The Airports Commission held their second evidence day, this time on Gatwick (the Heathrow day was on 3rd December). The format of the day was to give Stewart Wingate time to set out his runway plans and promote them. There were then speeches by Henry Smith MP and Crisipin Blunt MP, as well as others from Brendon Sewill (GACC), Sally Pavey (CAGNE), and Major Richard Streatfeild (HWPCAAG) for community groups. A range of councillors then spoke, as well as three people from the business organisations. Crispin Blunt spoke very strongly against the runway proposals, and the text of his speech is copied below. Interestingly, to pick out just two comments, he said – on the financing of the project – the claimed need for commercial confidence is an error because redactions in Gatwick published documents on tax, financing, profit and loss, cash flow etc and the assumptions that underlie, these figures are critical to enable MPs, the public etc to evaluate the airport’s proposal. Also that Gatwick is served only by a single rail and motorway connection. The airport, its passengers and its airlines is already dangerously vulnerable to disruption. It’s worth reading the speech.
CRISPIN BLUNT SLAMS GATWICK SECOND RUNWAY PLAN AT DAVIES HEARING
On Tuesday 16 December 2014, Crispin Blunt spoke at the Airports Commission Gatwick Area Public Discussion Session.
Below is a transcript of Crispin’s speech:
I chair the Gatwick Coordination Group formed with my parliamentary colleagues, Sir Paul Beresford, Sir Nicolas Soames, Sir John Stanley, Charles Hendry, and Nick Herbert. Local Frontbench colleagues are closely associated with our work even if they formally cannot endorse our position The group includes representatives of local authorities, parish councils and civil society sharing the common objective a critical examination of the case for a second runway at Gatwick Airport, and ensuring its consequences are understood.
“Gatwick Obviously” claim that expansion at Gatwick is easier to deliver and will have less impact on its communities than the alternatives. We wish to set the record straight before local people and the wider UK economy pay the price. The consequences outside the immediate perimeter of the airport belie the case made by “Gatwick Obviously”.
Current and planned infrastructure would be pushed way beyond its limits as there is already an infrastructure deficit.To make it work the nature of surrounding towns and countryside would be changed beyond recognition as they are forced to accommodate tens thousands more people.And the impact of ‘an airport bigger than Heathrow’ at Gatwick would leave London with a principal airport with no resilience in its surface access.It is highly questionable whether the finance will be forthcoming.
Heathrow Airport has more than 45 million surface access movements each year. It is already accessible via the M25 and M4, the Piccadilly Line, the Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect, and plans exist from an additional rail entry from Waterloo via Clapham Junction and Staines into Terminal 5, and Crossrail will be completed by 2018. If one of these routes is taken offline, all the other routes provide solid resilience. New rail access from the west and intersection with HS2 will further improve overall access to a larger Heathrow.
No such situation exists, or is even planned, for Gatwick. Yet GAL predicts 25.7 million train journeys per year by 2030 – double the number using rail at Heathrow today. That’s without even taking account of the ‘million tonnes’ of freight Gatwick expects the rail and road infrastructure to accommodate.
Gatwick is served only by a single rail and motorway connection. The airport, its passengers and its airlines is already dangerously vulnerable to disruption.
Gatwick relies and would rely on the Brighton main line (BML) for rail connections to and from London. Their substantive surface access submission is based on work which is already going ahead, which only addresses existing capacity problems. The commuters I represent will regard it as a sick joke that this line can carry significantly more passengers in peak hours when they are already standing and extra staff are being recruited to keep platforms safe at East Croydon so passengers don’t spill onto the tracks.
This line runs through the deepest cutting in Europe and is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather. Suicides happen about once a month bringing the line to a standstill for over an hour each time. Rail resilience to “events” is weak to non-existent as there is no realistic alternative route.
On the roads, you are familiar with the pace of the A23 into and out of London. The A23/M23 and M25/M23 are already beyond capacity and tinkering with several junctions on the M25 is not going to address this.
