Three dioceses near Heathrow say Brexit and climate change put 3rd runway

The alleged need for the expansion of Heathrow has been challenged by the 3 dioceses most directly affected by proposals for a 3rd runway. In a joint submission to the Government on the draft NPS consultation on building a 3rd runway, the dioceses of London, Oxford, and South­wark suggest that outside factors such as Brexit, international terrorism, and climate change could negate arguments that an in­­crease in air traffic is necessary to sustain the British economy. The dioceses say that, while they stop short of out­right opposition at this stage, they are posing “major questions and challenges on moral, social and environmental aspects”. They say that “from a faith basis, and an ethical perspective” the proposals entail severe social and environmental impacts. Christians believe the environment to be God’s creation, over which we have a duty to take good care — which the Government is committed to doing. “This is a spiritual and a moral question, to which the Government should give very great weight.” And  “[Its] discourse is littered with the clichés of contemporary politics — ‘major step forward’, ‘building a global Britain’, ‘making the big decisions. . .’, ‘to forge a new role’, ‘a clear signal that Britain is open for business’, ‘an economy that works for everyone’. One is tempted to discern in this something of a cargo cult, in which the construction of a smart new runway will some­­how magically deliver the goods.”

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Brexit puts third runway in doubt, say nearby dioceses

by PAUL WILKINSON (Church Times)

02 JUNE 2017

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THE need for the expansion of Heathrow has been challenged by the three dioceses most directly affected by proposals for a third runway at the airport.

In a joint submission to the Government on the plans announced last October to build a new runway to the north of the present site, the dioceses of London, Oxford, and South­wark suggest that outside factors such as Brexit, international terrorism, and climate change could negate arguments that an in­­crease in air traffic is necessary to sustain the British economy.

In an 11,000-word document compiled by the diocese of London’s Head of Environment and Sustainability, Brian Cuthbertson, the dioceses say that, while they stop short of out­right opposition at this stage, they are posing “major questions and challenges on moral, social and environmental aspects”. They say that they are commenting “from a faith basis, and an ethical perspective: especially on the needs of the people of London, Buckingham­shire and West Sussex, whom the Church of England is committing to serving”.

While the proposals might prove econom­ically beneficial, “they entail severe social and environmental impacts. Christians believe the environment to be God’s creation, over which we have a duty to take good care — which the Government is committed to doing. This is a spiritual and a moral question, to which the Government should give very great weight.”

The Church accepts that aviation is a British success story, important for industry, growth, and jobs, but it questions the claim that it is threatened by an impending “capa­city crunch”. “Not all of the Government’s numerical claims are supported by evidence. Citing the huge capacity of UK aviation pro­vision already is one thing, demonstrating that it needs to grow even more is another. Any opportunities and benefits of further growth are distinct questions from any need for growth in air travel or in GDP.

”It may be reasonable to foresee, on current trends, that the South East’s airports will ‘all be full by 2040’. But that will depend on changes in the wider world, including eco­nomic and security challenges, on Brexit — and on climate change.”

It continues: “Is Brexit more or less likely to stimulate demand than to respond to what may well turn out a decline in background demand? If the UK’s decision to leave the European Union adds further weight to the need for additional capacity, this is a self-inflicted problem, and not one for which Londoners voted.

”Furthermore, a question mark hangs over the feasibility of delivering multiple major infrastructure projects post-Brexit, if free movement of the construction workforce is to be curbed. . . The skilled and unskilled work­force required seem at odds with the likely impact on the construction industry of any restriction on foreign labour.”

The submission also contests the suggestion that the status of the UK as an international hub is challenged by restricted connectivity, and it faces growing competition from Middle Eastern hubs such as Dubai. “But is there really a need always to be the biggest? Why is Dubai in competition with Heathrow? It is a hub between Europe, Africa and Asia, whereas Heathrow connects also to the Americas.

”In short, we do not accept that the case has been made — not even for additional capacity in principle, especially against the background of Brexit.”

The report claims “significant weaknesses” in supporting documents to the consultation, particularly in relation to climate change. “Material presented is very uneven in content and quality. Much — e.g. on heritage and other local impacts — is simply missing. We are also struck by the threadbare treatment of the effects on the continuity and integrity of communities, on the historic environment, on habitats and health.”

There is also a sideswipe at the Govern­ment’s attitude to the project. “[Its] discourse is littered with the clichés of contemporary politics — ‘major step forward’, ‘building a global Britain’, ‘making the big decisions. . .’, ‘to forge a new role’, ‘a clear signal that Britain is open for business’, ‘an economy that works for everyone’. One is tempted to discern in this something of a cargo cult, in which the con­­struction of a smart new runway will some­­how magically deliver the goods.”

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2017/2-june/news/uk/brexit-puts-third-runway-in-doubt-say-dioceses

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Heathrow now considering (not tunnel or bridge) but cheaper series of “viaducts” over M25

Heathrow has a huge problem in how to get a runway over the busiest, widest stretch of the M25.  The original plan was a full 14-lane tunnel about 2,000 feet long. Then there were plans for a sort of bridge over the road. Even those would be prohibitively expensive (Heathrow says it would only pay £1.1 billion on roads etc). Now there are plans, by Phil Wilbraham, who oversaw the construction of Heathrow’s terminals 2 and 5,  to build a cheaper system. It would be 3 parallel bridges across the M25, with narrow ones for taxiways at the side, and a wider one for the runway in the centre. The plan is for a 2 mile long runway, to take even the largest planes. The main airline at Heathrow, British Airways, suggested a runway about 1,000 feet shorter, that would not need to cross the motorway, but that might not be able to take A380s, and would mess up the flight patterns.  The earlier “bridge” concept would have meant the runway would be on a slight slope, to get over the motorway. The cost of moving the thousands of tonnes of earth would be immense, and it is thought Heathrow has had to reconsider. The airlines do not want to have to pay for the building costs of roads etc associated with a 3rd runway. The government does not want to force Heathrow to pay, as this would mean increasing the cost of flying – and reduce demand at Heathrow. 
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Heathrow plan to build third runway — on stilts over M25

Airport considers simpler scheme to bridge motorway

By John Collingridge (Sunday Times)
June 4 2017

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It is the engineering challenge from hell: how to build a runway across Britain’s busiest motorway.

Now Heathrow airport has come up with a new cut-price solution for its £17bn third runway — a series of “viaducts” across the M25. The airport, which started out with plans for a 14-lane tunnel, then switched to a “very gentle hill”, is now considering building three parallel bridges across the M25. According to plans presented to an engineering conference, the widest viaduct would be the runway itself, while two thinner viaducts would be built as taxiways for planes.

 

… full TImes article at

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heathrow-plan-to-build-third-runway-on-stilts-over-m25-ps6f2p382

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Building third runway over M25 will ‘threaten costs’ and ‘lead to spiralling delays’ to Heathrow expansion

Excessive costs to build across the motorway should be replaced by a shorter more affordable runway, according to parent company of British Airways

25 MAY 2017 (Get West London)

Exuberant costs incurred in transforming one of the busiest motorways in London to make way for a third runway could derail Heathrow expansion, it has been claimed.

That was the stark warning made by the boss of British Airways ‘ parent company, IAG, Willie Walsh.

On top of the “inflated £17 billion bill” for an additional runway, the company estimates building across the existing M25 path would incur a surplus of £2billion to £3billion more, with “all costs paid for by airlines”.

Concerns were raised in its response to the Government’s consultation on Heathrow expansion, which is due to close at 11.45pm on Thursday (May 25).

The company believes a shorter runway that does not breach the M25, of 3,200 metres instead of 3,500 metres, would be perfectly operational.

It said in its submission that Heathrow is the best option for expansion and the consideration for a shorter runway could keep landing charges the same or lower than current levels.

Mr Walsh said: “Airlines were never consulted on the runway length and they can operate perfectly well from a slightly shorter runway that doesn’t cross the M25.

“Bridging the M25 means years of disruption on a motorway already plagued by delays and congestion.

