What the DfT actually said about Heathrow possibly meeting air pollution standards, with 3rd runway

The Government announced on 25th October that it backed a Heathrow 3rd runway, and would set in train the process that could get it eventually built. A key stumbling block for the runway is air pollution. So what has the DfT come up with, to attempt to persuade those whose opinion counts that the problem can be resolved? In effect, just some very thin statements indeed, which are largely wishful thinking – nothing guaranteed.  In their statement, the DfT says the scheme would not “cause nor worsen exceedances of air quality limit values.” … “the Government will review new and emerging evidence in relation to air quality to ensure that it is taking the right approach to achieving compliance for the UK.” … the government is supporting “the long-term transition to low emission vehicles and meet the Government’s target that by 2040 all new cars will be ultra low emission.” …  lower emission vehicles by the UK vehicle fleet will lead to “tangible improvements in air quality ahead of the new runway beginning operation.” … “Heathrow has pledged that there will be no increase in airport-related road traffic with expansion.” … “Heathrow will encourage people to use public transport getting “at least 55% of people on to public and sustainable modes of transport by 2040” …. and “Providing new infrastructure for zero or low emission vehicles including charging and fuel facilities and priority parking.”  And …”Ensuring that surface access plans are appropriately ambitious in their focus on improving air quality.” Job done!
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Policy briefing note – put out by the DfT to go with the runway announcement:

“Airport capacity and air quality”

DfT  25.10.2016

Air quality is a national health issue, which this government takes very seriously.
Transport has an important role to play in tackling emissions, and whilst the contribution
from aviation is relatively small, airports need to play their part.

This note adds further detail to the report ‘Air Quality Re-Analysis: Impact of New
Pollution Climate Mapping Projections and National Air Quality Plan’ on how airport
expansion could be compatible with our air quality obligations.

The Government has worked to understand the air quality impacts of expansion

The Airports Commission concluded in July 2015 that a new runway could be delivered
without impacting the UK’s compliance with air quality limit values for nitrogen dioxide.
We subsequently conducted further analysis to compare the conclusions of the Airports
Commission with the updated projections provided in the Government’s 2015 UK Air
Quality Plan.

This analysis concluded that, based on the Government’s Air Quality Plan, the
Heathrow and Gatwick schemes would neither cause nor worsen exceedances of air
quality limit values.1

Since this work was carried out, new international evidence on vehicle emissions
forecasts has been released. Further work is needed to understand the implications of
this evidence, but our initial assessment suggests that revised forecasts would be likely
to be within the range of scenarios already considered by our re-analysis.2

1. The air quality re-analysis acknowledges that, subsequent to the Airports Commission’s work and modelling on air quality, further iterations of surface access plans have been proposed by the promoter of the Heathrow Extended Northern Runway scheme. Most
elements of its plans have remained unchanged, but there have been some changes to road layout. Although these iterations have not been considered in the reanalysis, it is acknowledged that they were developed with one aim being to reduce air quality impacts
associated with the proposal considered by the Airports Commission.

2.  The re-analysis also considered a ‘worst case’ scenario which assumed higher diesel vehicle emissions.

As we have made clear previously, the Government will review new and emerging
evidence in relation to air quality to ensure that it is taking the right approach to
achieving compliance for the UK.

Air quality is a national issue

The Government recognises that it could, if required, undertake supporting measures
over the next decade that could mitigate air quality impacts nationally, in London and at
Heathrow.

Government is already taking action to improve air quality and ensure the UK can meet
its commitments as set out in the Government’s national Air Quality Plan. For example,
the UK is already delivering a programme of measures to support the long-term
transition to low emission vehicles and meet the Government’s target that by 2040 all
new cars will be ultra low emission.

The programme, which has been backed by £600m of investment from 2015-2020, includes measures to encourage uptake of cleaner vehicles, long-term support for developing low emission technology and funding for new electric and hydrogen buses.  [But no diesel scrappage scheme, that had been suggested – as it would cost government too much. AW note].

Over the next decade, measures such as these will ensure a rapid transition to a
cleaner, low emission UK vehicle fleet, leading to tangible improvements in air quality
ahead of the new runway beginning operation. If necessary to meet air quality limit
values, the UK could consider further measures to encourage the uptake of cleaner
vehicles. [This paragraph demonstrates how flimsy the targets for improving air quality are. Words like “ensure”, “consider”, “encourage” …. are not strong assurances of definite firm future action. There is no policy associated with them to guarantee their delivery. AW note].

Getting solutions right locally is also key to improving air quality nationally.
On 13 October the Government published its consultation on a framework for
implementing both voluntary and mandatory Clean Air Zones, a key measure towards
delivering the UK Air Quality Plan.

In London, the Mayor has set out his plans to improve air quality in the capital by
implementing an Ultra Low Emission Zone and is consulting on further changes to meet
his responsibility to deliver clean air in London.

DfT, Defra and the Treasury have also been working closely together to consider the
measures necessary to achieve a long-term reduction in emissions. This arrangement
will be formalised in a cross-government working group to continue to ensure that we
respond appropriately to the evolving evidence base in this area. We will respond
proportionately to any new evidence over the coming year if required.  [ie. Defra is aware that data will be emerging to show higher levels of pollution than might have been expected, and may have to reconsider. AW note].

The airport must play its part

Heathrow is already taking action to reduce its air quality impacts, including:

• Improving infrastructure to allow continued improvements in the numbers of people
using public and sustainable modes of transport to access the airport;  [But Heathrow has said it will only pay £1.1 billion towards surface access improvements, while TfL considers the whole cost might be up to £18 billion. AW note]
• Introducing low emission vehicles to their fleets; and
• Over half of the aircraft using Heathrow are of the latest emission standards.

[This paragraph illustrates just how little the levels of air pollution around the airport are under Heathrow’s control. It has no powers over road users around the area.  Vehicles on the airport itself are probably a tiny proportion of the whole. It is building a new huge car park to accommodate more cars using the airport …. surely not assisting with the plans to get more passengers travelling by public transport.  AW note]

An expanded airport will need to go even further

The new runway at Heathrow will be underpinned by further industry leading measures
to mitigate air quality impacts both during the construction and operation of the new
runway.

These will be determined through the National Policy Statement and the development
consent process and could include measures which an expanded Heathrow have
committed to:

• Encouraging more people to use public and sustainable modes of transport to get to
the airport, with the airport committed to getting at least 55% of people on to public
and sustainable modes of transport by 2040;
• Providing new infrastructure for zero or low emission vehicles including charging and
fuel facilities and priority parking;
• Making all airport vehicles ultra low emission by 2025;
• Reduced landing charges to reward airlines for using cleaner aircraft;
• Supplying electrical power and pre-conditioned air to reduce emissions from aircraft
at the gate and incentivising reduced-engine taxiing; and
• Ensuring that surface access plans are appropriately ambitious in their focus on
improving air quality.

The airport will also need to consider what further measures may be required to
encourage cleaner vehicles to enter the airport boundary.

This includes the construction period

During construction of the new runway we expect the airport to use industry-leading
measures and best practice from similar large infrastructure projects, which could
include:

• Developing a construction traffic management plan to control the times and routes
that construction vehicles use to access the site, including restricting or relocating
traffic movements around residential or ecological areas and introducing speed
controls on local roads;
• Using low emission construction vehicles with cleaner engines and fitting particulate
filters to older engines;
• Selecting construction materials to minimise transport distances and combining
loads off-site to reduce the number of lorries accessing the airport;
• A worker transport scheme to encourage construction workers to travel at less-busy
times and by less-polluting modes of transport;
• Connecting to the electricity grid to avoid running generators on site; and
• Using barriers to prevent the spread of emissions.

The airport will need to demonstrate compliance to receive development consent

To ensure the expanded airport is compliant with air quality limit values we will lay
before Parliament and consult on a draft Airports National Policy Statement that will
outline measures which Heathrow will have to consider in preparing its development
consent application. The final measures will be decided through the development
consent order process.

Final development consent will not be granted unless the Secretary of State is satisfied
that the scheme would comply with air quality legal requirements.  [Very vague wording … AW note].

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562514/airport-capacity-air-quality-briefing-note.pdf

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The government statement on 25th October merely said: 

“Heathrow has pledged that there will be no increase in airport-related road traffic with expansion and committed to a target of more than half of passengers using public transport to access the airport.”   Link

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See also:

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

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

Click here to view full story…

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

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

Click here to view full story…

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See earlier:

Heathrow Airport expansion: The environmental challenges

One key question is whether building a third runway will attract so many new cars, buses, lorries and cabs that the local area will keep breaking EU pollution laws.

Heathrow says it’s got plans to attract far more staff and passengers onto public transport – things like charging people to drop off by car, car sharing and cheaper train tickets.

The airport boss promises no more cars as a result of expansion. Transport for London scoffs at the claim, saying it could lead to an additional 40,000 road journeys.

Critically, the government has to work out how you decide what cars and lorries are there because of a new runway. Is a traffic jam on a road two miles away worse because of Heathrow?

Vans might not be going directly to the airport but what if they are delivering to a business that uses a business that relocated because of the expansion?

Will a third runway increase the number of vehicles on the roads around Heathrow?

A recent report by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) says deciding why people are there could have major legal ramifications. If an area is breaching EU pollution limits from extra traffic, who do you fine? The council? The airport? The lawyers will be licking their lips.

There’s a lot at stake – Hounslow council told the committee that poorer air quality could cost it between £2.8-10.8m in additional medical appointments.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34988449

Air Pollution

Already, the air quality hotspots near Heathrow are at illegal levels. But a Greenpeace investigation found that a third runway at Heathrow would see a drastic rise in air pollution with increased traffic. Hounslow council have claimed that poorer air quality could lead to millions of pounds worth of expenditure in extra medical appointments, too. It would also push Nitrogen Oxide levels further outside of official EU compliance rules. After Brexit, of course, there will be no legal requirement to meet these rules, amendable by the Great Repeal Bill. But was this the kind of independence from bureaucracy that green Leave voters were hoping for?