My question to the promoters is when anything goes wrong, air traffic control, shortage of baggage handlers, and most frequently suspension of the rail line – Gatwick collapses today. All of this gets worse as Gatwick gets bigger. How can you address this?
Towns, communities and countryside
Locally, we enjoy a strong economy and low unemployment. As of October 2014 there were 25,369 JSA claimants in the entire region stretching from north to south from Croydon to Brighton, and east to west from Lewes to Bognor Regis. The median percentage figure is just 1.7% of the entire population seeking work. I recall that at our meeting in July this year, I illustrated these figures and the area to which I refer on a roughly sketched map; allow me to do the same again, this time with much improved graphics.
The labour market in the region is absolutely saturated. GAL cannot answer where the 122,000-person workforce is going to materialise from to deliver the supposed £90 billion of economic benefit.
GAL’s own analysis shows that Gatwick already employs 31% of the total workforce in Crawley, 9% in my own constituency in Reigate. The assertion that the additional workforce will merrily make their way from Croydon – a town where at its worst, unemployment is at 4.4% in Croydon North – is fanciful even if attractive to the London Borough of Croydon.
A similar picture presents itself on the south coast where the worst unemployment is in Brighton Kempton at 3%.
These figures – and the recent example of Gatwick actually running out of baggage handlers with air-side security clearance in July this year – shows that there is no workforce, immediate or approximate, capable of staffing an expanded Gatwick.
If the number of jobs turned out to be the Commission’s most pessimistic assumptions there would be no economic benefit to the UK of this scheme. However we believe this is highly unlikely and GAL’s employment projections for an airport bigger than Heathrow understate the on-site jobs. To staff this vast new enterprise will require the migration of thousands of workers into the local area, flooding, probably literally, the existing infrastructure of schools, transport, health services and housing.
Blithely adding to housing forecasts which are already undeliverable without loss of Greenbelt and countryside does not answer how local communities are expected to cope with such an influx. Existing housing demand is already requiring options for development on the Green Belt in my constituency.
30,000 more local people will find themselves underneath flight paths and this year I have seen first-hand the despair and anger that a change from rural tranquillity to unanticipated overflight. This is a much more dramatic relative change than that proposed at Heathrow.
My question to the promoters is that PR-Nav has given you a small taste of the consequences of the destruction of the quality of life of your neighbours. Do you really believe your mitigation measures can repair your relationship with your host community?
The Commission has rather dryly said that the level of finance needed for the project, is “significantly larger than the company’s financing to date.”
With airport charges expected to rise beyond a sustainable level for its current airline customers, we question whether GAL has a viable case to raise the funds needed for expansion from its owners. Its principle shareholder, by its own policy, typically holds assets for only up to 10 years, which is before this project will be financed.
Last week, ratings agency Moody’s raised concern over the negative credit implications for Gatwick stating that the “financial risks…..are high given the size.”
The financing of this raises questions about whether there would be a satisfactory rate of return, figures of the Commission have access to. We believe conceding the claimed need for commercial confidence is in error as there is no alternative making a proposition on the same competitive basis. The Commission has permitted redactions on tax, financing, profit and loss, cash flow etcetera and it is the assumptions that underlie these figures that are critical to enable us and the public to evaluate this proposal.
The National Interest
As representatives in Westminster we should also look beyond our own constituencies. The central ‘exam question’ is how to maintain global connectivity for the UK, about this country’s competitiveness and future national growth and jobs.
The Commission’s own analysis shows that even in Gatwick’s imagined future – where ‘Low Cost is King’ – expansion here would be worth dramatically less to the UK in terms of GDP and jobs than the alternatives. The Commission’s analysis is that on most of all its economic scenarios £100 billion would be foregone by the UK if we went for Gatwick. That’s a lot of money.