“As well as increased costs, this will have a huge impact not only on motorists but on local communities around Heathrow.”

Mr Walsh believes expanding across the motorway, which would include digging a tunnel or building a runway over the existing road, could be costly and cause delays.

“The airport has yet to produce a business plan that assesses the financial implications and risks of bridging the M25,” he said.

“We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control and where critical elements of the project could be undeliverable.”

Heathrow said a shorter runway would have a greater impact on noise in the local community.

It is claimed this is due to larger aircraft, such as the A380, unable to use it for take-offs, limiting the respite period in parts of west London.

Environmental protesters avoid jail after blocking main tunnel into Heathrow Airport by attaching themselves to a car with expanding foam
A Heathrow Airport spokesman said: “Like all major infrastructure projects, we have to balance several factors in order to deliver the increase in airport expansion that Britain needs: risk, constructability, passenger experience, quality, affordability and time.

“In each of these areas we have engaged expert advisers and consulted our airlines to ensure we get the right balance and the best outcome for our passengers, our local communities and the country as a whole.”

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/building-third-runway-over-m25-13089544

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Another response by Sir Jeremy Sullivan on the NPS, showing his oversight is not satisfactory

Sir Jeremy Sullivan was given the task, by the government, of monitoring the DfT consultation on the draft Airports NPS. People can write to him with concerns about the process. Some very unsatisfactory responses have been received. One person wrote to say: “One of the boards at the consultation displays said the following: “Expanding Heathrow is estimated to deliver additional benefits to passengers and the wider economy up to £61 billion over 60 years.”  In the absence of explanation, any normal person (one who has not obtained and studied the detailed evidence) would take this to mean that there is an overall economic benefit from Heathrow expansion. In fact this is not the case.  The £61bn is GROSS benefits, the benefits without any of the costs being subtracted.  If costs are subtracted the NET economic benefit, according to the DFT, is £0.2bn to £6.1bn.  That is, 10 to 300 times smaller.  …. This is not a matter of content, which you have stated you will not consider.  It is a matter of balance, objectivity and not misleading the public in a consultation.” And the reply?  “Whether statements such as those which you mention in your email are/are not ‘misleading’ is a matter of opinion. This is precisely the kind of point that you can make in response to the consultation.”  ie. washing his hands of his responsibilities in this task.
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Question sent to Sir Jeremy Sullivan on the DfT’s draft National Policy Statement:

Dated 12th May 2017

Sent to independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk

 

“Could this comment please be passed on to Sir Jeremy Sullivan forthwith.

“One of the boards at the consultation displays said the following: “Expanding Heathrow is estimated to deliver additional benefits to passengers and the wider economy up to £61 billion over 60 years.”  In the absence of explanation, any normal person (one who has not obtained and studied the detailed evidence) would take this to mean that there is an overall economic benefit from Heathrow expansion.

“In fact this is not the case.  The £61bn is GROSS benefits, the benefits without any of the costs being subtracted.  If costs are subtracted the NET economic benefit, according to the DFT, is £0.2bn to £6.1bn.  That is, 10 to 300 times smaller. 

“A normal person, on seeing an economic benefit quoted for a scheme, would obviously expect the costs to be included in any claim of economic benefit for the scheme.  The bald statement about £61bn is therefore materially misleading and is clearly designed to engender public support for Heathrow expansion.

“This is not a matter of content, which you have stated you will not consider.  It is a matter of balance, objectivity and not misleading the public in a consultation.  These are surely within your remit. “

[Name and address supplied]

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Reply

Reply from the independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk

16/5/17

“Dear Sir,

“Thank you for your email. Sir Jeremy has asked that I respond to you with the below;

“Whether statements such as those which you mention in your email are/are not ‘misleading’ is a matter of opinion. This is precisely the kind of point that you can make in response to the consultation.

Kind Regards,”

Sir Jeremy Sullivan  [sic]  !

[Probably from “Craig” who sends out the unsatisfactory responses, on behalf of Sir Jeremy. Whether Sir Jeremy himself ever actually read the initial email is not clear]


Comment. by the original complainant:

“This is a shocking response. Quoting a figure for benefits while excluding all cost is clearly misleading. Hardly a “matter of opinion”.  Of all people, you would expect an ex judge to see that and to care about telling the truth and not misleading people.”


Nobody other than the DfT (and the company looking at consultation responses) will ever see comments made to its consultation. So if those are about process, and Sir Jeremy Sullivan had not dealt with them, the oversight process has been wholly unsatisfactory.
 
People need to complain about this to the current Transport Minister, Chris Grayling chris.grayling.mp@parliament.uk or to the next one, if there is a change next week.

See more of the unsatisfactory, derisory and evasive responses people have received from Sir Jeremy Sullivan.

 

Inadequate and unsatisfactory replies from Sir Jeremy Sullivan to complaints about the NPS consultation process

Many people have taken part in the DfT’s consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS). The NPS is to provide the policy to support a 3rd Heathrow runway. The DfT appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan, a retired judge, to oversee the consultation and ensure it was carried out adequately. However, it appears Sir Jeremy is only looking at process, and not at content.  Responses by Sir Jeremy to letters to him, complaining about the consultation, have received some unsatisfactory responses – and some of these are copied below. Sir Jeremy is unconcerned that the material in the exhibitions by the DfT was biased, and gave only partial information. His view is that as the government is in favour of the runway, it would be expected that the material would reflect this. To all those who complained to him, he merely advises that all comments and points should be sent to the DfT in consultation responses. In response to many people who complained about the absence of flight path detail, he comments that “In my view it is still possible to have a fair consultation upon the basis of indicative flight paths, provided it is made clear that they are only indicative.” And on selective quotes from backers of Heathrow (no balance with other comments) he says: “In my view using quotes from business leaders and others which are in support of this position is in keeping with the purpose of the [DfT consultation] events.”   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/05/jeremy-sullivan-inadequate-replies/

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Report finds widespread wildlife trafficking at airports across 114 countries, including Heathrow

In June 2016 officials discovered 142 kg of ivory in six suitcases in Charles de Gaulle Airport. All six bags belonged to one passenger who was traveling from Angola to Vietnam through Paris. A new analysis – by C4ADS – of global airport wildlife seizure and trafficking data reveals that criminals are exploiting air transport to smuggle protected and endangered animals and animal products on commercial flights. The report, “Flying Under the Radar: Wildlife Trafficking in the Air Transport Sector,” analyses airport seizures of ivory, rhino horn, birds and reptiles from January 2009 to August 2016.  Wildlife traffickers moving ivory, rhino horn, reptiles and birds by air tend to rely on large hub airports all over the world. Overall, 114 countries had at least one instance of wildlife trafficking in the air transport sector during the period covered by the report. Some of these, especially of reptiles and birds, involve European airports.  The report says creating awareness among personnel and passengers, training air industry staff, strengthening enforcement seizure protocols and reporting and sharing seizure information, could cut the numbers.  In the UK, Heathrow is the main place that illegally trafficked wildlife products travel through. The illegal trade seriously threatens many species, and is a high profit enterprise.
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Report finds widespread wildlife trafficking at airports across 114 Countries

24th May 2017  (Air Cargo News)

June 2016: Officials discovered 142 kg of ivory in six suitcases in Charles de Gaulle Airport. All six bags belonged to one passenger who was traveling from Angola to Vietnam through Paris.
A new analysis of global airport wildlife seizure and trafficking data reveals that criminals are exploiting air transport to smuggle protected and endangered animals and animal products on commercial flights.

The report, “Flying Under the Radar: Wildlife Trafficking in the Air Transport Sector,” analyses airport seizures of ivory, rhino horn, birds and reptiles from January 2009 to August 2016.

Collectively, these four categories account for about 66% of all trafficked wildlife, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and serve as indicators for wider trends within illicit wildlife trafficking.

The illegal trade of wildlife is the fourth largest black market in the world—worth in the region of $20bn annually—and impacts more than 7,000 species of animals and plants. Criminal organisations involved in wildlife trafficking are often directly connected to other trafficking networks, including the smuggling of narcotics, arms and people.