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/heathrow-gatwick-airport-expansion-environment-cli/

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Read more »

DfT states alleged £147 billion economic benefit to UK (over 60 years) of Heathrow runway more like “up to £61 billion”

It appears the economic benefits of a Heathrow runway have been exaggerated wildly.  [We have been saying that for a year and a quarter …. as have numerous critics of the runway – but the media and the government preferred to believe the exaggerated numbers]. The government announcement on 25th October only says the benefit of the Heathrow runway would be £61 billion, for the whole of the UK, over 60 years. The earlier figure had been “up to £147 billion” (both for a carbon-traded scenario). The Airports Commission used economic modelling for its projections, which was criticised as being unreliable, by its own economic advisors, Professor Peter Mackie and Mr Brian Pearce (May 2015) which warned of double counting, and questioned the “robustness and reliability” of the method. Heathrow then took an even higher figure, of £211 billion (UK benefit, over 60 years) from part of the Commission’s analysis, and promoted this widely.  Many, unfortunately, were misled. One of the ways the AC forecasts were to high is including benefits to non-UK residents. Another is double counting all sorts of spin-off activities, that are already accounted for in other sectors. DfT says given the uncertainties, “various calculation approaches have been proposed over time. Ongoing engagement with external experts means that the preferred methodology continues to evolve, and is likely to continue doing so after the publication of this report.”  ie. these figures may change again (downwards??) 
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Benefits compared  – Airports Commission (July 2015) and DfT (Oct 2016)

Below are the Heathrow North West runway sections of both the Airports Commission Final Report (on the left) and the new DfT sensitivities report, (on the right) comparing their assessments of Heathrow’s benefits to all of the UK over 60 years. The AC looked at both carbon traded (CT) and carbon capped (CC).  The DfT has now abandoned carbon capped, and looks only at carbon traded (hoping the ICAO deal will be enough to take account of CO2).

ac-benefits-and-dft-compared

Source:

Airports Commission Final report.  P 147

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440316/airports-commission-final-report.pdf

DfT sensitivities report P 39 of

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562160/further-review-and-sensitivities-report-airport-capacity-in-the-south-east.pdf

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Heathrow overvalued by £86 bn

27 Oct 2016 (The Times)

By Graeme Paton (Transport Correspondent) , Alistair Osborne

The economic benefits of expanding Heathrow airport were overstated by up to £86 billion, buried government figures reveal.

Building an extra runway at Gatwick airport would bring virtually the same benefits to the nation as expanding Heathrow, the figures suggest.

Questions were raised over Theresa May’s endorsement of Heathrow after a Department for Transport report more than halved previous estimates for the size of the economic boost to be provided by Heathrow over 60 years.

….. and it continues ….

Full Times article at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/heathrow-overvalued-by-86bn-lx2w5tfnh

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Official reports cast doubt on claims that pointed to Heathrow

27.10.2016  (The Times)

…..

However, a series of reports published by the Department for Transport (DfT) appeared to cast doubt on some of the commission’s findings.

However, a DfT report said the government “identified a number of concerns, which cast further doubt on these estimates” and it “does not recommend using these figures to inform a decision on preferred location”.

In its own statements, the government said that a third runway would be worth up to £61 billion to the economy, £86 billion less than the commission’s highest forecast.

Furthermore, it said that Gatwick was now worth up to £54 billion to the country, just £7 billion less than Heathrow.

…. and it continues …..

Full Times article at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/official-reports-cast-doubt-on-claims-that-pointed-to-heathrow-cmq5tp2p5

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It has also emerged that the case for Heathrow may have been inflated by the inclusion of transfer passengers in the final economic assessment. Passengers who pass through the hub en route to other countries but never leave the airport are likely to have a lower impact on the economy than those who actually spend time in Britain. Stripping out these passengers — about a third of the total at Heathrow — would put it on practically an equal footing with Gatwick, it is believed. Last night the government denied that its own figures represented a downgrading of the benefits of Heathrow, saying that it was impossible to compare the higher and lower assessments as they were calculated in different ways.”

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heathrow-benefits-were-doubtful-advisers-told-airports-commission-kj3vk8w88


Airports Commission’s own economic advisors warned economic claims were inflated

The Airports Commission based its decision to advocate a Heathrow runway in part on economic models that its own advisory panel believed were questionable. Economic experts Professor Peter Mackie and Mr Brian Pearce had advising the Commission that the forecast the runway would deliver a £147 billion boost to Britain should be treated with “caution”.

This is what they said, on 5th May 2015 (over a month before the Commission made its recommendation on 1st July 2015, and their concluding remarks copied below:

“Conclusion

“This is one of the most ambitious attempts to prepare a quantified Economic Impact Assessment. There are few comparators available. While the content of the model itself has been well-tested, the same cannot be said of the front end, where an increase in capacity is converted into an increase in trip-making, trade, tourism and finally productivity. 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.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/438981/economy-expert-panelist-wider-economic-impacts-review.pdf

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The short 1 page DfT document on the Heathrow runway says it would benefit the UK by up to £61 over 60 years.

It states:

Economy • Based on the Airports Commission’s analysis, the Government estimates that the benefits to passengers and the wider economy would be up to £61 billion over 60 years.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562567/heathrow-north-west-runway-economic-benefits.pdf

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The DfT document assessing the validity of the Airports Commission analysis is at

Further Review and Sensitivities Report.
Airport Capacity in the South East

Moving Britain Ahead

DfT

October 2016

81 pages

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562160/further-review-and-sensitivities-report-airport-capacity-in-the-south-east.pdf


The “sensitivities” document contains the £61.1 billion figure, in Table 7.1 on Page 39.

 

Below are some extracts, but there is a lot of it and it is not that easy for anyone not well informed on economics to follow :

The Wider Economic Impacts section starts on P. 30

This looks at the the two approaches undertaken by the Airports Commission (AC) to estimate the wider economic effects:

i. conventional appraisal

ii. S-CGE modelling of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).   [ie. Spatial Computable General Equilibrium (S-CGE) modelling of the GDP impacts of airport expansion.]

It then summarises the DfT’s assessment of these 2 approaches.

……

5.6 While the department fully recognises the existence of wider economic benefits, and supports the framework of impacts set out by the AC in Figure 5.1, the exact magnitude of these benefits is inherently uncertain. In the department’s review of the AC’s evidence base, some potential issues were found with the approaches taken.

5.7 The rarity of airport expansion appraisals limits the extent to which relevant best practice can be established. Departmental guidance does provide a robust starting point, but it has been generated largely for surface modes of transport, so careful consideration must be given to its application in the case of airport development.

5.8 The impacts from increased output and tax take made use of the department’s appraisal guidance, while the agglomeration impacts were based on a similar but not identical method. There is currently no guidance on appraising the trade impacts of expansion – although the department agrees that such benefits might exist – and as a result the AC developed its own approach.

5.9 The department’s review of the calculated agglomeration benefits found issues relating to the underlying evidence and implementation of the chosen methodology.

…..

5.13 The AC presented estimates for wider economic impacts that included productivity benefits arising from additional trade. Some of these benefits may however already be captured in the estimates of other economic impacts. This is discussed in more detail in  Box 5.1. To avoid counting these benefits twice, trade benefits have not been included in the total reported wider economic impacts, but are reported separately.

5.14 Given the uncertainty associated with estimating wider economic impacts, various calculation approaches have been proposed over time. Ongoing engagement with external experts means that the preferred methodology continues to evolve, and is likely to continue doing so after the publication of this report.

5.15 Because of this, and in an approach consistent with the AC and best practice, the overall impact of the capacity options has been presented both including and excluding estimates of wider economic impacts. Wider economic impacts, where appropriate, are presented as a range to reflect the inherent uncertainty underlying their calculation. Estimates of wider economic impacts included within the NPV are shown in Figure 5.2.  [The table has the Heathrow North West runway giving a total of “Wider economic impacts (present value, £bn, 2014 prices) of £2 – 3.9 billion] 

…..

Box 5.1

Trade While trade impacts have not been included in the estimates of NPVs, this is not to suggest that the department no longer considers them likely. Rather, an assessment of the approach taken by the AC found that the inclusion of trade impacts risked the double-counting of benefits.

This double-counting is thought to largely occur in two ways. Firstly, where trade induced productivity benefits accrue to a business passenger’s firm, these impacts can be expected to be incorporated into purchasing decisions and thus be reflected in direct business passenger impacts. Secondly, because trade studies do not separate out the two effects, the estimated trade impacts will include some impacts already attributed to agglomeration effects.

…. and there is a lot more in Box 5.1

 

…..

5.22  The S-CGE model created for the AC by PwC modelled four distinct effects of airport expansion:

• changes in passenger flows

• productivity effects (captured through international trade)

• frequency benefits to airport users • transport economic efficiency effects

5.24 The use of S-CGE modelling, while increasingly common in the appraisal of improvements to surface modes of transport, is highly innovative when applied to a project of this scope. The addition of international relationships inherently complicates attempts to model changes in the UK economy. And, as in conventional appraisal, the transmission mechanisms for air travel may be significantly different to those observed in other modes of transport.

…..

5.26 At present, it is the view of both the expert panellists and the department that given this lack of consensus, it is highly challenging to produce a single central estimate of the GDP impact of airport expansion using the S-CGE approach with the evidence currently available. The existence of the relationships within the modelling, however, is accepted (such as an increase in airport capacity leading to greater levels of productivity).

….

7.3 After the department’s changes, the revised central case suggests that, in line with the AC, the LHR Northwest Runway scheme delivers the greatest benefits to passengers, government and the wider economy, net of environmental disbenefits. It would also lead to the most jobs created locally. The revised net benefits, disbenefits to private business from reduced profits (due to lower fares), and the costs of construction are shown in Table 7.1.

 

dft-new-heathrow-runway-economic-benefit


Gatwick airport complained earlier:

Most of the rest of the difference in economic impacts derives from PwC’s estimates of productivity impacts, using a new and untested approach that leads to estimates of the relationship between passengers and productivity that are over ten times larger than has been found in other studies, and almost twice as high for Heathrow as for Gatwick, for comparable inputs. This is the element of the model that is most heavily criticised by the Commission’s expert advisors.

and

The economic benefit (net present value) generated by Heathrow expansion would more than halve if the direct benefits enjoyed by international transfer passengers who never set foot in the UK – or generate a penny for the economy – are removed from the calculations, according to separate reports commissioned by Gatwick Airport from Deloitte and Oxera.  Link    Oct 2015


On adding in the benefits to non-UK residents

The DfT now says (Oct 2015)  Link P 15

65. A considerable proportion of the stated benefits in the Final Report, particularly for Heathrow, accrue to foreign residents, and to International-to-International (I-to-I) passenger transfers. WebTAG suggests that benefits accruing to UK and foreign passengers should be included, and that I-to-I should be excluded. There are reasons however why including I-to-I makes sense, particularly because there is no robust way to separate out completely all impacts – costs and benefits – for each group, including passengers. Whereas it may be possible to do so in relation to benefits, it would be very difficult to do so for costs. This would lead to an unbalanced representation of the costs and benefits which would be misleading. In the Department’s view therefore, the Commission’s approach to I-to-I transfers is appropriate.

