrow to be the world’s best airport, ensuring that our country and its future generations have the infrastructure they need to thrive.
“We need feedback to help deliver this opportunity responsibly and to create a long-term legacy both at a local and national level. Heathrow is consulting to ensure that we deliver benefits for our passengers, businesses across the country but also, importantly, for those neighbours closest to us.”
The consultation is open until March 28. Go to heathrowconsultation.com to have your say.
If the scheme is approved, Heathrow will submit a planning application after consulting local communities on detailed proposals.
The airport hopes to begin construction in early 2021, with the runway completed by the end of 2025.
What are Heathrow’s arguments for the expansion?
• Heathrow says its runways are operating at 98 per cent capacity and that airlines have not been able to grow as a result
• It argues Britain is losing out to European competitors in the “global race” for foreign investment and trade
• Heathrow claims the new runway will add up to £211 billion in economic growth while creating 180,000 jobs
• It says passengers and UK businesses will have access to up to 40 new long-haul destinations along with new domestic routes
• Heathrow intends to make improvements to its rail connections and claims this could increase the number of passengers using public transport to get to the airport by 60 per cent
What issues do people have with the proposed expansion?
• The airport has allocated a compulsory purchase zone, which involves 750, to the surrounding area
• Heathrow promises to pay 25 per cent more than the market rate, but homes have already lost value due to the proposed expansion
• Noise and air pollution from the construction are major concerns
• The build will be on greenbelt land
• The cost of the expansion
• Some believe Gatwick would be a better choice and would cost significantly less at £7.4 billion
Advice on how to respond to Heathrow consultation – be absolutely sure to state you oppose any 3rd runway plan (Cllr Malcolm Beer)
February 3, 2018
Heathrow has a consultation out at present, which closes on 29th March. It is not a proper consultation about the runway, as the government has not yet even given the airport permission to build a 3rd runway. The consultation is intended to give the impression that the runway is definitely happening, and that people can have a bit of a say in how the development is done. Writing in the local paper, the Slough & South Bucks Express, long standing Councillor Malcolm Beer gives advice on how to deal with the consultation. He says, it is absolutely essential that respondents state in the first box of the Consultation Response Form whether they support or oppose the expansion with their main reasons. The preferences which you might give should be expressly stated as being relevant only in the unfortunate event of the 3rd runway proposal being approved, to avoid being added to the number of supporters. This is very important as some believe they were included in the number of supporters, with the very biased, airport-funded “Back Heathrow” Campaign which completely wrongly and misleadingly stated that the airport would have to close if it could not expand.
Heathrow criticised by key London councils for jumping the gun, with its inadequate consultation, on Government 3rd runway decision
January 29, 2018
The latest consultation from Heathrow is ‘jumping the gun’ – according to Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead councils. The Leaders of 3 councils have slammed Heathrow for holding a consultation when the Government are yet to make a decision on whether or not the airport should be expanded at all. Parliamentary scrutiny on the Governments proposals is still underway, with a vote by MPs due later this year. As part of this process, tens of thousands of people have already had their say, making it clear that expansion at Heathrow is not deliverable. The Leaders argue that any expansion of the airport would have a devastating impact on West London – causing immense damage to the environment and people’s health, tear communities apart, see an unacceptable rise in noise and air pollution, and potentially cost taxpayers £15bn. The latest Heathrow consultation fails to recognise any of this well documented feedback. Confusingly, this latest consultation is also seeking residents’ initial views on how airspace and flight paths should be designed in the future (concentrated or less concentrated…) The councils view is that the noise burden is too high now and all efforts should be made to minimise the number of people impacted by noise. Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “I find the fact that Heathrow seem to think this is a done deal absolutely appalling.”
Heathrow has a consultation out at present, which closes on 29th March. It is not a proper consultation about the runway, as the government has not yet even given the airport permission to build a 3rd runway. The consultation is intended to give the impression that the runway is definitely happening, and that people can have a bit of a say in how the development is done. Writing in the local paper, the Slough & South Bucks Express, long standing councillor Malcolm Beer gives advice on how to deal with the consultation. He says, it is absolutely essential that respondents state in the first box of the Consultation Response Form whether they support or oppose the expansion with their main reasons. The preferences which you might give should be expressly stated as being relevant only in the unfortunate event of the 3rd runway proposal being approved, to avoid being added to the number of supporters. This is very important as some believe they were included in the number of supporters, with the very biased, airport-funded “Back Heathrow” Campaign which completely wrongly and misleadingly stated that the airport would have to close if it could not expand.
Vital you have your say on airport plans (title of the letter in the Slough paper)
Letter by Cllr Malcolm Beer
in the Slough and South Bucks Express
30th January 2018
[The version in the paper was slightly shortened. Below is the full letter from Malcolm].