The seizure data in the survey indicates that wildlife traffickers moving ivory, rhino horn, reptiles and birds by air tend to rely on large hub airports all over the world.

According to the report, the country with the most reports of wildlife trafficking in the air transport sector was China — largely due to its role in the ivory trade — followed by Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

The US ranked tenth by number of air seizures. Overall, 114 countries had at least one instance of wildlife trafficking in the air transport sector during the period covered by the report.

Ivory and rhino horn trafficking routes appear fairly concentrated in Africa and Asia, although the products often transit through countries in the Middle East and Europe. Reptile and bird trafficking routes, by contrast, appear geographically diverse, with concentrations in North America, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia.

The study was produced by C4ADS as part of the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership.

Michelle Owen, the ROUTES Partnership lead, said: “This analysis provides a global perspective on what many in the airline industry are already seeing at the regional level: transport infrastructure is being abused to facilitate the trafficking of wildlife.

“There are a variety of low-cost and high-impact solutions available that airports and airlines can take to help address this issue. ROUTES is developing resources to raise awareness and build capacity within the air transport sector, and to support leaders within the transport industry who have made commitments to assist with tackling wildlife trafficking.”

Flying Under the Radar outlines more than a dozen data-based recommendations for preventing wildlife trafficking through the air transport sector. These include creating awareness among personnel and passengers, training air industry staff, strengthening enforcement seizure protocols and reporting and sharing seizure information.

“Wildlife seizure data is vital to identifying, understanding and combatting wildlife trafficking in airports around the world,” says author Mary Utermohlen from C4ADS.

“Still, it’s important to recognise that seizure data of any kind only provides a partial window into the true nature of trafficking activity. What seizures can’t show are the patterns and routes associated with trafficking activity that is not detected, seized or reported by enforcement authorities.”

Jon Godson, assistant director of environment at IATA, said: “Airlines are rarely informed if there has been a wildlife seizure from a passenger or cargo shipment carried by their aircraft. Data like this can demonstrate not only high risk routes, species and concealment methods but also the truly global nature of this exploitation.”

http://www.aircargonews.net/news/airports/single-view/news/report-finds-widespread-wildlife-trafficking-at-airports-across-114-countries.html

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Flying Under the Radar: Wildlife Trafficking in the Air Transport Sector

24.5.2017  (WWF.org)

The USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership and C4ADS have released a new report, Flying Under the Radar: Wildlife Trafficking in the Air Transport Sector, which analyzes ivory, rhino horn, reptile and bird seizures in the air transport sector. The report reveals the widespread exploitation of the air transport sector by wildlife trafficking networks and presents more than a dozen data-based recommendations for preventing wildlife trafficking through the air transport industry.

Learn more about the ROUTES partnership.

https://www.worldwildlife.org/publications/flying-under-the-radar-wildlife-trafficking-in-the-air-transport-sector

The WWF report is at

https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1059/files/original/Flying_Under_the_Radar-FINAL.pdf?1495634396

including mentions of Heathrow, and maps illustrating the routes of various illegal wildlife commodities, like ivory, rhino horn, reptiles etc.

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Significant seizure of elephant ivory at Heathrow Airport

Tuesday, 24 November, 2015  (IFAW)
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The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has congratulated UK Border Force for seizing elephant tusks and other ivory items at Heathrow Airport.

Border Force has described the haul as one of the biggest that has been found in the UK, totalling 110kg.

However, every piece of ivory comes from dead elephants, and the demand for ivory to make ornaments and decorative trinkets is pushing elephants to the brink of extinction.

The seized ivory at Heathrow Airport, which included raw elephant tusks along with carved bangles and beads, was discovered in baggage left abandoned at Terminal 4 in transit from Angola on its way to Hanover in Germany in October.

The items were taken away and examined by specialists who confirmed that the products were ivory.

The trade in ivory is strictly controlled under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Items are only legally allowed to be brought in to or exported out of the EU if the correct permits have been issued.

UK Director of IFAW, Philip Mansbridge, said: “Border Force officers are to be congratulated for their work in seizing this ivory, which represents a number of dead elephants. Horrifyingly about one elephant is killed for its ivory every 15 minutes in Africa.

“The illegal ivory trade is not only a serious organised crime but a modern-day tragedy for elephants in the wild. Many ivory buyers are unaware of the terrible cruelty and devastating conservation impacts of elephant poaching and I urge people never to buy ivory products.”

Phil Douglas, Director, Border Force Heathrow said: “This is one of the largest seizures of its kind made in the UK and it demonstrates the vigilance of our officers. The illicit trade in animal products like ivory is a serious contributory factor in the threat of extinction faced by many endangered species and that is why the rules around it are so strict.

“Border Force takes its role in preventing illegal wildlife trafficking very seriously and, working together with our partners in the UK and internationally, we are determined to bring it to an end.”

The National Crime Agency will now continue investigations into this ivory seizure.

In a separate development, authorities in Vietnam have confirmed a seizure of 860 kgs of ivory. This is the fifth large-scale ivory bust in Vietnam in the last four months.

According to IFAW’s report Criminal Nature, increasing levels of illegal wildlife trade fuels poaching and trafficking, both of which rank alongside global arms, human and drug trafficking as serious organised crimes.

IFAW works to address all the links in the ivory chain; from anti-poaching activities, participating in ivory destruction events, working with enforcers to target wildlife criminals and educating consumers about the cruelty and impact of the illegal wildlife trade.

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Notes

The IFAW report, Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, documents the threat the illegal trade poses to animals like elephants and rhinos, and also people.

To learn more about the illegal ivory trade, download IFAW’s digital magazine Unveiling the Ivory Trade.

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (also known as the Washington Convention) www.cites.org

The Heathrow-based Border Force CITES team is made up of specialist officers who work closely with the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), National Crime Agency and police to provide expert advice on border operational issues.

http://www.ifaw.org/united-kingdom/news/significant-seizure-elephant-ivory-heathrow-airport 

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From

“Wildlife Crime in the United Kingdom” – by the European Parliament

April 2016

The UK has a substantial role in illegal wildlife trade as a transit and destination country and a wide range of species are affected by the illegal trade.

• The number of seizures is high; between 2009 and 2014 the UK Border Forces made 2 853 seizures in total5 . A significant portion of seizures are made at Heathrow Airport.

The number of criminal prosecutions varies by year. For instance between 2013 and 2014, 18 criminal prosecution cases took place.

• Apart from wildlife trafficking other crimes against endangered species is also a concern in the UK. Poaching is the most common wildlife crime in the UK, while other common types of wildlife crimes include badger persecution6 , bat persecution and raptor persecution.

• Links between wildlife crime and organised crime groups have been identified in the UK, particularly in relation to rhino horn thefts and trade, to trade in raptors and bird eggs, and to the repeated sale of traditional medicine products. Some 19 organised crime groups are currently identified in the UK with the involvement of 134 individuals mainly linked to poaching, raptor persecution and other CITES related illegal wildlife trade.

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In 2014, thirteen San Salvador rock iguanas were seized at Heathrow Airport in, out of which twelve were repatriated to the Bahamas and one died.

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In 2013, two major seizures took place at Heathrow Airport of ‘Red Sandalwoods’ which were in transit from New Delhi to Hong Kong.

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In February 2015, according to a press release of the UK Border Forces12, a large number of endangered geckos were seized at Heathrow. The 165 turquoise dwarf geckos were imported from Tanzania. Within the same consignment 36 bearded pygmy chameleons, 112 peacock tree frogs, 192 whip scorpions and 66 yellowheaded geckos were also found.

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The large number of seizures at Heathrow Airport shows a geographical hub of illicit wildlife trade actions. Nevertheless, trade in illegal wildlife is also facilitated by postal services. Even though the CITES biennial reports provide a detailed overview of the number of seizures made by UK authorities in 2015, significant changes have also been made to the UK national statistics in order to provide an overview of wildlife crime at the national level.