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Letter in the Times from Howard Davies, on 30.10.2016:
Airport estimates

Sir, You have commented on the apparent discrepancies between the airports commission’s estimates of the economic benefits of expanding Heathrow and the figures quoted by the government when endorsing our recommendations (report, Oct 27, leader, Oct 28). It is true that there was a difference: the government’s estimate is £61 billion, while the commission’s estimate was £68 billion.
The basis for our calculation was explained in our report last July. We thought it reasonable to assess the second-order economic impacts, on trade intensity, productivity and employment, something which the government does not normally do in assessing infrastructure projects.
On the basis of a study by PWC, we estimated that the impact on GDP of Heathrow expansion would be in the range of £131-147 billion. The analysis for Gatwick also showed GDP impacts that were higher than the standard economic benefits alone. Our expert panel said this approach was legitimate, but that it should be part of the strategic case for airport expansion, rather than being used in the economic assessment. So that is what we did, and we continue to believe that is a more sensible approach to assessing the overall impacts of airport expansion.

Sir Howard Davies Chairman, Airports Commission

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New DfT report indicates number of local jobs from Heathrow 3rd runway about 37,700 by 2030 – not “up to 77,000”

The Airports Commission’s Final Report said the Heathrow NW runway would lead to an additional 59 – 77,000 jobs [direct, indirect and induced jobs – ie. supply chain etc] in 2030 for local people. Indeed, Heathrow “astroturf” lobby group got membership partly on the strength of the jobs claims. But now, having looked at the details, the DfT has come up with much lower figures. While the statement on the DfT website on 25th October still says “up to 77,000” local jobs, its more considered assessment “review and sensitivities” document accepted these figures were exaggerated. Instead they now say, using a more accurate method, the number of local jobs might be 37,740 by 2030, not 77,000. By 2050, the DfT now estimate the number of jobs might be 39,100 – while the Commission expected 78,360.  The DfT say the 2050 figure is the cumulative total, and cannot be added to the number of jobs created by 2030.  The DfT “assessment and sensitivities” report states that it had “identified a number of uncertainties with the approach taken” to assessing jobs by the Commission, which used job multipliers from the airports. These “could lead to significantly different results”. The new DfT figures use Berkeley Hanover Consulting Ltd (BHC) and Optimal Economics Ltd survey data rather than airport assumptions to generate estimates of the indirect job multipliers, which are likely to be more robust.
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The Airports Commission’s Final Report said:

“Expansion at Heathrow would drive a substantial increase in employment at and around the airport, generating an additional 59 – 77,000 jobs [ie. additional direct, indirect and induced jobs] in 2030 for local people and for the fast-growing wider population in London and the South East, including for black and minority ethnic communities for whom Heathrow is an important employer.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440316/airports-commission-final-report.pdf

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The new DfT document assessing the validity of the Airports Commission analysis is at

Further Review and Sensitivities Report.
Airport Capacity in the South East

Moving Britain Ahead

DfT

October 2016

81 pages

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562160/further-review-and-sensitivities-report-airport-capacity-in-the-south-east.pdf

Below are most of the extracts that relate to jobs:

Purpose of this Report

7. The main purpose of this report is to set out the monetised costs and benefits of
the three shortlisted options for airport expansion in the UK to the economy, the
environment, and society, as well as the impacts on local jobs.

…..
18. The department engaged with external experts to further refine the AC’s
methodology for estimating the wider economic impacts and the number of local
jobs created that could follow expansion. Although it is recognised that there will
be wider economic benefits from trade, these are no longer included in the central
NPV, due to the risks of double-counting. These benefits are closely related to
business passenger benefits as well as wider economic benefits from increased
agglomeration, and further review has suggested that these cannot be deemed as
additive to one another. Given the significant uncertainties that remain around the
estimates of wider economic impacts, a range is now presented. The department
also developed a revised methodology for estimating the number of new local jobs
that may be delivered by expansion, which are now also presented as a range
(see chapter 6).

…..

6.2
…..The AC did not monetise the impacts on the local economy, but undertook a literature review of the local economic impacts of expansion and estimated the impact on the number of local jobs. This local impact is not necessarily additional at the national level, as the local jobs may be displaced from elsewhere in the country due to passengers switching from other airports, or displaced from other employment sectors altogether.

…..

6.4 The department agrees with the AC’s overall framework for analysing local jobs
impacts, but identified a number of uncertainties with the approach taken. These
uncertainties mean that varying the assumptions in the analysis could lead to
significantly different results. The department has therefore undertaken work to
further review the evidence and generate a range of estimates for the number of
local jobs created. In addition, inconsistencies were identified between the AC’s
stated method and the actual calculation of these impacts, so some further
revisions were made to the estimates for LGW Second Runway scheme.

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6.5 The department’s alternative approach uses the same data as the AC (on-airport
employee surveys) for the projections of the number of direct jobs. For the
estimates of indirect and induced jobs the AC relied on multipliers provided by the
scheme promoters. The department has considered an alternative approach which
uses data on current employment at Gatwick 31 and Heathrow 32  [31 ’Gatwick Airport Employment Generation to 2020 in the Context of the Local Labour Market’, Report to West Sussex County Council, Berkeley Hanover Consulting, 2011. 32 http://www.heathrow.com/file_source/Company/Static/PDF/Communityandenvironment/Heathrow-Related-Employment-Report.pdf ]

from Berkeley Hanover Consulting Ltd (BHC) and Optimal Economics Ltd respectively in order to re-estimate these impacts. These studies use survey data rather than assumptions
to generate estimates of the indirect job multipliers, providing additional assurance
around their robustness. Estimates of the number of induced jobs supported are
however calculated using multipliers assumed by BHC and Optimal. A further
difference arises as the size of the Heathrow local catchment area used in the
department’s approach is smaller than that used by the AC. Indicative analysis
suggests this only accounts for a small proportion of the difference between the
two figures.

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6.6 The number of local jobs supported by the presence of an airport depends on
many factors including the type of airport, size of the airport passenger and
employment catchment areas, and even the size of these areas compared to the
size of the country as a whole. Reflecting these uncertainties, Table 6.1 displays a
range based on the revised AC estimates and the alternative approach considered
by the department. It should be noted that the local jobs created by 2050 are the
cumulative total, and cannot be added to the number of jobs created by 2030.

dft-updated-jobs-forecasts-oct-2016

Heathrow jobs by 2030 – 37,740 not 76,650

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562160/further-review-and-sensitivities-report-airport-capacity-in-the-south-east.pdf


BUT

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While the DfT puts out the assessment of 37,740 Heathrow local jobs by 2030, it also puts out on the same day (and Grayling tells the House of Commons) the old 77,000 figure

Meanwhile, on the DfT website another document blithely states, as did Chris Grayling in the House of Commons, that the total was 77.000 jobs.

This document, entitled “Heathrow North West Runway Economic Benefits” from the DfT.    25.10.2016 says:

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Jobs
• Separate analysis by the Department for Transport and the Airports Commission suggests that an additional runway at Heathrow could deliver up to 77,000 additional local jobs
by 2030.
• This will help the airport to deliver its promise of creating 5,000 new apprenticeships by 2030, doubling the current total to 10,000.
• Heathrow has pledged that these new opportunities would have the potential to drive down youth unemployment in the five boroughs nearest to the airport – Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Slough and Spelthorne.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562567/heathrow-north-west-runway-economic-benefits.pdf

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Mystery:

Why can’t the DfT’s runway announcement give the same figure, as is written in the report on the same day, from the same department?

Did the writer of the press release not know the right figure?  Was it done by mistake?

 

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Berwin Leighton Paisner and Pinsents advise Heathrow on planning stages and process to get a 3rd runway

Pinsent Masons and Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) have advised Heathrow Airport on the planning process up to the government’s decision on 25 October to approve a third runway, with more legal advisers likely to be appointed. Pinsents, which has a place on Heathrow’s panel, advised the airport on its plans. BLP confirmed it has also advised the airport’s in-house team. Meanwhile the government has appointed former senior president of tribunals Sir Jeremy Sullivan to oversee the process of the NPS on aviation, covering the Heathrow runway.  In addition, there are likely to be several legal challenges to the decision, including a joint legal action already mounted by Greenpeace UK alongside Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils. Greenpeace UK and the councils are jointly instructing Kate Harrison of Harrison Grant Solicitors, specialists in public, environmental and planning law and human rights. In 2010, the campaigners worked together to successfully overturn the Labour governments backing for a third runway in the High Court.  Heathrow has a team of around 30 in-house lawyers and typically instructs Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for finance and corporate, Allen & Overy (A&O) on financing for lenders, Herbert Smith Freehills for litigation, Eversheds for employment and Berwin Leighton Paisner for planning.
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Berwin Leighton Paisner and Pinsents advise Heathrow as government approves plans for third runway

26 October 2016

by Kathryn McCann  (Legal Business)

Pinsent Masons and Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) have advised Heathrow Airport on the planning process up to the government’s decision yesterday (25 October) to approve a third runway, with more legal advisers likely to be appointed as the scheme is taken forward in the form of a national policy statement (NPS) for consultation.

Pinsents, which has a place on Heathrow’s panel, advised the airport on its plans with a team led by head of infrastructure planning and government affairs Robbie Owen. BLP confirmed it has also advised the airport’s in-house team.

Meanwhile the government has appointed former senior president of tribunals Sir Jeremy Sullivan to oversee the process of the NPS on aviation, covering the Heathrow runway. The process will take one year and will be subject to a vote of parliament.

In addition, there are likely to be several legal challenges to the decision, including a joint legal action already mounted by Greenpeace UK alongside Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Winsor and Maidenhead councils.

Greenpeace UK and the councils are jointly instructing Kate Harrison of Harrison Grant Solicitors, specialists in public, environmental and planning law and human rights. In 2010, the campaigners worked together to successfully overturn the Labour governments backing for a third runway in the High Court.