My question to the promoters is how can you credibly challenge the Commission’s numbers if you won’t even give us your own?
It is a rare thing to have an airport so well connected as Heathrow – one of only six in its class around the world serving more than 50 long haul destinations – if we can’t afford to replicate and indeed improve that option east of London it would be bizarre to abandon Heathrow’s expensively won position..
Gatwick is a very good airport for what it is. But its failure to attract major airlines to fly from here to the destinations served by our competitors in France and Germany is striking. While Heathrow has been full for 10 years, there are virtually no long haul connections to the next generation of economic powerhouses – Brazil, India, and not a single route to China.
Gatwick is big enough and its supporting labour market, rail and road infrastructure are already beyond economic saturation.
Whilst local businesses will, of course, welcome a massive injection of extra demand, the reality is that demand can’t be served, certainly not on current plans.
There is no guarantee this proposal would be financed although a recommendation for Gatwick would still suit its Shareholders by holding back its main competitor: the principle hub in the UK.
Gatwick would be the wrong decision for the UK economy. The infrastructure reality is that the consequences for the local communities we represent would be to demand too much of local people, schools, housing and transport infrastructure. To make this plan work will need more, much more, of all of them than identified in GAL’s plans or I believe in the Commission’s analysis to date. The consequences will be an irrevocable disaster for those communities and these proposals are also not in the national interest. That is why the Group I chair oppose them.
 House of Commons library: Constituency profiles November 2014
 GAL press release – 23 July 2014
Read more »
The levels of air pollution in the Heathrow area already routinely breach EU limits (the Air Quality Directive), for nitrogen dioxide, due to the concentration of road traffic in the area – in addition to the aircraft. The UK has tried to avoid a showdown with the EU by agreeing to reduce air pollution levels in line with the EU directive by 2025, but the date has since slipped to ‘post 2030’. The European Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has now rejected this plan and UK ministers will have to prepare new measures for reducing illegal pollution levels ‘as soon as possible’. The CJEU has given the UK Supreme Court responsibility for enforcing compliance with air quality law. Judges will examine the case next year. The cross-party 2M group of councils opposing a 3rd Heathrow runway say this is a ‘major blow’ for the plans. Heathrow hopes that improvement, over coming years, in road vehicle emissions will solve their problem, but this is outside their control. The 2M groups says the Supreme Court will have to be convinced about the unlikely scenario in which air pollution can be reduced -while Heathrow increases flights, road traffic and freight.”
EU ruling ‘major blow’ for Heathrow Airport expansion plans
Dec 12, 2014 (Get West London)
By Will Ackermann
The cross-party 2M Group of councils says there is now ‘no way out’ for Heathrow, but the airport says the ruling makes no difference.
Pollution levels at Heathrow are already in breach of EU limits, so will the airport be allowed to expand?
Hopes for expanding Heathrow Airport were said to have been dealt a ‘major blow’ today, after the UK’s Supreme Court assumed responsibility for enforcing EU pollution law.
Nitrogen Dioxide levels at the airport are already in breach of the EU Air Quality Directive, although management blame traffic on the M4.
The government had attempted to avoid a showdown with the EU by agreeing to reduce pollution levels in line with the directive by 2025, but the date has since slipped to ‘post 2030’.
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has now rejected this plan and UK ministers will have to prepare new measures for reducing illegal pollution levels ‘as soon as possible’.
The CJEU has given the Supreme Court responsibility for enforcing compliance with air quality law. Judges will examine the case next year.
The cross-party 2M group of councils opposing expansion says this is a ‘major blow’ for the plans.
Hillingdon Council leader Councillor Ray Puddifoot, a spokesman for the group, said: “Before this ruling Heathrow believed it had over a decade to meet the legal pollution limits. Even then the airport was making some highly optimistic assumptions about cleaner aircraft being invented and then rushed into service.