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The National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) within the UK Police Force and the UK Border Forces’ specialised CITES team based at Heathrow Airport play an important role tackling wildlife crime in the UK. The NWCU’s aim is to collect intelligence from a wide range of organisation on wildlife crime and to assist the Police force via the dissemination of this information.

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This in-depth analysis showed that the illegal trade of wildlife and other wildlife crimes are a significant problem in the UK. With regards to wildlife trafficking, the UK is primarily a transit and destination country and a wide range of species are affected. The number of seizures is high, many of which take place at Heathrow Airport.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/IDAN/2016/578963/IPOL_IDA(2016)578963_EN.pdf

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The National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) within the UK Police Force and the UK Border Forces specialised CITES team based at Heathrow Airport play an important role in tackling wildlife crime. Furthermore, the UK Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW UK), a multi-agency group comprising representatives of statutory bodies and NGOs involved in wildlife law enforcement in the UK, is also a key player. Finally, national and international NGOs, such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC and the World Society for the Protection of the Animals (WSPA) also contribute to ending wildlife crime in the UK and to raising awareness of the issue. .

 

 

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No mention of backing for Heathrow runway in SNP manifesto (despite backing last year)

The SNP manifesto has come out, and despite the party saying last year that it backed the 3rd runway at Heathrow, there is no mention of it this time. There is a whole section on aviation policy, (p. 26 https://www.snp.org/manifesto ) but no mention of the runway. This is significant, coming only 7 months after the memorandum of understanding the SNP signed with Heathrow. (October 2016). The manifesto outlines that the SNP will press the UK Government to commit to the Open Skies Agreement in the Brexit negotiations, expand direct international connectivity, protect existing connections within the UK and press the UK Government to secure an exemption from air passenger duty on flights to and from the Highlands and Islands. On airspace policy, the SNP back the need to reform UK airspace and more community engagement in the formation of flight paths in future. The SNP backing for the Heathrow runway was based on economic forecasts that were wildly exaggerated and misleading, (the “up to £147 billion benefit to all the UK over 60 years” claim )and which even the DfT knows were wrong. The actual benefit to the UK is more likely perhaps £6 billion (over 60 years). The promises of new jobs etc are also now seen to have been inflated and misleading. Why would an independent Scotland want to depend on air freight going via Heathrow?
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A SIGNIFICANT SILENCE IN SNP MANIFESTO ON HEATHROW

30th May 2017 (Stop Heathrow Coalition press release)

The SNP made a surprise move in their 2017 election manifesto, published on Tuesday, with no mention whatsoever of Heathrow expansion, despite a whole section on aviation policy (SNP Manifesto, p. 26 https://www.snp.org/manifesto )

The manifesto outlines that the SNP will press the UK Government to commit to the Open Skies Agreement in the Brexit negotiations, expand direct international connectivity, protect existing connections within the UK and to press the UK Government to secure an exemption from air passenger duty on flights to and from the Highlands and Islands. On airspace policy, the SNP back the need to reform UK airspace and more community engagement in the formation of flight paths in future.

There is no mention whatsoever of Heathrow expansion in the document, despite the Scottish Government signed a memorandum of understanding with Heathrow Airport in October 2016, however, this was based on economic indicators even the Department for Transport now reject as wildly overinflated (Table Further Review and Sensitivities Report, DfT, October 2016, p. 9  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562160/further-review-and-sensitivities-report-airport-capacity-in-the-south-east.pdf )

 

Robert Barnstone, Coordinator of the Coalition, said: “This will appear to be a significant move by the SNP. It suggests there may be backtracking on their support for a third runway after all only a few months ago they were telling Heathrow a third runway had their full support. There are many signs that the Scottish Government are concluding that economic benefits to Scotland are nowhere near as high as they were lead to believe by Heathrow.” 

The No 3rd Runway Coalition was established in March 2017 and comprises 18 community groups around Heathrow Airport, MPs (election candidates until 8 June 2017) from Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, NGOs such as Greenpeace and the Campaign Against Climate Change as well as five local authorities.

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This is what the Manifesto says:

Connecting Scotland to the world

International connectivity plays an important role in facilitating trade, tourism and investment. Membership of the EU has helped open up skies across Europe, boosting the number of flights to and from Scotland, creating more choice for businesses and families.

SNP MPs will:

• press the UK government to commit to the Open Skies Agreement in Brexit negotiations to ensure there is no loss of flights to or from Scotland and our airports are not disadvantaged;

• work with the Scottish Government, Visit Scotland, Scottish Development International and UK departments to secure an expansion of international flights to and from Scotland, opening up new markets for trade and tourism;

• protect vital Scottish air connections to other parts of the UK;

• continue to work with local partners as part of City and Regional Deals to deliver improved connectivity including an Inverness Airport Rail Hub;

• ensure the UK government continues to work with the Scottish Government to secure an exemption from air passenger taxes on Highlands and Islands flights.

The current system for managing aviation noise is outdated and is in urgent need of reform. In the last Parliament, SNP MPs secured a UK government consultation on a new Independent Aviation Noise Authority to ensure communities are fully engaged in decisions by airports to alter flight paths. We will now push for the establishment of this body, ensuring that airspace changes are delivered with the approval of the community, without having an adverse impact on our environment

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https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/thesnp/pages/9544/attachments/original/1496139998/Manifesto_2017.pdf?1496139998

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Doubt a power surge caused BA’s IT fiasco – bad system, bad planning etc more likely

A massive failure of British Airways’ IT system left 300,000 passengers stranded around the world. This will be remembered as a catastrophic event for BA. And there are many questions about what happened. BA said it was due to a “power surge” that was “so strong that it rendered the back-up system ineffective”. But some experts have subsequently publicly expressed their doubt about how true that is, and do not believe a power surge would be able to bring down a data centre, let alone a data centre and its back-up. One said that would mean either bad design of the system, or some other explanation. Normally a data centre would have surge protection, which is there to protect against exactly this problem. There should also be an uninterruptible power supply, and proper earthing systems. The companies supplying the area where BA holds its data say there was no power surge. Experts say much of the problem was the time taken to reboot the system. But the overly-complex IT system is largely outsourced to India – and many of the experts in UK who initially helped to cultivate and develop the network left when the jobs were moved. The extent of the BA problem may be due to poor crisis management planning, an under-trained and under-staffed IT support team and a poor understanding of the wider logistics. The reputational costs to BA could be huge and very significant.
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The Times, on 2nd June 2016, said: 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ba-power-fiasco-blamed-on-staff-blunder-tbfhxwsw2

The incident is thought to concern an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which delivers a smooth flow of power from the mains, with a fall-back to a battery back-up and a diesel generator.

This week BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG) admitted that the supply to Boadicea House, a data centre, was temporarily lost. An internal investigation found that the UPS, believed to have been supplied by Hitec Power Protection, was functioning correctly at the time.

One BA source said it was rumoured that a contractor doing maintenance inadvertently switched the supply off, although this has not been confirmed.

An internal email from Bill Francis, head of group IT at IAG, appeared to confirm this version of events. The email, leaked to the Press Association, said: “This resulted in the total immediate loss of power to the facility, bypassing the backup generators and batteries . . . It was turned back on in an unplanned and uncontrolled fashion, which created physical damage to the system.”

…. full story at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ba-power-fiasco-blamed-on-staff-blunder-tbfhxwsw2

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5 talking points around the British Airways IT failure

An IT system failure left 300,000 passengers stranded around the world in what will be remembered as a catastrophic event for British Airways. But what really happened?

By Roy Manuell (Junior Editor, International Airport Review)

31 May 2017

Why might we have reason to doubt the “power surge” claims?

According to Álex Cruz, BA’s chairman and chief executive, the catastrophic IT failure that left hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded over the UK Bank Holiday Weekend was due to a “power surge.”

It is alleged that the surge was “so strong that it rendered the back-up system ineffective”.

Several experts have subsequently publicly expressed their doubt as to the validity of this claim. “Multiple data centre designers have told the Guardian that a power surge should not be able to bring down a data centre, let alone a data centre and its back-up,” the British newspaper reported on Tuesday 30 May.