Commenting on the government’s decision, Liz Jenkins, an infrastructure partner at Clyde & Co said the announcement was a ‘false dawn.’

‘Even if the House of Commons does back [Heathrow] then there will still be a number of legal hurdles to overcome before any shovels can break ground. Apart from the political opposition, there will be opposition from activist local residents, local authorities and environmentalists on a host of legal, planning and regulatory issues, such as noise and emissions.’

Speaking to Legal Business in 2014, Heathrow’s legal chief Carol Hui said: ‘The political aspects of this involve local community engagement, master planning, designing and environmental issues. It also concerns local residents if there are issues of noise and blight. We listen to people.’

‘We always have to work to make our case and help people see expanding Heathrow is the answer to connecting the UK to growth so we don’t fall behind our competitors in Europe and increasingly emerging airports like Dubai and Doha. We have to make our case effectively.’

Heathrow has a team of around 30 in-house lawyers and typically instructs Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for finance and corporate, Allen & Overy (A&O) on financing for lenders, Herbert Smith Freehills for litigation, Eversheds for employment and Berwin Leighton Paisner for planning.

A&O, Hogan Lovells and Freshfields led on Heathrow’s final airport disposal in 2014 as Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports were sold to a consortium formed by Ferrovial and Macquarie for £1.05bn.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

http://www.legalbusiness.co.uk/index.php/lb-blog-view/7973-pinsents-advises-heathrow-as-government-approves-expansion-plans-for-third-runway

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Possible plan to put runway and taxiways on a bridge over M25 (not a tunnel) to save money

The Airports Commission (that cost almost £20 million) looked -in theory – at everything in great detail, and its (allegedly) incontrovertible recommendations have now been followed by government. It talked about the M25 needing to be tunnelled under the runway. It did not mention any sort of bridge.  But Heathrow was asked by government to cut the cost of its scheme (in order not to raise costs to passengers, to keep demand for flights high) so it came up recently with the idea of a bridge over the motorway. There is a bridge for one of the runways (+ taxiways) at Schiphol, so it is possible. However, there are enormous questions, not the least of which being that nobody has seen any details (cost, practicality, level of disruption, safety, terrorism danger etc) let alone been consulted. The section of motorway that might be bridged is the busiest on the M25, one of the busiest (it might be the busiest) in Europe, and the busiest in the UK. DfT figures show around 263,000 vehicles per day on the Junction 14-15 stretch in 2014. The runway would need to be raised about 8 metres in order to get over the motorway. Heathrow has only said it would spend a total of £1.1 billion for surface access infrastructure. The cost of tunnelling was estimated by the Airports Commission at £3.2 billion. Chris Grayling said absolutely nothing in his announcement, or in Parliament, about how much of the TfL estimate of £18 bn for surface access work the taxpayer would have to fund.
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How do you build a runway over a motorway?

There’s an obstacle in the way of the proposed runway – the M25. An initial idea of constructing a road tunnel beneath the runway has been put aside. Building a “ramp” instead would be “a cheaper and quicker way of doing it”, said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

Heathrow is situated near the the M25’s busiest section, between junctions 14 and 15. Nearly 100 million vehicles flow through this stretch each year, according to Department for Transport figures.

Some on Twitter have joked that this ramp might resemble the front of some aircraft carriers that have a steep incline, known as a ski jump. “I can assure you it’s nothing like that,” says Chris Chalk, who’s on the transport expert panel for the Institution of Civil Engineers.

“In fact, you wouldn’t actually be able to see it with your eye. If you were on an aircraft you wouldn’t know about it.” [Note – this comment is only from the perspective of air passengers, not motorway users underneath.  AW note].

The gradient would be less than 1%, as required by the European Aviation Safety Agency. What impact would this have on a plane? “It doesn’t affect the performance of an aircraft or provide any problems whatsoever,” says Chalk.

“When an aircraft comes in to land, it’s coming in at a gradient of about 5% so less than 1% is a very small difference. In fact, it’s quite normal to have a runway with some gradient on.” [That is incorrect. Planes approach Heathrow, and almost all other airports, at 3 degrees. Link  Heathrow said:  “The international standard approach for most airports in the world is set at 3 degrees,” AW note].

Other UK airports that would have a greater gradient than that proposed at Heathrow include Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham.

Runway bridges have been built over busy roads including at Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Fort Lauderdale in the US state of Florida. Planes taxi along a bridge over a motorway at Leipzig-Halle airport in Germany and at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

schiphol-runway-bridge

Google map

Designers are required to allow a large amount of space either side of the runway in case there is an incident on the airfield. Strategically placed slats and the right lighting will be factors in preventing drivers from losing concentration due to planes overhead, explains Chalk, who works for the civil engineering firm Mott McDonald.

“You tend to have a number of visual buffers because you don’t want to distract the drivers. At that distance you won’t actually be seeing the aircraft that easily. It hasn’t created any issues elsewhere at other busy airports.”

So those thinking the boredom of being stuck in traffic on Britain’s busiest motorway might be relieved by the sight of a large aeroplane crossing the road will be disappointed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-37774857

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The Airports Commission only ever mentioned tunnelling the M25

Its Final Report said:

“8.18 In addition, a range of works would be needed on the road network to accommodate the expanded airfield site including, for both schemes, the tunnelling of a section of the M25 to the west of the airport.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440316/airports-commission-final-report.pdf

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PLANE CRAZY  – Heathrow Airport’s third runway could see jumbo jets taking off from a ‘ramp’ over the M25

The Government’s decision to choose Heathrow for expansion has caused deep rifts in the Tory Party

Times said  27.10.2016 : 

Heathrow confirmed yesterday that it would sign initial contracts with engineers, architects and planning consultants “within days” to start the third runway after being given the government’s approval, insisting that 95 per cent of spending would go to British suppliers.  Link 


BALPA say the slope of the runway – even 1 degree, affects how planes land and take off

27.10.2016

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said that other runways around the world operated on gradients, usually as a result of being built on sloping ground. However, it said there was a chance that an aircraft’s autolanding system — usually used to bring the plane down in fog — may not work on some slopes.

At least one other runway — at Fort Lauderdale in Florida — is built on a man-made slope. It is almost 16m higher at one end to accommodate a goods railway underneath.

Stephen Landells, Balpa’s flight safety specialist, said: “Putting a slope on a runway isn’t a problem. But any change to the runway has a significant impact on the performance of the aircraft. So before take-off or landing, one of the things you have to consider is the slope of the runway.

“On take-off, you will work out the power you need. If you have got quite a steep slope it is going to take longer to accelerate and more power. On landing, it has an effect if you land downhill because it is going to increase your landing roll.”

He added that there was a risk the autolanding feature may not work.

“The use of autoland is also limited,” he said. “The limit on most aircraft will be around two degrees, and if it is greater than a two degree slope you can’t use the autoland. Not having autoland at Heathrow would not be a good situation to be in because any fog would cause problems. You can’t just close a major international airport.”

See full article in the Times at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/grayling-s-sloping-runway-is-an-uphill-struggle-say-pilots-xj50b2fqf

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Putting Heathrow runway over M25 will be ‘cheaper and quicker’ Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says

The plan is for the runway to span the 12-lane highway

By Jon Stone, Political Correspondent (Independent)
26.10.2016

The Transport Secretary has defended the Government’s plan for Heathrow’s new runway to span the M25 using a ramp, arguing that the solution will be “cheaper and quicker” than alternatives.

Chris Grayling said that the new runway had to be “affordable for passengers” and that the ramp over the 12-lane motorway would only be a “gentle slope”.

Ministers yesterday gave their backing for the new runway, the design of which suggests using an 8m ramp to span Britain’s widest motorway at its widest point.

Mr Grayling said the proposal was “sensible”, seeking to assuage safety and security concerns of having sensitive infrastructure just metres in the air over a busy road.

“We’ve been very clear not just to [Heathrow] but to the other promoters of the schemes is that what they do has to be affordable for passengers as well. It’s not simply about landing extra costs on the shoulders of passengers,” Mr Grayling told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme

“One of the things that Heathrow has been looking at is doing what many airports have done around the world and building their runway over the top of the road rather than tunnelling the road underneath it.

“It’s a cheaper and quicker way of doing it and I’m of course very concerned to make sure that whilst this runway is built it doesn’t cause massive disruption on the M25.

“I think this is a sensible way, it’s a gentle slope. It’s a hill, a very gentle hill upwards that the planes would take off rather than a flat service and it’s what happens at very many other airports around the world.”

Other proposals considered include putting the M25 into a tunnel, building the runway at a different alignment, or building it elsewhere.

MPs will vote on the new runway in 2017-18 following a public consultation.

The third runway is expected to be operational not before 2025, with construction slated for 2020-2021, barring any further roadblocks.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/heathrow-third-runway-ramp-m25-motorway-cheaper-quicker-chris-grayling-a7380616.html

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Heathrow conceded on Tuesday night that it may have to re-examine its plans for an extension under the M25, possibly replacing the tunnel with an elevated bridge, after it emerged that Highways England, the body in charge of Britain’s major roads, considered the scheme a major risk.

Highways England warned there was a “significant risk of cost overruns” in the M25 tunnel scheme, the bill for which it estimated would be between £476m and £1.1bn. Correspondence released by the Department for Transport showed that the roads authority described the scheme as “high risk”, warning of a “a substantial risk of excessive customer frustration about what might be prolonged period of disruption”.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/25/zac-goldsmith-quits-as-mp-over-doomed-heathrow-expansion-decision

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Professor Alice Larkin: Expanding Heathrow flies in the face of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Professor Larkin, an expert on climate policy, says measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel, such as the 3rd Heathrow runway, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and are inconsistent with tackling climate change.  In the past we have slightly limited the growth in UK aviation CO2 by having constraints on Heathrow and Gatwick runway capacity. The government now wants to remove that constraint. Professor Larkin says: “Researchers will need to raise their voices to new levels given this week’s decisions. The upcoming call from the Environmental Audit Committee for evidence of the impacts of the 3rd runway is a welcome opportunity on the horizon, but the government have to be willing to sit up and pay attention to the evidence of climate change scientists and prove their commitment to the Paris Agreement.” It is not enough to depend on future improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency, which have only been incremental. There have been no new, groundbreaking technical solutions to decarbonise the aviation sector. An increase in air travel cannot somehow be compatible with the Paris Agreement’s goals.  All this suggests that climate change science is being overlooked by the UK government to an even greater extent than it was before.
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Expanding Heathrow flies in the face of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

At a cabinet committee on Tuesday, the government approved plans to build a third runway at Heathrow, expanding UK airport capacity. There will be a public consultation on the effects of the expansion before the government makes a final decision as part of a national policy statement on aviation.