Emphasise NO Third Runway in Heathrow Consultations (title of the letter sent in by Malcolm Beer)
Many residents will know of the never ending actions of Heathrow, the aviation industry and central government to win support for further Heathrow expansion with a third runway. The airport’s latest non statutory consultations started last week and ask for your preferences on important wide ranging alternative actions relating to their new North West Runway proposals and related flight operations.
The nearest of 40 display and information drop in sessions will start next Wednesday 31st at Ascot Racecourse, followed by Windsor Youth Centre (off Alma Road) Friday 2nd, Maidenhead Sportsable (Braywick) Thursday 8th (all midday to 8 pm) plus Wraysbury Village Hall Saturday 3rd March (10 am to 4 pm).
Responses close 23.55 pm on 29th March and will be used to support their Development Consent Order (DCO) submission for final approval if the principle of another runway is agreed by MPs in Parliament sometime in the coming months. These dates make it very important to state your views and concerns to Heathrow, a wide range of MPs and local Councils very soon. It is hoped the latter will advise residents on local concerns and the huge pile of problems which Heathrow fails to mention.
The overstated world class mitigations will only give noise insulation assistance in the very noisiest places and noise free periods (“respite”) will be halved to only 4 hours per day.
Glaring omissions include:
How will 180,000 additional airport and related business employees and their families be housed – plus the residents of the 3,500 houses in the communities which will be erased for the runway? An Airports Commission report stated that 70,400 more houses, 5,000 in every Borough across the area, would be needed for the new employees, when there is already an area wide housing crisis and lack of space to build over 14,000 homes already needed in Windsor and Maidenhead.
The additional employees and their families will add to school and health facility stresses, road and rail congestion.
The hollow promise of 50 to 60% of many more passengers and employees travelling by bus or train is unrealistic as despite current efforts with fewer people seldom more than 30% have used public transport. The proposed link to and increased services on SW Rail are impracticable as increased closed time of level crossings and more trains too long for station platforms would increase road chaos. Doubling airport freight traffic will do the same.
Will there really be only 10,000 apprenticeships, or the 4,000 recently stated, to run this complex safety focussed industry – where the need to operate at least one runway in “Mixed Mode” (with high frequency simultaneous landings and take offs to equalise the number of movements) the current numbers of aborted landings and risks will be increased.
How on earth could the depleted construction industry build facilities for 54% more flights and their passengers, replace hotels, refugee resettlement centres and buried services along the demolished Bath Road plus the high tech Grundon Energy from Waste facility at the same time as the millions of new dwellings promised by the Government?
Will Heathrow pay for all of its part of the above, off airport road and rail alterations and upgrades including safely widening the M25 and the M4 Chiswick flyover which are already gridlocked hours every day, plus the six lane road tunnel beyond the M4 near the Hammersmith flyover which Highways England say will be necessary?
At present Heathrow says we will have to pay (up to £20billion) out of our taxes!
The ridiculous website proposal that a borrow pit to take gravel from Old Windsor’s Ham Island over its narrow bridge and village roads to raise the runway over the M25 and afterwards fill with waste material suggests that the relocating or compensating nearly 50 riverside households and the large sewage works which serves the whole Windsor area has not been considered – and casts serious doubts on the whole consultation.
Have Heathrow and the Government taken into account that a three runway Heathrow while others have only one runway would recreate the monopoly which existed before BAA (the British Airports Authority, former owner of Heathrow) was ordered to sell Gatwick, Stansted and other airports by a previous government Monopolies Commission to ensure much needed competition for the airlines and travelling public?
It should be noted that the disputed claim of a circa £60billion financial benefit to the nation is spread over 60 years and does not account for the enormous counter costs above and disruption to many businesses and millions of people.
What faith can be put into any promise that a fourth runway would never be sought after previous ones that T4 would be the last and another runway would never be needed when T5 was allowed? The “unexpected increased demands” excuse for even more extensions will inevitably arise again if R3 is allowed and the forecast capacity is reached by 2040
Heathrow’s promise of huge benefits to businesses and residents with more flights to regional airports is not realistic as the airlines determine where they fly to, not the airport. In fact the number of such connections has reduced in recent years, probably due to the growing logical preference for direct flights as their numbers grow and avoid the hassle of time consuming hub interchange flights.
All of this emphasises that Heathrow is not the right place for increased airport facilities and a North Midlands location would be a far better location to promote GB plc instead of shortsightedly exacerbating the universally harmful North / South Economic and Social Divide.
In conclusion, it is absolutely essential that respondents state in the first box of the Consultation Response Form whether they support or oppose the expansion with their main reasons. The preferences which you might give should be expressly stated as being relevant only in the unfortunate event of the proposal being approved, to avoid being added to the number of supporters. This is very important as some believe that to have happened with the biased airport funded Back Heathrow Campaign which misguidedly stated that the airport would have to close if it could not expand.