“It’s either bad design or there’s more to the story than just a power surge,” said James Wilman, chief executive of the data centre consultancy Future-tech. “You have something specifically that you build in to a data centre called surge protection, which is there to protect against exactly this incident. You also have an uninterruptible power supply, a UPS, and part of its job is to condition the power” – ie smooth out the peaks and flows in current.

“Between those and a quality earthing system, you should be protected from power surges,” Wilman said.

According to another leading British newspaper, The Times, SSE and UK Power Networks, both electricity companies that provide energy to the geographical location at which the airline holds its data centre have denied the possibility of a power surge.

Why was the impact so large?

An unnamed corporate IT expert, speaking to the BBC, further suggested that a power failure shouldn’t have even caused a “flicker of the lights” in the data-centre due to the presence of the UPS – the uninterruptible power supply.

Essentially, the scale of the impact and the amount of people that were affected is largely due to the time taken to reboot the system.

Why did BA’s reboot take so long?

Once the power was lost, the airline’s crisis management plan should have kicked in but as many media outlets have suggested, the overly-complex IT system is largely outsourced to India and many of the experts who initially helped to cultivate and develop the network left when the jobs were moved.

If you saw the amount of old infrastructure that this country is hanging off of, you wouldn’t sleep at night.

Many believe that the time taken to reboot remains a combination of poor crisis management planning, an under-trained and under-staffed IT support team and an incomplete understanding there-and-then of the complex logistics of air travel in the 21st Century.

Is the airline industry’s infrastructure so outdated?

Returning to James Wilman once again, he suggests that airlines’ IT systems are fundamentally outdated and notably the British communications infrastructure is too old.

“We were leading the communications curve back 20 years ago, and the problem is that that now means that much of our infrastructure is hanging off a 25-year-old backbone. Some data centres are reaching the end of their life. And how do you refurbish that when you can’t turn it off?

“If you saw the amount of old infrastructure that this country is hanging off of, you wouldn’t sleep at night,” he said.

The cyber threat and conclusions to come?

It is unfair on BA to over-speculate as the investigation is only just underway and information is only beginning to seep through.

Many fear that cyber threats may have been behind the failure while others argue that it was just one big mistake. Irrespective, it has happened and serious questions now need to be asked as the implications of the failure could be monumentally significant.

International Airport Review will be covering the story as more information comes through.

https://www.internationalairportreview.com/news/34880/british-airways-ba-it-failure/

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See earlier:

British Airways could have to pay £100m compensation bill to passengers due to its huge IT failure

British Airways could face a bill of at least £100 million in compensation for its passengers affected by the cancellations and delays caused by its IT systems failure. The problem, perhaps caused by a loss of electric power, which then lead to most systems not working, resulted in BA flights around the world being unable to take off, passengers unable to check in, even the website not working. The problem affected Heathrow the most in England, as the largest base for BA. Gatwick was also affected. In total about 1,000 flights were affected, with problems likely to last several days more, while systems are fixed and planes get back into the right places. As this computer fault is entirely the fault of BA (and not any sort of “act of God”) BA will be liable to pay full compensation, to anyone delayed over 3 hours. The airline was particularly busy as it was the start of the school half term, and also a Bank Holiday weekend, with people flying for weekends away. The GMB union said the problem had been caused in part because BA made many good IT staff redundant in 2016, to save money. They instead outsourced the work to India. Besides the huge cost of compensation (and improving its IT resilience) BA will have suffered serious reputational damage, with many saying they would avoid ever flying with BA again.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

British Airways could have to pay £100m compensation bill to passengers due to its huge IT failure

British Airways could face a bill of at least £100 million in compensation for its passengers affected by the cancellations and delays caused by its IT systems failure. The problem, perhaps caused by a loss of electric power, which then lead to most systems not working, resulted in BA flights around the world being unable to take off, passengers unable to check in, even the website not working. The problem affected Heathrow the most in England, as the largest base for BA. Gatwick was also affected. In total about 1,000 flights were affected, with problems likely to last several days more, while systems are fixed and planes get back into the right places. As this computer fault is entirely the fault of BA (and not any sort of “act of God”) BA will be liable to pay full compensation, to anyone delayed over 3 hours. The airline was particularly busy as it was the start of the school half term, and also a Bank Holiday weekend, with people flying for weekends away.  The GMB union said the problem had been caused in part because BA made many good IT staff redundant in 2016, to save money. They instead outsourced the work to India. Besides the huge cost of compensation (and improving its IT resilience) BA will have suffered serious reputational damage, with many saying they would avoid ever flying with BA again.

 

British Airways could face £100m compensation bill over IT meltdown

IT glitch affected more than 1,000 flights over weekend meaning people missed holidays, lost luggage or were stranded on aircraft

British Airways could face a bill of at least £100m in compensation, additional customer care and lost business resulting from an IT meltdown that affected more than 1,000 flights over the weekend.

All the airline’s flights from Heathrow and Gatwick were grounded on Saturday. Services resumed on Sunday but cancellations and delays delays persisted with about 200 BA flights in and out of Heathrow cancelled on Sunday, according to Guardian calculations. There were no cancellations at Gatwick but some passengers experienced delays.

The glitch is believed to have been caused by a power supply issue and there is no evidence of a cyber-attack, the airline said.

In a video posted on YouTube, Alex Cruz, chief executive of BA, said that all the IT systems were not yet restored. “Many of our IT systems are back up today. All my British Airways colleagues on the ground and in the air are pulling out all the stops to get our operation back up to normal as quickly as we possibly can, we’re not there yet.”

“I know this has been a horrible time for customers. Some have missed holidays, some have been stranded on aircraft, some separated from bags and some stuck in long queues while they have waited for information. On behalf of everyone at BA I want to apologise for the fact you’ve had to go through these very trying experiences,” said Cruz.

As hundreds of passengers remained stranded, the GMB union blamed job cuts at BA for the IT problems which were thought to relate to a power outage.

Mick Rix, GMB national officer for aviation, said: “This could have all been avoided. BA in 2016 made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India. BA have made substantial profits in for a number of years, and many viewed the company’s actions as just plain greedy.”

Both Gatwick and Heathrow advised passengers to check the status of their flights after terminals became congested with travellers hoping to get away for the long weekend and half-term school holiday. BA was asking passengers not to turn up until 90 minutes before their flights because of the level of congestion at Heathrow.

On Sunday morning, Welsh international table tennis player Chloe Thomas, whose 7.30am flight from Heathrow to Germany for the World Table Tennis Championship in Düsseldorf was cancelled at the last minute, described chaotic scenes.

“It’s chaos, people are running about all over the place trying to rebook,” she told Press Association. “There’s no one to help, no leadership. There are lots of people everywhere. There’s nowhere to sit, so people are just lying on the floor, sleeping on yoga mats.”

She said airport staff had handed out mats, as well as thin blankets, for people who were stuck there overnight. She added that one of the shops had sold out of food. Passengers faced long lines to check in, rebook or find lost luggage.

James Walker, chief executive of free flights compensation claim site Resolver, said BA handled about 120,000 passengers a day in and out of Heathrow and Gatwick alone, indicating a bill of close to £50m for delays of more than three hours under EU-backed compensation rules.

About half of those passengers were likely to be entitled to meals and accommodation while waiting for delayed flights and a number will have sought a refund or decided to avoid using BA as a result of a “loss of trust”.

BA has also pledged to reunite hundreds of thousands of items of luggage caught up in the delays with passengers via a free courier service adding further to costs.

Walker said there was no question that BA would have to pay out compensation under the EU scheme which demands payments for flights delayed by at least three hours as a result of reasons within the airline’s control.

“This is not like an ash cloud or traffic controllers’ strike that can’t be predicted. The computer system breaking down is within its control. BA is going to have to pay out and it looks like its costs will be north of £100m.”

Last year, the US airline Delta said it lost $100m after the shutdown of power to its data centre because an equipment failure led to delays.