Here, Professor Alice Larkin urges the government to pay attention to climate change scientists.

  • So far, we have limited high levels of CO2 growth from the UK’s international flights by maintaining the existing level of airport capacity
  • Improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency have only been incremental
  • The decision, which overlooks climate change science, comes just days before the Paris Agreement comes into force

In the 2000s, our research fed into a heated debate on airport expansion in the UK. Based on some of our work, arguments were made against further airport expansion, on the grounds that this would be at odds with climate change commitments. Just a few years on, with an additional 180 Giga Tonnes of CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere, global climate change policy objectives have been strengthened, and air travel is still dominated by the privileged few.

Yet this week, the UK Government approved a third runway at Heathrow that will expand capacity and support further passenger growth. It would be reasonable then to ask some questions.

Has there been a new, groundbreaking technical solution to decarbonise the aviation sector? Can an increase in air travel somehow sit comfortably alongside the Paris Agreement’s goals? Did we just get the maths wrong the first time around? Sadly, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding ‘no’.

Whilst there have been improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency, these have been incremental. Alternative fuels continue to be researched, but their mainstream global penetration to propel civil aircraft remains decades away – and not just for technical reasons.

The only real saving grace from the climate perspective is that growth in UK-related passenger numbers has been lower than previously forecast. This has been partly due to the global economic downturn and also, in-part, due to a constraint on airport expansion. In other words, we’ve been somewhat successful in limiting high levels of CO2 growth from the UK’s international flights by maintaining the existing level of airport capacity.

All this suggests that climate change science is being overlooked to an even greater extent than it was before, in favour of (poorly evidenced) arguments in support of expanded airport capacity to increase economic growth.

What is particularly shocking about this turn of events, is that this is happening just days before the Paris Agreement comes into force.  The unavoidable reality is that the highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all sectors to urgently reduce CO2 emissions and accelerate away from using fossil fuels. Of course some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, but no sector can be excluded.

Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals remain few and far between. This means that demand-side measures that constrain further growth, and have been constraining growth in the past, must receive much greater attention.

Policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel, such as the third runway at Heathrow, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and are inconsistent with tackling climate change. Researchers will need to raise their voices to new levels given this week’s decisions. The upcoming call from the Environmental Audit Committee for evidence of the impacts of the third runway is a welcome opportunity on the horizon, but the government have to be willing to sit up and pay attention to the evidence of climate change scientists and prove their commitment to the Paris Agreement.

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About Alice Larkin

Alice Larkin is Professor in Climate Change and Energy Policy as part of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, based within the School of Mechanical, Civil and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Manchester.

http://blog.policy.manchester.ac.uk/posts/2016/10/expanding-heathrow-flies-in-the-face-of-the-paris-agreement-on-climate-change/

 

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Gambling our future on airport expansion

Gambling our future on airport expansion

28 Oct 2016

Guest blog: Professor Alice Larkin, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester.

The Paris Agreement is due to come into force on 4th November 2016, with a new ambitious goal of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C …”.  

The nuanced language of “well below” accompanying the 2°C goal identifies strengthened ambition, and deserves a high profile.  It defines a more constrained available carbon budget, than previous Accords and Protocols.

So what is the importance of the Paris Agreement’s new goals for airport expansion? Well once a constrained carbon budget is defined, modellers can develop a variety of future scenarios for global energy systems that remain ‘in budget’.

These would include obvious elements such as an increase in renewable and very low carbon energy supply-side options and big changes to the levels and patterns of energy use, storage, and energy efficiency.

However, studies almost universally also include highly optimistic assumptions about a new suite of ‘negative emissions technologies’ (NETs) offering a ‘carbon sink’ to balance carbon sources in the second half of the century.

This balancing is considered necessary from a mathematical perspective because some sectors are assumed to be too difficult to decarbonise in an appropriate timescale – air travel is one such sector. Yet recent attention drawn to a huge reliance on NETs highlights the significant risks posed assuming these interventions can be deployed at the necessary rate and scale.  Gambling our future on airport expansion

Aircraft are extremely difficult to decarbonise, which is why research illustrates that demand-side measures have a key role to play in minimising aviation CO2. If NETs prove to offer only marginal cuts to CO2 in future, the damage will have been done.

Short-term measures to tackle rising CO2 through minimising the demand for fossil fuels now are essential. A moratorium on airport expansion is one such mechanism, yet the opposite decision has just been made in relation to Heathrow expansion.

The consequences of which will have global ramifications in the short-term, enduring well beyond our lifetimes.

http://www.buildingtalk.com/blog-entry/gambling-our-future-on-airport-expansion/

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See also

 

Statements by Professors Kevin Anderson and Alice Larkin, about how the UK should NOT be building a runway

Professor Larkin said:   “The highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all fossil fuel consuming sectors to urgently accelerate towards full decarbonisation – and while some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, no sector can be excluded. Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals are few and far between. As such, demand-side measures that constrain further growth, must receive much greater attention. Equally, policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel such as new runways, particularly within richer nations, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and should be avoided.”

Professor Anderson said:  “The UK Government’s enthusiasm for more airport capacity alongside its clamour for high-carbon shale gas demonstrates a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement. Both of these decisions will lock the UK into ongoing emissions of carbon dioxide for decades to come, putting short-term convenience and financial gain ahead of long-term and genuinely low-carbon prosperity. Such reckless disregard for the prospects of our own children and the well being of poor and climatically vulnerable communities arises from either a scientifically illiterate Government or one that cares nothing for its legacy. Whichever it may be, these are undesirable characteristics of a government facing the climate change and other strategic challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Click here to view full story…

and

AEF damning assessment of Heathrow recommendation and its environmental impacts

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) is the main group in the UK assessing UK aviation policy for its environment impacts, with several decades of expertise. They have had a first look at the government’s Heathrow decision, and are underwhelmed. Some of their comments: On CO2 the DfT says that keeping UK carbon emissions to within the 37.5 MtCO2 cap while adding a Heathrow runway effectively cannot be done. AEF says the DfT now has no commitment to the 37.5 MtCO2 cap, and just includes vague references to the ICAO global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management -though both measures are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling.

AEF said on carbon emissions: 

As AEF has consistently pointed out, and as the Committee on Climate Change reminded Government today, there is no plan for delivering the aviation emissions limit required to deliver the Climate Change Act either with or without a new runway.

The last time we had a government supporting runway expansion, it specified that this would be conditional on the sector’s CO2 emissions being on course not to exceed 37.5 Mt by 2050, in line with the CCC’s advice. Today’s announcement included no such commitment, instead making vague references to the global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management – both measures that are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling, and that won’t bring us anywhere near to achieving the minimum level of ambition required under UK law.

So what does the Government have to say about how the CCC’s recommendation will be met? The answer is deeply buried in a technical paper released alongside the announcement which states that the Airports Commission’s carbon-capped scenario “is helpful for understanding the varying effects of constraining aviation CO2 emissions on aviation demand and the impact on the case for airport expansion but was described by the AC as ‘unrealistic in future policy terms’”. In other words it can’t be done.

Click here to view full story…

 

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CAA writes to Heathrow setting out its expectations, including preventing airline cost rises

Andrew Haines, the CEO of the CAA, has written to John Holland-Kaye to tell him that airport charges should be kept down, despite the huge costs of the runway and terminal etc. The CAA is the body that controls Heathrow’s charges to airlines. Mr Haines said the CAA “expects to see constructive engagement between the airport and its airline customers to drive value for money and efficiency.”  The CAA will soon publish (November) their proposals on how Heathrow can recover planning and construction costs.  The letter to Heathrow says: “But a new runway project cannot simply be treated as ‘business as usual’ and it will require airport-airline engagement to be taken to a deeper and much more productive level by both sides.”  And “You will have seen the Government’s aspiration that airport charges should remain close to current levels, indeed the Secretary of State was clear on this being a goal inches announcement.” And the CAA is keen to work with Heathrow, the airlines and other interested parties on the appropriate framework for the recovery of future construction costs, and their immediate priority is a clear timetable for this. There will also be a CAA consultation on key options for the economic regulation framework, to be published by the end of June 2017. There will also be a series of consultation documents through 2017 in which the CAA “will seek to build and expand on its regulatory principles.”
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CAA sets out expectations to Heathrow Airport for delivering a new runway

Following the Government’s announcement of Heathrow as its preferred location for a new runway, the CAA has today written to John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s chief executive, setting out its expectations for the efficient delivery of this new infrastructure.
25.10.2016   (CAA press release)
– Regulator writes to chief executive of Heathrow Airport setting out clear expectations for delivery of the new runway, following Government announcement
– Value for money and cost efficiency will be crucial to the process
– Airport must manage the legitimate concerns of local communities
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Following the Government’s announcement of Heathrow as its preferred location for a new runway, the CAA has today written to John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s chief executive, setting out its expectations for the efficient delivery of this new infrastructure. The letter itself is at  http://www.caa.co.uk/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=4294981598
As the UK’s independent aviation regulator, the CAA has consistently made the case for additional aviation capacity to prevent consumers facing less choice, lower service quality and higher airfares in the future. The regulator has also been clear that any new capacity must consider the legitimate needs and concerns of affected local communities.  The CAA now has a role to play in determining how much Heathrow can charge airlines, and ultimately consumers, for the building and financing of the project.
The regulator has emphasised to Heathrow the importance of the airport making it clear how it will deliver on its recent promises not to increase prices as the runway development progresses.  The CAA expects to see effective engagement between the airport and its airline customers to drive value for money and efficiency.  The regulator has also told the airport to set out clear plans for engaging with local communities and addressing their legitimate concerns around issues such as compensation, operational procedures and participation in the airspace change process.
Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the CAA, said:
“The need for additional aviation capacity is clear and we welcome the Government’s announcement.  We now expect Heathrow to set out how it will meet its promise not to increase prices and deliver a cost efficient programme in conjunction with its airline customers.  We also expect the airport to ensure the legitimate concerns of communities near the airport are properly and fully considered and that a credible package of measures to manage those concerns is in place.”
As well as setting the maximum amount the airport can charge airlines and also establishing minimum service standards for the airport, the CAA also has other roles to play.  These include implementing Government policy on airspace changes to ensure the best balance is reached between safety, efficiency and community impact; and that the design and operation of the new runway meets the required safety standards.
The CAA has published a number of policy documents relating to the principles it has established for its approach to the required economic regulation. This includes a consultation on how the chosen scheme can recover planning and construction costs and we expect to publish our final proposals for this shortly.  Further consultation documents will be published in the coming months.
For media enquiries contact the CAA Press Office on 00 44 (0)207 453 6030 or press.office@caa.co.uk. You can follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA.
-ENDS-
Notes to editors
The letter sent by the CAA to Heathrow Airport is available here  http://www.caa.co.uk/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=4294981598
More information on the CAA’s economic regulation role in new airport capacity is available in this In Focus document.  [This page says:  “On 25 October, the Government announced its proposal to allow additional runway capacity to be developed at Heathrow Airport, subject to a consultation and going through parliamentary process.
Here we explain the CAA’s role in the process going forwards.” The document is at http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%201466%20Heathrow.pdf
The CAA is the UK’s aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.
 