OWRA (Old Windsor Residents Assn) Newsletter Jan 2018
Please read this and Emphasise NO Third Runway in Heathrow Consultations
Old Windsor Residents Association is not opposed to Heathrow as it is the catalyst in the prosperity of the whole area, BUT it strongly opposes the third runway plans with 260,000 (54%) more flights and 40,000 more local employees and their families. This will escalate business, housing, school and health service demands and costs, increase road traffic, pollution and overhead noise.
# Heathrow’s publicity campaign is now intense as the Government’s decision date in the coming months draws close to confirm or cease its qualified support to permit Runway 3.
# Please visit one of Heathrow’s informal non statutory display and information drop-in consultations. The next is at Windsor Youth CentreFriday 2nd February (off top of Alma Road, a short walk from the Hospital bus stop), followed by Maidenhead Sportsable Thursday 8th (Braywick), Englefield Green Village Centre Wednesday 14th February (Victoria Street) (all from midday to 8 pm), and Wraysbury Village Hall Saturday 3rd March (10 am to 4 pm).
# The “What do you think” forms or other responses about preferred alternative runway, road and flight path options will probably be used to try to convince Parliament to allow another runway as well the final Development Consent Order (DCO) if a planning submission is allowed. You are urged to start and finish by writing that you oppose it and the preferences only apply if expansion is allowed. This is important as other consultations may have counted all replies as supportive.
# Responses close 23.55 pm 29th March and although it is OK to give Heathrow your views and concerns, it is far more important to inform our MP, Ministers and local Councils very soon.
# The claimed world class mitigations are very unlikely to give any noise insulation or part funding to Old Windsor residents, and noise free periods (“respite”) will be halved to only 4 hours per day.
# Nobody knows where a total of 180,000 more employees families and 3,500 residents of the communities wiped out for the runway will be housed. An Airports Commission report said 70,400 more houses would be needed, 5,000 in each Borough around Heathow, but there is already a crisis need for over 14,000 (21%) more homes in our Borough. Far more logical to build in the North.
# The promise of 50 to 60% of many more passengers and employees travelling by bus or train to cut pollution is unrealistic as current efforts with fewer people have never reached more than 40%. The proposed SW Rail link would cause traffic chaos as more trains too long for station platforms would increase level crossing closed times. Doubling airport freight will add road traffic problems.
Restriction of traffic by charging for use of public roads all around Heathrow is an outrage.
# Only 10,000 apprenticeships, or 4,000 as recently stated, seems far too few to run this complex safety, security and service focussed industry. The introduction of at least one runway in high frequency “Mixed Mode” operation (with simultaneous landings and take offs to equalise the movements on 3 runways) will increase the current average risk of 40 aborted landings a month.
# It is unlikely the troubled construction industry could quickly do the huge work on the M25, A4 and London end of the M4, building so many new buildings before demolishing original ones, the runways and terminals as well as the millions of new dwellings promised by the Government.
# The claim of around £60billion financial benefit to the nation is peanuts as it is spread over 60 years and does not account for the enormous counter costs and disruptions. Will Heathrow pay for all of the above or continue to demand that up to £20billion of our taxes pays for the off airport road and rail alterations and upgrades? It cannot promise more flights to the regions as the airlines choose their destinations. Expansion would not be necessary if more than 76% of seats were used.
# Has the Government ignored that a three runway Heathrow while others have only one runway would threaten their viability and renew the monopoly which a previous Government Monopolies Commission dismantled to ensure much needed competition?
# Some of us have already objected to a Ham Island “borrow pit” to get gravel to raise the runway over the M25 and then fill with waste. We will work with residents to protect its special facilities.
# Can promises that a fourth runway would never be sought be trusted after previous ones that T4 would be the last and another runway would never be needed after T5? If is almost certain a call for another runway will arise if R3 is allowed as Heathrow now say capacity will be reached by 2028, not 2040. Don’t forget it put Southern R4 plans to the Commission which would be south of Wraysbury and end so close to Old Windsor that some houses would be inhabitable.
Thee was no space for ………………..
# Heathrow’s promise of huge benefits to businesses and residents with more flights to regional airports is not realistic as the airlines determine where they fly to, not the airport. The number of such connections has reduced in recent years, probably due to the growing logical preference for direct flights as their numbers grow and avoid the hassle of time consuming hub interchange flights.
# All of this emphasises that Heathrow is not the right place for increased airport facilities and a North Midlands location would be a far better location to promote GB plc instead of shortsightedly exacerbating the universally harmful North / South Economic and Social Divide.
# There is no doubt that Back Heathrow Campaign’s threat that the airport would have to close if it does not extend is untrue, but it may not make as much profit as it would like if it had a monopoly.