John Strickland, director of independent transport consultancy JLS Consulting, said it was likely that BA would face a “significant financial impact” as its problems looked set to continue into this week.

BA indicated it was expecting continued disruption as its website said customers due to fly on Monday and Tuesday could rebook for dates up to November this year, even if their flights were operating.

Problems remain with the airline’s IT systems, including its customer call centres and website as well as operations planning. It also takes time for BA to ensure planes and staff are in the right place. Crew working patterns are also governed by strict regulations on rest and working hours.

“It’s the magnitude and scale of the problem. Even if BA’s IT systems were fully operational now it will take some days to fully restore a normal flying programme.”

Strickland said Heathrow was worst affected because it is the biggest BA hub and handles more long haul flights.

BA was unable to respond to queries about the financial impact or the number of flights cancelled on Sunday but a spokesman said: “We would never compromise the integrity and security of our IT systems.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/28/british-airways-faces-100m-compensation-bill-over-it-meltdown

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A CEO: Power supply issue caused IT outage

The problem was so serious that the airline canceled all flights from its London Heathrow hub and from London Gatwick, until 6 p.m. local time Saturday. BA also warned all passengers intending to travel before then not to go to the airports. The problem was made more severe by the fact that the UK is on a public holiday weekend, combined with the start of the school half-term holidays in many parts of England, when many families travel for an early summer break.

The incident follows similarly disruptive IT outages at US airlines last year that affected Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines. BA suffered a computer check-in problem in September 2016 that also caused major delays, although not wholesale cancellations.

In Saturday’s event, BA passengers complained of difficulty in getting information from airline staff at airports. The airline’s website was also down and passengers were unable to access the airline’s mobile app. Some travelers were held on board aircraft for lengthy periods as aircraft backed up at Heathrow and Gatwick, unable to depart or find a gate.

“We have experienced a major IT system failure that is causing very severe disruption to our flight operations worldwide,” the airline said in a statement. “The terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick have become extremely congested and we have cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick before 6 p.m. UK time today, so please do not come to the airports. We will provide more information on ba.com, Twitter and through airport communication channels as soon as we can for flights due to depart after that time. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience this is causing our customers and we are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”

Later in the day, Cruz apologized on the airline’s Twitter account for the “huge inconvenience” the outage had caused to passengers. He added that the root cause of the outage appeared to have been a power supply issue, rather than a cyber-attack.

http://atwonline.com/airlines/ba-ceo-power-supply-issue-caused-it-outage

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BA could face huge compensation bill over stranded passengers

27.5.2017 (Herald  Scotland)

BA could face huge compensation bill over stranded passengers
British Airways could be facing huge compensation costs after thousands of passengers were stranded by a global IT crash.

Delayed travellers are able to claim compensation under EU law, unless the disruption has been caused by factors outside the airline’s control.

Air travel experts say BA is likely to face a massive cost in lost revenue and payouts to customers whose flights were cancelled.

Malcolm Ginsberg, editor in chief at Business Travel News, said: “There is no question – the EU denied-boarding regulations will have to apply.

“They have broken all the rules and they will have to deal with it – it’s going to be a very expensive situation for BA.”

Airlines also have to provide food and drink if their passengers are delayed by more than two hours under the regulations.

Civil Aviation Authority guidance states that anyone who is more than three hours delayed arriving at their destination could be entitled to compensation.

Meanwhile, the unprecedented disruption could last for several days, experts say.   Air industry consultant John Strickland said: “There’s a massive knock-on effect.

“Customers and from the airline’s point of view – manpower, dealing with the backlog of aircraft out of position, parking spaces for the aircraft – it’s a challenge and a choreographic nightmare.”

He added that the problems with BA’s IT systems last year were not on the scale of this issue.    “They were bedding in a new check-in system last year and there were teething problem but not of the magnitude of this,” Mr Strickland said.

The disruption has been compounded by the timing of the outage coinciding with a bank holiday weekend and school half-term holidays.

“Heathrow ordinarily would be busy but would be exacerbated by the bank holiday, half-term and Ascension Day, which is celebrated in a lot of Europe,” Mr Strickland added. “Even if they could quickly get the show back on the road, which is a big uncertainty, disruption could run into several days.”

Mr Ginsberg added: “This is a very, very serious situation, one that will not be solved overnight, even once they get the technology aspects of it done – it’s going to be three or four days. There’s only full aircraft at this time of year and there will be aircraft in the wrong positions.”

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15313930.BA_could_face_huge_compensation_bill_over_stranded_passengers/?ref=rss

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Doubt a power surge caused BA’s IT fiasco – bad system, bad planning etc more likely

A massive failure of British Airways’ IT system left 300,000 passengers stranded around the world. This will be remembered as a catastrophic event for BA. And there are many questions about what happened. BA said it was due to a “power surge” that was “so strong that it rendered the back-up system ineffective”. But some experts have subsequently publicly expressed their doubt about how true that is, and do not believe a power surge would be able to bring down a data centre, let alone a data centre and its back-up. One said that would mean either bad design of the system, or some other explanation. Normally a data centre would have surge protection, which is there to protect against exactly this problem. There should also be an uninterruptible power supply, and proper earthing systems. The companies supplying the area where BA holds its data say there was no power surge. Experts say much of the problem was the time taken to reboot the system. But the overly-complex IT system is largely outsourced to India – and many of the experts in UK who initially helped to cultivate and develop the network left when the jobs were moved. The extent of the BA problem may be due to poor crisis management planning, an under-trained and under-staffed IT support team and a poor understanding of the wider logistics. The reputational costs to BA could be huge and very significant.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

Heathrow loses High Court challenge on charging Crossrail trains using the line it built

Heathrow has lost a High Court challenge over access charges it can can levy on Crossrail trains travelling to the airport.  The airport spent £1 billion building a five-mile spur 20 years ago to connect Heathrow to the Great Western track. Legal action was triggered after the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) decided the amount which Heathrow could charge Crossrail, and others, for using the spur could not include any amount connected to the recovery of the spur building costs.  Heathrow applied for a judicial review at London’s High Court, arguing the decision was irrational and ORR had no power to reach any decision over the access charge at all.  Now Mr Justice Ouseley has ruled that the challenge failed on all grounds. He refused permission to appeal, but Heathrow can still ask the Court of Appeal to hear the case. Heathrow is counting on the arrival of Crossrail in May 2018, as part of its plans to increase the airport’s rail capacity by 2040.  There had been concerns that had the decision gone  in favour of Heathrow, Transport for London (TfL) may have opted not to serve the airport at all. Heathrow needs a higher proportion of passengers to arrive by rail, to try to deal with its air pollution problems. 
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High Court derails Heathrow Airport bid to charge Crossrail trains for each time they travel to the airport

26.5.2017
By Rebecca Smith (City AM)

The High Court has rejected Heathrow Airport’s bid to charge Crossrail for its trains travelling to the airport.

Heathrow said it was “disappointed with today’s ruling” and is considering its next steps.

There had been a dispute over whether Crossrail trains should be charged for each time they travel to Heathrow Airport, which the airport was seeking from Transport for London (TfL) which runs the Elizabeth Line.

Crossrail, now known as the Elizabeth Line, will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Part of the line will run on track built by Heathrow owners, who use it for the Heathrow Express service. The airport spent £1bn building the line 20 years ago to connect Heathrow to the Great Western track. It wanted to recoup some of the costs of the link.

Read more: Capacity gap needs plugging until Heathrow expansion, say business leaders

Previously, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) had decided Heathrow couldn’t charge trains for using the line, saying it would cost around £42m a year.

The airport had said it wanted to ensure “track access charges were fair”. It took the decision to the High Court for a judicial review, with the court dismissing Heathrow’s application today.

The ORR said:

We welcome this judgement and we will now work with all the affected parties to enable Crossrail services to start running as scheduled into the airport.
“As the independent regulator for the UK’s railways, we have a statutory role in ensuring charges to run trains on relevant networks are underpinned by evidence and comply with legal requirements,” it said.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Heathrow is committed to increasing sustainable public transport to the airport – that’s why we invested in Crossrail, built the Heathrow Express rail service, support Piccadilly Line services to the airport, and subsidise Europe’s largest free bus network.”