https://www.caa.co.uk/News/CAA-sets-out-expectations-to-Heathrow-Airport-for-delivering-a-new-runway/
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“What is the CAA’s economic regulation role in new airport capacity?”

http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%201466%20Heathrow.pdf
The CAA’s document  (25th October 2016) says:
On 25 October, the Government announced its proposal to allow additional runway capacity to be developed at Heathrow Airport, subject to a consultation and going through parliamentary process. Here we explain the CAA’s role in the process going forwards
The CAA is the UK’s independent aviation regulator, with responsibility for economic regulation, airspace policy, safety regulation and consumer protection. We will lead the economic regulation of new airport capacity.
We understand the vital importance of our role and will, along with others, aim to ensure that the airport delivers any new runway in an economic, efficient and timely manner.
Our duties are set out in the Civil Aviation Act 2012 (the “Act”). Our primary duty is to further the interests of users of air transport services regarding the range, availability, continuity, cost and quality of airport operation services. Passengers and air cargo owners are therefore at the heart of our decisions.

The role of economic regulation

Under the Act, in 2014 we granted Heathrow Airport Ltd (Heathrow) a licence which allows them to levy charges for their services up to certain limits and subject to service quality standards, also set by us. We have strong powers to compel compliance with the licence through enforcement orders and to exact penalties for breaches. The principal purpose of this economic regulation is to protect consumers from the adverse effects of companies with substantial market power.
The legislation defining the breadth of our powers and responsibilities is similar to that governing other UK independent economic regulators. Over the past 30 years, independent economic regulation has provided a stable and consistent framework which has encouraged new businesses to enter markets, compete and invest billions of pounds in new infrastructure. This has encouraged Heathrow to invest around £11 billion in infrastructure projects since 2003/4, improving the quality of service and facilities offered to passengers.

The CAA’s economic regulation of new airport capacity

We currently set a price cap on Heathrow’s airport charges under a traditional Regulatory Asset Base (RAB) model on a 5-year cycle. Broadly speaking, the cap on airport charges is calculated with reference to the amount of investment, an estimated fair return on that investment (based on the risks involved) and the level of efficiently incurred operating expenses. A single till approach is used, where the commercial and other revenues are then deducted from the total revenue requirement.
With a new runway under design and construction, we will continue to regulate the existing operations at the airport. This will be done through periodic reviews of its licence, monitoring the effective operation of the airport, as well as regulating the costs and delivery of the new runway.
Any new runway will be privately financed by the airport’s investors and paid for by airlines through airport charges which then has a knock-on impact on the ticket prices of consumers flying with those airlines. As with our work on existing operations, we will regulate the construction of the new runway in the interest of passengers and cargo owners and in accordance with all our statutory duties. We will expect Heathrow and the airlines operating at the airport to encourage productive engagement and discussions which support the ongoing development of the scheme.
The nature of this project, however, is unprecedented in terms of its economic regulation. The expansion of Heathrow will be a global first: no other major airport expansion of such scale and complexity has been financed by private capital. We are giving very careful consideration to how we will regulate the airport to ensure that the new runway is delivered efficiently, with regard to both financing and construction costs.

Scrutiny of the cost and design of new airport capacity

Expansion must deliver good value for money for the consumers who will pay for it and we note the aim of Government to see airport charges at Heathrow maintained as close as possible to their current level.
It is therefore crucial that the aviation community scrutinise the design of the runway, to help us ensure that it is cost efficient. In the normal course of Heathrow’s 5-year regulatory cycle, we undertake a process called constructive engagement, where we harness the unique and strong position of the airlines to help drive efficient airport design and delivery. In the period following the Government announcement, we will facilitate intensive discussions between the airport and airlines on the cost and design of the scheme.

Consultation(s) on economic regulation

We have already published a number of policy documents identifying distinct categories of cost and broad principles for how Heathrow can recover its planning and construction costs. Our current plans are to publish a series of consultation documents through 2017 in which we will seek to build and expand on our regulatory principles.
We recognise the need for certainty and progress, but we must be diligent in our approach. We recently ran an initial consultation on the regulatory treatment of planning costs. We intend to publish our final proposals in November 2016. This will reduce the uncertainty faced by Heathrow and its investors and encourage investment to proceed in a timely way. Securing planning permission is a sizeable and complex task, and Heathrow is likely to incur a significant amount of expenditure years before additional capacity becomes operational.
Subsequent consultations will set out our views on other elements of the economic regulation framework, including:
■ the overall timetable for the regulatory process;
■ the long-term nature of capacity expansion and any implications for the length and structure of the regulatory price control cycle;
■ risk allocation and the implications for the allowed return on capital;
■ views on pre-funding;
■ the treatment of surface access costs; and
■ compensation to local communities (e.g. in relation to noise and blight)
Many of our decisions on these issues will require changes to the licence when implemented. These changes are subject to appeal, permitting Heathrow and the airlines an opportunity to challenge our decision making within the framework.
The settlement for expansion will be subject to equal rights of appeal from airlines and the airport. We will therefore fulfil our obligation to act in a balanced way and be scrutinised accordingly.
This document focusses on the economic regulation of new capacity. We will also publish further information on airspace and environmental factors in which we have a role to play.
http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%201466%20Heathrow.pdf
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And the FT said:
Robert Wright, Transport Correspondent
Plans for a new, third runway at Heathrow airport look set to become embroiled in deeper controversy over costs after the airports regulator said it expected charges to customers to hold steady during construction work.
A statement from the Civil Aviation Authority appears to rule out any increases in charges while the runway is built. Heathrow has said only that it will hold prices steady “on average” up until 2048, but that they will rise in some years and fall in others.
Airlines pay Heathrow £19.33 per departing passenger, which adds to the price of tickets. International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, which is the biggest user of Heathrow, has warned that if the charge rises further, it will be uneconomic for many passengers.
Airlines have demanded that Heathrow’s shareholders finance the £16.5bn cost of building a third runway and that charges to users should not rise.
The CAA told the Financial Times: “We expect Heathrow to set out how it will meet its promise not to increase prices and deliver a cost-efficient programme in conjunction with its airline customers.”
The battle over who pays to expand Europe’s busiest airport by passenger numbers is likely to be prolonged.
https://www.ft.com/content/90186592-9b95-11e6-b8c6-568a43813464
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Caroline Lucas: “The expansion of Heathrow is unforgivable – we will fight this decision”

Caroline Lucas, a long standing opponent of aviation expansion due to its carbon emissions, has expressed her anger at the government’s decision to back Heathrow. She says: “This is not a win for families who jet off on a holiday once a year – this is to pacify the needs of those privileged individuals who fly regularly.” … “the Government is ignoring the abundant evidence. .. For those of us who care about Britain’s role in combating climate change, and for people living in west London, today’s decision is a disaster.” … “We are living under a Government that says it wants to allow people to “take back control”, yet it is pressing ahead with a decision that will inflict more noise and pollution on a local community that’s already suffering…”  … “average CO2 levels are now more than 400 parts per million. The effects of burning more and more dirty fossil fuels are well known…” …  “Theresa May knows all of this of course and, at times, she appears to really care. Earlier this year she proudly told the House of Commons that the UK is the “second best country in the world for tackling climate change”. That’s why her decision back expansion at Heathrow is so unforgivable. ” … “today’s decision puts a wrecking ball through the UK’s climate change commitments.” … “we need practical proposals [like aa frequent-flyer levy] to keep aviation at levels that are compatible with fighting climate change, and which require no new runways.”
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The expansion of Heathrow is unforgivable – we will fight this decision

This is not a win for families who jet off on a holiday once a year – this is to pacify the needs of those privileged individuals who fly regularly

By Caroline Lucas @CarolineLucas   (Independent – Voices)

25 October 2016

Heathrow expansion protesters gather outside Parliament Reclaim the Power
It’s finally been confirmed: the Government is ignoring the abundant evidence and backing expansion of Europe’s biggest airport. For those of us who care about Britain’s role in combating climate change, and for people living in west London, today’s decision is a disaster.

This will directly affect those living around Heathrow, with increased pollution, noise and daily disruption to their lives – and it will benefit only the wealthier fliers, with just 15 per cent of UK residents accounting for seven out of 10 of all flights taken. This is not a win for families who jet off on a holiday once a year (and most people don’t even do that); this is to pacify the needs of those privileged individuals who fly regularly.

We are living under a Government that says it wants to allow people to “take back control”, yet it is pressing ahead with a decision that will inflict more noise and pollution on a local community that’s already suffering – all for the benefit of aviation lobbyists and the business-class set.

The expansion announcement today comes days after leading scientists said that the world is entering a new “climate change reality”, as average carbon dioxide levels are now more than 400 parts per million. The effects of burning more and more dirty fossil fuels are well known, but worth reiterating. From an increase in devastating flooding in Britain, to wildfires in Indonesia and more hurricanes hitting the Caribbean – climate change affects everyone’s lives, but hits the most vulnerable communities hardest.

Theresa May knows all of this of course and, at times, she appears to really care. Earlier this year she proudly told the House of Commons that the UK is the “second best country in the world for tackling climate change”. That’s why her decision back expansion at Heathrow is so unforgivable. And let’s just be clear about this: today’s decision puts a wrecking ball through the UK’s climate change commitments. This decision comes in the same week that the UK Government is in court for failing to tackle illegal air pollution limits.