“There is no way out of this for Heathrow. Ministers may have given them an easy ride but now the Supreme Court will have to be convinced pollution will be reduced ‘as soon as possible’ while increasing flights, road traffic and freight.”
Building a third runway would increase the annual number of flights at the airport from 480,000 to 740,000, while the freight operation would double in size, as would the number of people using the airport.
But Heathrow’s management say the ruling will have ‘no impact’ on their plans for expansion.
A spokeswoman said: “We take air quality very seriously and have always said we will only go ahead with Heathrow expansion if we can do so within strict air quality limits.
“Within two kilometres of the airport, the only air quality monitoring site to exceed the EU limit value for NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] is located alongside the M4. The results at that location are largely as a result of road traffic, approximately three quarters of which is not airport-related.
“In the last decade Heathrow has achieved significant reductions in emissions – even though the numbers of people and aircraft using Heathrow have increased. This is due to a number of unique initiatives to reduce local air pollution in Heathrow, including by promoting public transport options by funding the UK’s largest free travel zone, the use of more sustainable vehicle options through our Clean Vehicles Programme, hosting the UK’s first publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling site, and having one of Europe’s largest electric airside vehicle fleets.
“In recognition of its work to improve local air quality, Heathrow Airport has recently won the title of greenest business of the year at the 2014 West London Business Awards.”
EU Pollution Ruling Casts Fresh Doubts Over Heathrow Expansion
NO2 levels at Heathrow breach EU Air Quality Directive
10.12.2014 (Putney SW 15)
The cross-party 2M Group of councils is warning the Airports Commission and the Government that Heathrow expansion has become even more difficult after the UK’s Supreme Court was given responsibility to enforce EU pollution law.
Nitrogen Dioxide levels at Heathrow and other pollution hotspots across Greater London are currently in breach of the EU Air Quality Directive although Heathrow management say that road traffic from the M4 is primarily responsible.
The UK Government had attempted to avoid a showdown with the EU by producing a pollution action plan which would achieve legal compliance by 2025. The date has since slipped to ‘post 2030’.
Now this plan has been rejected by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) and UK ministers will have to prepare new plans to reduce illegal pollution levels “as soon as possible”.
The CJEU handed responsibility to enforce compliance with air quality law to the Supreme Court. Judges will examine the case next year. The case was brought to the CJEU by environmental group Client Earth.
The changing legal framework could pose a problem for Heathrow as it seeks permission to expand its operation.
Sir Howard Davies, head of the Airports Commission, and ministers will now have to review the Heathrow proposals in light of the Supreme Court’s new mandate to ensure Nitrogen Dioxide limits are met “as soon as possible”.
The airport’s application to build a third runway would increase annual flights from 480,000 to 740,000. The freight operation would double in size and the number of people using the airport would also double.
The cross-party 2M Group of councils say there is no way to reconcile a major expansion of Heathrow with an urgent requirement to reduce illegal Nitrogen Dioxide levels. In 2010 the 2M councils successfully overturned the previous Government’s third runway plan in the courts on air quality and environmental grounds. The campaign group believes regulation is now even tighter as a result of this ruling and none of the existing expansion plans can make it through the courts.
Ray Puddifoot, (pictured right) leader of Hillingdon Council and spokesman for 2M, said: “Before this ruling Heathrow believed it had over a decade to meet the legal pollution limits. Even then the airport was making some highly optimistic assumptions about cleaner aircraft being invented and then rushed into service. There is no way out of this for Heathrow. Ministers may have given them an easy ride but now the Supreme Court will have to be convinced pollution will be reduced “as soon as possible” while increasing flights, road traffic and freight.”
Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council and spokesman for 2M, said:
“The Government has to come up with a new plan to reduce Heathrow’s illegal pollution levels “as soon as possible”. There is no way ministers can sanction expansion and meet the terms of this ruling. The huge fines taxpayers would face for breaching these Nitrogen Dioxide limits would completely wipe-out any economic benefit the third runway could deliver. Expanding this airport is now a legal and political impossibility.”