We are looking forward to the arrival of Crossrail in May 2018 as part of our plans to treble Heathrow’s rail capacity by 2040 and put the airport at the heart of an integrated transport network in London.

While we are disappointed with today’s ruling and are considering our next steps, both Heathrow and Network Rail agree that track access charges must be fair to encourage future private investment in the rail network.

There had been concerns that should the decision go in favour of Heathrow, Transport for London (TfL) may have opted not to serve the airport at all.

Howard Smith, TfL’s operations director for the Elizabeth Line, said:

“We welcome the court’s judgement to uphold the Office of Rail and Road’s original decision on the charging levels for Elizabeth line services to Heathrow.

“We look forward to working swiftly with Heathrow to conclude final details of access arrangements for Elizabeth line services.”

Four Crossrail trains an hour are planned to run between Paddington and Heathrow terminals 2 to 4, from May next year.

http://www.cityam.com/265482/high-court-derails-heathrow-airport-bid-charge-crossrail

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The High Court decision means some has raised questions over whether the stance taken by ORR risks discouraging future private investment in the railway network..

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See earlier:

Heathrow and Crossrail in legal dispute over how much TfL would have to pay to use 5 miles of track

Crossrail (the Elizabeth line) is a £15 billion train line designed to cross London from west to east, bringing relief for commuters, but it seems it may not now stop at Heathrow because of a legal row with the airport’s owners over fees. Heathrow has its lucrative Heathrow Express service runs partly on a 5-mile stretch of track, built and paid for (over £1 billion) by the airport. The Crossrail link into Heathrow would run on this section of track. It is an expensive (£25 per ticket) route, and Heathrow’s foreign owners want to recoup past spending on the private train line with an “investment recovery charge” of £570 for every train that uses the track, plus extra fees of about £107 per train. But the Elizabeth line, by contrast, will be in line with the fares that apply across the rest of the capital’s transport network. The opening of the new Crossrail service to Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 is expected to throw the financial sustainability of the existing Heathrow Express into question, though Heathrow insists it would continue to run alongside the Elizabeth Line. Heathrow’s owners are now in dispute with the Office of Rail and Road, which sets track access charges, over the amount that TfL, which runs the Elizabeth Line, will need to pay to use the track. The hearings were held earlier this year and a High Court judgment is expected within weeks.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow expansion plans, and ability to reduce road vehicle trips, threatened by Crossrail costs row

Simon Calder, writing in the Independent, says plans to build a 3rd Heathrow runway could be jeopardised by a row between the airport’s owners and Transport for London (TfL). Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4 are expected to be served by the new Crossrail east-west line, which is due to open in May 2018. But Heathrow is demanding very high fees from rail users to pay back the estimated £1 billion cost of the privately funded Heathrow Express spur from the Great Western line – into the airport. That opened in 1998. The Office of Rail and Road said that Heathrow could not recoup the historical costs of building this link. Heathrow challenged this decision, and a legal judgment is expected shortly. If the ruling is in favour of Heathrow, TfL may choose not to serve the airport at all — which would throw into doubt predictions of the proportion of passengers using public transport if a 3rd runway was built. The NPS for the runway requires a higher proportion of passengers and staff to use public transport in future, than now. One of Crossrail’s selling points has been easy access to Heathrow from east London and the City, down to 34 minutes from Liverpool Street to Heathrow. “Without straightforward, low-cost rail links, more airline passengers may opt to go by road to Heathrow — adding to pollution, congestion and noise.”

Click here to view full story…

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IAG warns the “costs and complexity” of bridging M25 could be major problem for Heathrow runway plans

British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group (IAG) estimates bridging the M25, close to the M4 junction, would cost £2 billion-£3 billion. The Airports Commission suggested the cost could be higher, with £5 billion for local road upgrades, including the tunnel. The Commission said Heathrow should pay for these, as part of the cost of building its runway. The cost and complexity of somehow putting the runway over the busiest, widest section of motorway in the UK are considerable.  IAG, as by far the largest airline at Heathrow, does not want to be charged for this work, which would mean putting up the price of its air tickets.  IAG says there is no detailed risk and cost analysis of the airport’s plans on what to do with the M25, though a bridge is cheaper than a tunnel.  Willie Walsh said: “Airlines were never consulted on the runway length and they can operate perfectly well from a slightly shorter runway that doesn’t cross the M25.” He wants Heathrow to build a shorter runway of 3,200m rather than 3,500m that does not require going over the M25. But that would mean the motorway directly at the end of the runway, in the worse danger zone. IAG says: “We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control and where critical elements of the project could be undeliverable.”
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M25 could de-rail Heathrow expansion, says IAG

by Phil Davies  (Travel Weekly)

24.5.2017

Heathrow’s expansion could be stymied by the cost and complexity of plans to bridge the M25 motorway to build a third runway, the government is being warned by the airport’s largest operator.

British Airways owner International Airlines Group estimates bridging the M25, close to the M4 junction, would cost £2 billion-£3 billion on top of Heathrow’s already “over-inflated” £17 billion bill for the third runway.

All costs will be paid for by airlines’ customers, IAG warns in its submission to the government’s consultation on its Airports National Policy Statement, which closes tomorrow (Thursday).

IAG also claims that there is no detailed risk and cost analysis of Heathrow’s plans to build over one of Europe’s busiest motorways.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “Airlines were never consulted on the runway length and they can operate perfectly well from a slightly shorter runway that doesn’t cross the M25.”

The airport needs to focus on a shorter runway of 3,200m rather than 3,500m that does not breach the M25 and is delivered to a business case that keeps current charges the same or lower than today’s, according to IAG.

While the airline group says that Heathrow is the best option for expansion, it also welcomes credible schemes from promoters other than Heathrow.

IAG says this would ensure customers get the very best scheme, built at an affordable price, which delivers a competitive new Heathrow for the UK economy post-Brexit.

Walsh said: “Bridging the M25 means years of disruption on a motorway already plagued by delays and congestion. As well as increased costs, this will have a huge impact not only on motorists but on local communities around Heathrow.

“The airport has yet to produce a business plan that assesses the financial implications and risks of bridging the M25.
“We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control and where critical elements of the project could be undeliverable.

“Britain needs cost-effective airport infrastructure that benefits the country rather than Heathrow’s shareholders.

“It is already the world’s most expensive hub airport and customer charges must not increase to pay for the new runway.

“We urge the government to benchmark Heathrow’s costs against other similar global schemes.”

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/279839/m25-could-de-rail-heathrow-expansion-says-iag

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IAG boss Willie Walsh warns that the “costs and complexity” of bridging the M25 could throw Heathrow expansion off track

By Rebecca Smith (City AM)

Wednesday 24 May 2017

British Airways owner IAG has hit out again at prospective M25 plans for Heathrow expansion, warning that bridging the major motorway will derail the third runway plans.

In its submission to the government’s consultation on its national policy statement, which closes tomorrow, IAG warns of the scheme’s cost and complexity, estimating that bridging the M25 will cost £2-3bn on top of the airport’s £17bn bill for the third runway.

IAG said there is no detailed risk and cost analysis of Heathrow’s plans to build over one of Europe’s busiest motorways.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “The airport has yet to produce a business plan that assesses the financial implications and risks of bridging the M25. We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control and where critical elements of the project could be undeliverable.”

In a headache for the airline giant, it said all costs will be paid for by carriers’ customers.

IAG wants the focus on a shorter runway that does not breach the M25. A shorter runway had been floated amid Heathrow’s earlier proposals for expansion, but was considered more of a trouble in terms of noise concerns.

Walsh said: “Bridging the M25 means years of disruption on a motorway already plagued by delays and congestion. As well as increased costs, this will have a huge impact not only on motorists but on local communities around Heathrow.”