Lifting people into in the air requires a lot of energy, and there’s no prospect of that energy coming from low carbon sources anytime soon. That’s why, unlike every other part of the economy, aviation isn’t expected to reduce its emissions. This already generous exemption is now set to be magnified many times over. If we’re serious about climate change, we would need to make even deeper carbon cuts in other parts of the economy (and we’re already failing to do that).

Another solution would be to force Northern airports to limit flights and bring in a substantially higher tax on flying – are the Government going to take those actions? Of course not.

Those of us who want to reduce the impact of flying cannot just wish away increased demand – instead we need practical proposals to keep aviation at levels that are compatible with fighting climate change, and which require no new runways.

One such proposal, a frequent-flyer levy, would reduce demand for airport expansion through a fairer tax on flights that increases depending on the number of flights you take. It’s clear that the small minority of wealthy individuals who fly often are fuelling the demand for new runways. The proposed frequent-flyer levy would be a fair way to manage demand – the crucial missing part of any aviation policy serious about tackling climate change and protecting local communities.

Another alternative would be to redirect investment away from airport expansion and into improving railways and reducing fares – to end the ridiculous situation where flying is often cheaper than taking the train to nearby destinations.

Ministers know very well that airport expansion, at Heathrow or anywhere else for that matter, will leave our climate change commitments in tatters – and we need to make sure they know that climate campaigners and local residents have absolutely no plans to give up this battle.

Caroline Lucas is co-leader of the Green Party
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/heathrow-expansion-gatwick-green-party-theresa-may-carbon-emissions-wealthy-a7379136.html

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See also

John Sauven: The decision to back a 3rd Heathrow runway is a grotesque, cynical, folly

Writing in the Guardian, the Director of Greenpeace UK – John Sauven – explains why the government approval of a Heathrow runway is so cynical. The reality, which is well known by the government, and the “independent” Airports Commission, is that UK aviation carbon emissions are on target to far exceed the level at which they need to be, under the 2008 Climate Change Act. Adding an extra runway only exacerbates that problem. If the UK was half serious about its global obligations to cut CO2 (which it does not appear to be) the simplest solution would be not to build a new runway – which needlessly raises emissions. But instead, as the job of the Commission was to get a Heathrow runway to appear possible and desirable, they made some obscure assumptions (well hidden in endless supporting documents) which were not intended to be understood. Realising CO2 would be too high, they postulated a sky high price of carbon. That would mean the price of air tickets would rise dramatically, cutting exactly the extra demand the runway had been built to cater for. Otherwise, either the emissions of the regional airports would have to be cut, to let the monster Heathrow continue to expand – or else the UK just abandons any pretence of an aviation carbon target. Both are cynical, demonstrating the absence of any credible aviation carbon policy. It demonstrates that the government is at best half hearted on climate commitments.

Click here to view full story…

AEF damning assessment of Heathrow recommendation and its environmental impacts

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) is the main group in the UK assessing UK aviation policy for its environment impacts, with several decades of expertise. They have had a first look at the government’s Heathrow decision, and are underwhelmed. Some of their comments: On CO2 the DfT says that keeping UK carbon emissions to within the 37.5 MtCO2 cap while adding a Heathrow runway effectively cannot be done. AEF says the DfT now has no commitment to the 37.5 MtCO2 cap, and just includes vague references to the ICAO global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation agreed this month, and to potential efficiencies arising from better air traffic management -though both measures are (effectively) already taken into account in the CCC’s modelling. On air pollution, the DfT says “a new runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, if necessary mitigation measures are put in place, in line with the ‘National air quality plan’, published in December 2015.” But AEF says Government appears to have little idea what those mitigation measures will be, and the deliverability of the plan has already, therefore, been questioned through the courts. And on noise AEF says the noise impact will depend heavily on the precise location of flight paths, which are unknown.

Click here to view full story…

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Standard: “Official: Heathrow Airport expansion threatens to worsen London’s air quality”

The Standard reports that according to the government’s own analysis, a 3rd runway at Heathrow threatens to worsen air quality in central London.  The focus on whether a 3rd runway would worsen breaches of NO2 levels has been on the area around the airport. But a study (by Parsons Brinckerhoff) for the DfT highlighted that adding a runway risks increasing pollution in central London too. The impact would not be large, but it is more likely, in some scenarios, to push NO2 levels even closer to the legal limit or worsen breaches which may still be happening in 2025 due to traffic levels in central boroughs. This is because the wind is westerly for around 60 – 70% of the year in the south east.  The new DfT study also raised doubts over whether another Heathrow runway could be opened in 2025  without breaching EU legal limits on NO2.  Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said that meeting air quality legal requirements is a condition of planning approval, but has no concrete proposals to indicate how this could be done.  He hopes the 2015 Air Quality Plan by Defra, and new measures around Heathrow, would keep levels down. ClientEarth are currently embroiled in a Judicial Review against the Government on the plan, as it will not improve air quality fast enough (partly due to cost saving). The Defra study was before the truth the “dieselgate” scandal was fully appreciated, or new analysis showing NO2 from diesels is worse than had been thought.
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Official: Heathrow Airport expansion threatens to worsen London’s air quality

By NICHOLAS CECIL

26.10.2016  (Standard)
A third runway at Heathrow threatens to worsen air quality in central London, according to the Government’s own analysis.

It also raised doubts over whether another runway could be opened in 2025 at the west London airport without breaching EU legal limits on air pollution.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said that meeting air quality legal requirements is a condition of planning approval.

 

He insisted a third runway could be built within air quality limits but accepted some residents in west London would be affected by noise and having to move home because of the expansion.

“Of course it is difficult if you’re directly affected by the change — and I feel deeply sorry for those who are — but ultimately in politics you have to do what’s best for the whole United Kingdom,” he said. He also told BBC radio that the new runway might be built over the M25, saying it would be “cheaper and quicker” than tunnelling.

The focus on whether a third runway would worsen breaches of nitrogen dioxide levels in London has been on the area around the airport. But a study for the Department for Transport highlighted that expansion risks increasing pollution in central London.

Even though the possible impact from a third runway on the city centre is only very small, it is more likely, in some scenarios, to push NO2 levels even closer to the legal limit or worsen breaches which may still be happening in 2025 due to traffic levels in central boroughs.

Ministers insist that its 2015 Air Quality Plan and new measures around Heathrow will ensure that London will not be breaking these pollution levels by 2025.

However, environmental lawyers ClientEarth are currently embroiled in a Judicial Review against the Government on the plan, arguing that it fails to clean up toxic air in the capital quickly enough.

 

But a DfT spokesman said: “The Government believes that the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme could be delivered without impacting on the UK’s compliance with air quality limit values, with a suitable package of policy and mitigation measures.”

The report for the DfT also admitted it had not included key new analysis showing emissions from some diesel vehicles are worse than previously claimed.

If they were included, it added, a third runway is “at risk of worsening exceedances” of pollution levels on some roads.

But it stressed that this would be “unlikely” to affect overall compliance for London to pollution rules.

John Stewart, chairman of anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan, seized on these admissions to accuse the Government of “wing and a prayer decision-making” based on “outdated air pollution figures”. He also claimed ministers were “stalling” on banning a fourth runway. The Airports Commission concluded that a fourth runway should be “firmly” ruled out.

Mr Grayling yesterday stopped short of making this commitment in the Commons.

However, a DfT spokesman said this morning: “We accept the Airports Commission’s recommendation and we will explicitly exclude the possibility of a fourth runway.”

This is expected to happen in the National Policy Statement on airports next year.

But shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, warned if the Government left open the door to a fourth runway it would “escalate the battle” it faced with Londoners and environmentalists.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/official-heathrow-airport-expansion-threatens-to-worsen-londons-air-quality-a3379151.html

 

Zac Goldsmith, who resigned as MP for Richmond Park yesterday, sparking a by-election, said: “In a project full of obstacles and risks, air quality is among the highest. On that issue alone, Heathrow’s plans are likely to be scuppered.”

He also signalled willingness to work with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, despite their fiercely-fought mayoral race, to block Heathrow expansion.

“I will work with anyone and everyone to defeat the third runway, from all parties and none,” he said, adding that he already been “overwhelmed” by offers of support.

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And the Guardian adds: 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/oct/26/heathrows-third-runway-public-bill-hidden-tory-mp-stephen-hammond-taxpayer-cost?CMP=share_btn_link

….concerns over noise and air pollution have been heightened by a Department forTransport report into air quality. Campaigners have highlighted an apparent admission that pollution is likely to rise in parts of London with a third runway, which they say potentially makes the scheme illegal.

The report, produced by Parsons Brinckerhoff for the DfT, said that Heathrow was “at risk of worsening exceedances of limit values alongside some roads within greater London, but this would be unlikely to affect the overall zone compliance”.

However, this is likely to be contested. Legal opinion obtained by the Clean Air in London campaign, from Robert McCracken QC, states that worsening pollution in any areas that already exceed legal limits would break the law.

Grayling has said that the runway cannot go ahead without complying with air quality obligations, which the report suggests would be entirely dependent on proposed mitigation schemes from Heathrow.

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See earlier:

 

Cameron aide said government was “exposed on Heathrow” over air quality and “did not have the answers”

A memo sent by a Downing Street policy advisor, to David Cameron in September 2015 shows that the government were aware of the air pollution problem at Heathrow. The advisor, Camilla Cavendish, wrote that the air pollution plans by Liz Truss (then Environment Secretary) were inadequate and would not restrict the levels of NO2 around Heathrow. Camilla said: “There are three problems with Liz’s clean air plan as currently written. First it is still very much a draft which quotes initiatives that are likely to be abolished … Second it both over-claims and underwhelms. … It says we want the cleanest air in the world but does not even begin to tackle the fundamental question of how we might help people to shift away from diesel cars. Third, it leaves us exposed on Heathrow where we don’t yet have an answer on air quality.” Cameron said in December 2015 that the government would undertake more work on the Heathrow air pollution issue.  Defra published its national air quality plan in December 2015 with no mention of Heathrow and has not said more on this publicly since. Cavendish, who is now a Conservative peer, has now said she believes “successive governments have failed the public on air quality. Too many people in Whitehall and parliament think they can play it down because it’s invisible.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/10/cameron-aide-said-government-was-exposed-on-heathrow-over-air-quality-and-did-not-have-the-answers/


DEFRA produces plan to improve air quality – Client Earth regards it as inadequate

A ruling by the Supreme Court in April 2015 required the government to produce a comprehensive plan to meet air pollution limits by December. The government has now produced this. The intention is that it has to include low emission zones, congestion charging and other economic incentives. It is thought that due to the failure to meet European limits of harmful NOx gases, which are mostly caused by diesel traffic, there are up to 9,500 premature deaths each year in London alone. Under the government’s plan, “Clean Air Zones” will be introduced – by 2020 – in areas of Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton where pollution is most serious. However, though vehicles like old buses, taxis, coaches and lorries have to pay a charge to enter these zones – private passenger cars will not be charged. Also newer vehicles that meet the latest emission standards will not need to pay. Client Earth, the lawyers who brought the legal case against the UK government, for breaching the EU’s Air Quality Directive, said the plan falls far short of the action necessary to comply with the Supreme Court ruling, and they will make a legal challenge to force the government to take faster action to achieve legal pollution limits. “As soon as possible,” or by 2020, is not soon enough.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/12/defra-produces-plan-to-improve-air-quality-client-earth-regards-it-as-inadequate/


 

AEF considers DEFRA’s updated air quality plan is insufficient to address Heathrow’s pollution challenge

Air pollution around Heathrow has been in breach of legal limits for many years and could prove a significant barrier to a 3rd runway. At the time of the Airports Commission’s recommendation this summer, the Government’s modelling indicated that breaches of the NO2 limit in London would continue until and perhaps beyond 2030. Under the Commission’s plan a new Heathrow runway could be operational by 2025, and would be likely to further worsen air quality in the Heathrow area.  AEF reports that Defra has now published an updated air quality ‘plan’, in response to the Supreme Court ruling in April that the Government’s strategy would fail to achieve EU legal limits in the ‘shortest time possible’ and must be improved.  Under the revised plan, NO2 would be within legal limits by 2025 throughout London. But the improvements compared with the earlier plan appear to relate almost entirely to new, more optimistic assumptions being made about emissions from diesel vehicles rather than to any new policies or strategies at a national level. The only significant new proposal relates to the formation of Clean Air Zones in order to restrict high emissions vehicles. The AEF does not consider that the measures can deal adequately with air pollution around Heathrow, with a new runway.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/11/aef-considers-defras-updated-air-quality-plan-is-insufficient-to-address-heathrows-pollution-challenge/

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John Sauven: The decision to back a 3rd Heathrow runway is a grotesque, cynical, folly

Writing in the Guardian, the Director of Greenpeace UK – John Sauven – explains why the government approval of a Heathrow runway is so cynical. The reality, which is well known by the government, and the “independent” Airports Commission, is that UK aviation carbon emissions are on target to far exceed the level at which they need to be, under the 2008 Climate Change Act. Adding an extra runway only exacerbates that problem.  If the UK was half serious about its global obligations to cut CO2 (which it does not appear to be) the simplest solution would be not to build a new runway – which needlessly raises emissions. But instead, as the job of the Commission was to get a Heathrow runway to appear possible and desirable, they made some obscure assumptions (well hidden in endless supporting documents) which were not intended to be understood. Realising CO2 would be too high, they postulated a sky high price of carbon. That would mean the price of air tickets would rise dramatically, cutting exactly the extra demand the runway had been built to cater for.  Otherwise, either the emissions of the regional airports would have to be cut, to let the monster Heathrow continue to expand – or else the UK just abandons any pretence of an aviation carbon target. Both are cynical, demonstrating the absence of any credible aviation carbon policy.  It demonstrates that the government is at best half hearted on climate commitments.
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The decision to back a third runway at Heathrow is a grotesque folly

Business flights are declining, CO 2 levels are climbing, and the cost of expansion is staggering. Only shameless cynicism can explain this outcome
25.10.2016  (The Guardian)

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The government’s decision to back a third runway at Heathrow has been informed by a mishmash of misinformation and missing information. To take just one example, business flights are in decline. They’ve been in decline for years. And yet the debate is conducted as though they were not only increasing, but increasing at a rate that our current infrastructure is unable to cater for, and our economy is suffering as a result. But they’re not, they’re declining.

Here’s another. Heathrow can’t afford to expand with its own money. Surface access costs for Heathrow are only affordable with a huge subsidy from the taxpayer. Heathrow will only pay £1bn for the additional road and rail links required to get the extra passengers to and from Heathrow.Transport for London say it will cost £18bn. Anyone see a small discrepancy?

There may be general, underlying sociological trends which explain why the big issues of our time are decided on the basis of incomplete and misleading information, but with the runway argument there is an additional reason. We privatised the decision.

By turning it into a competition between Heathrow and Gatwick lobbyists, we allowed the debate to be conducted by two parties that both firmly agreed that building a new runway in the south-east should be the nation’s top priority.

They were both happy to point out the relative flaws in their rival’s plans, but are equally content to ignore any flaws which affect both.The media accepted the framing, and so despite extensive coverage, the biggest, most important flaw has been missing from the debate. The BBC has covered Heathrow on all of its flagship news and politics shows – Newsnight, the Daily Politics, the Today Programme – without even touching on the main issue.

It’s easy to miss something that’s invisible, silent, odourless and tasteless. Particularly when you have a strong financial incentive to do so. And the entire aviation industry has a very strong financial incentive to ignore CO2. They’ve been successfully ignoring it for decades, and last month’s UN-affiliated international aviation conference made it abundantly clear that it is content to continue with its current approach.

Unfortunately, there are no imminent technologies that, in the short to medium term, will make aviation a low-carbon industry. The only feasible way to significantly reduce aviation’s impact on the climate is to significantly reduce aviation.

The Climate Change Act requires the UK economy to reduce its emissions by 80% from 1990 levels, by 2050. Aviation is allowed to increase its emissions by 120% from 1990 levels. They are on course to exceed that 120% without any new runways. So how will building a new runway in the south-east reduce the number of flights down to a level consistent with that target? Unsurprisingly, it won’t. In fact, entirely predictably, it will hugely increase flights and emissions.

Or so a naive observer might think. The serious players in this debate have a different answer to that question. The Davies commission, that entirely independent and impartial inquiry into what colour Heathrow’s third runway should be, has said that it will fit within the UK’s carbon budget. So that’s that, issue resolved. Except, it won’t explain how. This reluctance encompasses the majority who don’t understand how Sir Howard Davies came to such a counterintuitive conclusion, and the small minority who understand all too well.

Davies’ “solution” exists as fragments scattered through his 600-page multi-volume report in an as obscure and obfuscatory manner as he could manage. It’s designed, very effectively, not to be understood. It consists primarily of demand-control measures, primarily carbon taxes. Davies is saying (or rather whispering in pig Latin with a paper bag on his head) that we can build a new runway that has the specific purpose of increasing flights so long as we increase the price of those flights so much that demand drops to a level that reduces the number of flights overall. There are two ways to interpret this “solution”.

One is to accept that everyone is on the level. The new runway will be built, flights will increase, the emissions from aviation will soar ever higher above their target level, and then the government will introduce a carbon tax or similar instrument which will be so punitive, adding hundreds of pounds to every ticket, that demand will drop dramatically back to levels not seen for 40 years. The consequence would be a severe scaling back, or perhaps even closure of airports, in poorer regions of Britain, but not, perhaps, in west London. According to this interpretation, the new runway is not an attempt to increase capacity at all, but to move existing capacity south. And this is in some way a good and useful thing that we should spend billions of public money to support.

The other plausible interpretation is that Davies’ plan for hitting aviation’s carbon targets isn’t really serious. So, the plan for demand-control measures was seen as a necessary thing to have for legal purposes, in order to get the runway built, but was always known to be just as daft as it sounds, and that’s why it was effectively hidden from view.

I’m not certain which is more cynical, the idea that the government is willing to spend taxpayers’ money to redistribute mobility from the poor to the rich, or the idea that Davies’ report is designed to be a black box that allows aviation to expand so long as no one looks inside, an invisible solution to an invisible problem.

Unfortunately, the invisible problem is real.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/25/heathrow-third-runway-davies-commission

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See also

Statements by Professors Kevin Anderson and Alice Larkin, about how the UK should NOT be building a runway

 

Statement by Professor Alice Larkin

“The highly constrained carbon budget that is consistent with the Paris Agreement requires all fossil fuel consuming sectors to urgently accelerate towards full decarbonisation – and while some sectors will achieve this sooner than others, no sector can be excluded. Technical and even operational options for decarbonising the aviation sector within a timeframe consistent with the Paris goals are few and far between. As such, demand-side measures that constrain further growth, must receive much greater attention. Equally, policy measures aimed at increasing capacity and supporting further growth in air travel such as new runways, particularly within richer nations, are at odds with the Paris Agreement. Such developments risk future stranded assets, and should be avoided .”

Professor Alice Larkin:  

Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy, University of Manchester 


Statement by Professor Kevin Anderson

“The UK Government’s enthusiasm for more airport capacity alongside its clamour for high-carbon shale gas demonstrates a palpable disdain for the Paris Agreement. Both of these decisions will lock the UK into ongoing emissions of carbon dioxide for decades to come, putting short-term convenience and financial gain ahead of long-term and genuinely low-carbon prosperity. Such reckless disregard for the prospects of our own children and the well being of poor and climatically vulnerable communities arises from either a scientifically illiterate Government or one that cares nothing for its legacy. Whichever it may be, these are undesirable characteristics of a government facing the climate change and other strategic challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Professor Kevin Anderson: University of Manchester and Uppsala

Kevin Anderson is Professor of Energy and Climate Change in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester. He is Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and is research active with recent publications in Royal Society journals and Nature. He engages widely across all tiers of government; from reporting on aviation-related emissions to the EU Parliament, advising the Prime Minister’s office on Carbon Trading and having contributed to the development of the UK’s Climate Change Act.

With his colleague Alice Bows, Kevin’s work on carbon budgets has been pivotal in revealing the widening gulf between political rhetoric on climate change and the reality of rapidly escalating emissions. His work makes clear that there is now little chance of maintaining the rise in global temperature at below 2C, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary. Moreover, Kevin’s research demonstrates how avoiding even a 4C rise demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda and the economic characterisation of contemporary society.

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