Britain needs cost-effective airport infrastructure that benefits the country rather than Heathrow’s shareholders.
While IAG has backed Heathrow for expansion over the other alternatives, such as a second Gatwick runway, Walsh urged the government to benchmark Heathrow costs against “other similar global schemes”.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Like all major infrastructure projects, we have to balance several factors in order to deliver the increase in airport expansion that Britain needs: risk, constructability, passenger experience, quality, affordability and time.

“In each of these areas we have engaged expert advisers and consulted our airlines to ensure we get the right balance and the best outcome for our passengers, our local communities and the country as a whole.”

The airport has not yet decided how the runway will cross the M25, with a proposal to construct a 650 metre tunnel for the motorway vying with the option of putting the runway on a slope above the road.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the latter would be “cheaper and quicker” than any movement of the M25 in October last year.

Highways England has also said a tunnel would cause a national shortage of contractors, delay road building schemes across Britain and cause huge frustration for drivers.

http://www.cityam.com/265337/iag-boss-willie-walsh-warns-costs-and-complexity-bridging

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See earlier:

 

Heathrow boss rules out footing the £5 billion bill for road and rail works – wants taxpayer to pay

The Airports Commission left the matter of who would pay for the approximately £5 billion needed to tunnel a section of the M25, and other surface access improvements, vague. The assumption has been made that the taxpayer would have to fund this, though the Airports Commission suggested that Heathrow would be able to find the funding from its investors for this. Now the CEO of Heathrow has dismissed the suggestion that the airport foots the £5 billion bill for road and rail work if a 3rd runway is built.  Huge motorway engineering would be needed, to have the runway going over the motorway.  John Holland-Kaye has ruled out paying for the surface access work. Though the government funds road and rail improvements under normal circumstances, tunnelling the M25 and dealing with hugely increased road traffic using an airport 50% larger than at present are not normal circumstances. Especially in times of huge economic savings being necessary in public finances. The Commission’s final report said it considered the runway was commercially viable “without a requirement for direct government support. This remains the case even in a situation where the airport is required to fund 100% of the surface access costs.” This would be by Heathrow “raising both debt and equity finance. This finance is then serviced through subsequent revenues and refinancing by the airport operator.”    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/heathrow-boss-rules-out-footing-the-5-billion-bill-for-road-and-rail-works-wants-taxpayer-to-pay/

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Times reports that Heathrow plans to offer to cut costs and build runway scheme faster

The Times reports that it has learned how Heathrow is planning to cut up to £3 billion (out of about £17.6 billion) from its plans for a 3rd runway, in order to persuade Theresa May and the Cabinet that the runway could be delivered – and delivered a year earlier. Revised plans include potentially scrapping plans to tunnel the M25 under the 3rd runway, not building a transit system to carry passengers around the airport (using buses instead) and smaller terminal buildings. The aim is not only to get the runway working by 2024 but also -with reduced costs – keeping charges for passengers a bit lower. The Airports Commission estimated the cost per passenger would need to rise from £20 now to £29. Airlines like British Airways are not prepared to pay such high costs, and especially not before the runway opens.  BA’s Willie Walsh has described Heathrow’s runway plans as “gold-plated”. The Times expects that Heathrow will announce its new “cheaper, faster” plans by the end of September.  There is no mention of the “Heathrow Hub” option of extending the northern runway – a slightly cheaper scheme than the airport’s preferred new north west runway.  There is no clarity on quite what Heathrow plans for the M25, if they cannot afford to tunnel all 14 lanes (at least £ 5 billion).  Lord Deighton said it might be “diverted” or have “some form of bridge.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/09/times-reports-that-heathrow-plans-to-offer-to-cut-costs-and-build-runway-scheme-faster/
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Walsh says Heathrow does not have the ability to ring fence slots to increase domestic flight routes

A row has emerged between British Airways and Heathrow over the airport leading domestic airports to believe they will get air links to Heathrow, if it builds a 3rd runway. Heathrow has written to the government asking it to “ring-fence” a proportion of its take-off and landing slots for domestic flights. But BA has replied that Heathrow does not have any standing to control destinations served by the slots.  Willie Walsh, IAG’s CEO said:  “It’s not in Heathrow’s gift to increase domestic flying from the airport … Airlines, not airports, decide where to fly based on routes’ profitability.”  He wants Heathrow to keep its charges down, so IAG’s airlines can keep growing and making more money.  Walsh says only with low airport charges would there be many domestic flights, as they are otherwise not profitable. Currently, only 6% of passengers travel on domestic flights from Heathrow. It has links to 8 UK destinations. Heathrow has told several airports that it will pay for a Route Development Fund, for 3 years, to subsidise some routes and get them going. It has not said it would subsidise them indefinitely. European regulations restrict how much flights to small airports can be subsidised, due to competition concerns. Heathrow has depended on backing for its runway plans, from some regional airports, which have been led to believe they will benefit from it.
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Row emerges over Heathrow plan to ring fence slots to expand domestic flights

by Phil Davies  (Travel Weekly)

May 22nd 2017

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Row emerges over Heathrow plan to ring fence slots to expand domestic flights
A row has emerged between British Airways and Heathrow over the airport’s hopes to increase domestic flights once it gets a third runway.

Heathrow has written to the government asking it to “ring-fence” a proportion for domestic flights of the extra take-off and landing slots created.

But BA has hit out at the plan, saying that the airport does not have any standing to control destinations served by the slots, the Daily Telegraph reported.

“It’s not in Heathrow’s gift to increase domestic flying from the airport,” said BA’s owner, International Airlines Group.

“Airlines, not airports, decide where to fly based on routes’ profitability.”

BA is based at Heathrow and has about half of the take off and landing slots currently available.

The airline called for competitive fees to encourage flights at Heathrow, adding: “The best way to encourage domestic routes is for the airport to be fairly priced.

“It’s hard to make routes viable if airlines are charged more at Heathrow than any other airport. If costs are low, flights will follow.”

Heathrow handles almost 76 million passengers a year and about 470,000 flights, making it the busiest airport in Europe and the seventh busiest in the world.

If the plans to add the third runway go ahead, the airport is expected to see flights increase to more than 700,000 a year.

Currently, only 6% of passengers travel on domestic flights from Heathrow to eight UK destinations, though this could soar if plans go ahead to add more UK services.

The airport is only able to ask for the slots to be earmarked because of Brexit, as once the UK leaves the European Union it will not be controlled by the bloc’s competition rules.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “We’ve always been clear that an expanded Heathrow must deliver for all of Britain and that’s why we’re urging the government to back our proposal to ring-fence slots at an expanded Heathrow for domestic use, an opportunity now possible because Britain is leaving the EU.”

The row followed foreign secretary and former London mayor Boris Johnson claiming a third runway is “not the right solution” for airport expansion.

The long-term critic of Heathrow expansion was quoted by ITV News as saying an additional runway at the London hub would be “very difficult to deliver” despite the Conservative election manifesto backing development of the airport.

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/279568/row-emerges-over-heathrow-plan-to-ring-fence-slots-to-expand-domestic-flights

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The image above says these are “Potential new routes based on potential route maps published by easyJet and Flybe”  [ie. just aspirational … with zero certainty]

Local campaign group, HACAN, has said Heathrow’s claims that a third runway would deliver a lot more routes to domestic destination ‘should be taken with a pinch of salt’. HACAN, a residents’ organisation which opposes a new runway, warned people to read the small print of the announcement very carefully indeed.

Heathrow in its response to the Government’s consultation argued that there could be as many as thirteen new domestic routes (see Heathrow’s map above) but admits in the small print that the ‘potential new routes are based on potential route maps published by easyjet and Flybe.’ Easyjet has not confirmed yet that it will come to Heathrow even if a third runway is built.

HACAN Chair John Stewart claimed that Heathrow’s claims were based on evidence ‘so flimsy that it could fall apart at any moment’.

He said, “Heathrow’s claims should be taken with a pinch of salt. The intention is more to try to reassure the regions that a third runway could benefit them rather than a serious prediction about the number of domestic destinations a third runway will serve.”.

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