However, a spokesman for a Heathrow spokesman advised that ‘Responsible Heathrow’, the airport’s sustainability strategy, including the airport’s pledge to reduce ground-based NOx emissions (aircraft, airside vehicles and airport related traffic) by 5% by 2020. Heathrow has reduced NOx emissions from every source since 2009, for example, from airside vehicles by 28%, and from heating plant by 70%.
The spokesman said: ““Within two km of the airport, the only air quality monitoring site to exceed the EU limit value for NO2 is located alongside the M4. The results at that location are largely as a result of road traffic, approximately three quarters of which is not airport-related.
“In the last decade Heathrow has achieved significant reductions in emissions – even though the numbers of people and aircraft using Heathrow have increased. This is due to a number of unique initiatives to reduce local air pollution in Heathrow, including by promoting public transport options by funding the UK’s largest free travel zone, the use of more sustainable vehicle options through our Clean Vehicles Programme, hosting the UK’s first publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling site, and having one of Europe’s largest electric airside vehicle fleets. In recognition of its work to improve local air quality, Heathrow Airport has recently won the title of greenest business of the year at the 2014 West London Business Awards.
He finished: “Heathrow’s expansion will only go ahead within strict environmental limits on local air quality and with strict mitigation strategies. Heathrow has a policy of full public disclosure of our expansion plans and we are committed to consulting closely with the public, local community, businesses, passengers, airport users and elected representatives to manage our environmental responsibilities.”
December 10, 2014
ECJ affirms UK’s right to clean air – the Government must act!
By Keith Taylor MEP
19th November 2014 (The Ecologist)
A landmark judgement by the European Court of Justice compels the UK Government to act as soon as possible to reduce air pollution in British cities, writes Keith Taylor – and a good thing too for our health, safety and well-being. But it’s not just the UK that benefits: every EU country must also comply with the ruling.
The UK Government should draw up and implement urgent plans immediately to drastically cut pollution from diesel vehicles and bring itself within the law.
The European Court of Justice delivered a landmark verdict today by ruling in favour of ClientEarth’s case against the UK Government for its failure to tackle air pollution.
This ground-breaking ruling, the first ever on the effect of the EU’s Air Quality Directive, puts the UK Government in “ongoing breach” of UK law.
And it means that the UK Supreme Court will be compelled to take action against the Government, with the threat of huge fines being handed out further down the line if the breach continues.
The ruling has also paved the way for future legal actions to enforce other EU targets on emissions and energy efficiency.
How did the Government get in such a mess?
The EU’s Air Quality Directive sets legal limits on air quality which member states are required to meet within a certain time frame.
Our current government is failing spectacularly to meet these targets: it has drawn up plans which show it will not meet nitrogen dioxide limits until after 2030 – 20 years after the original deadline!
This prompted environmental lawyers at ClientEarth to take our Government to court. This is embarrassing for the Government to say the least – and it’s deeply concerning that it takes an EU Court ruling for them to start taking the issue of air pollution seriously.
ClientEarth got it right when they said: “We have a legal right to breathe clean air. When the government fails in its duty to uphold that, the courts must step in.
“If the government were allowed to stick with current proposals for tackling pollution, a child born today in London, Birmingham or Leeds would have to wait until after their 16th birthday before they can breathe air that meets legal limits.
“ClientEarth does not believe this is acceptable, which is why we have challenged the government through the courts for the past five years to tackle the problem urgently. The longer government is allowed to delay, the more people will die or be made seriously ill by air pollution.”
In their judgment, the panel of European judges said the Government should have planned to secure compliance with the Directive by January 2015 – 15 years earlier than it intended.
Air pollution and disease – the facts
Air pollution, primarily caused by emissions from road vehicles, is the second biggest killer in our country after smoking. According to the Healthy Air campaign, air pollution contributes to around 200,000 early deaths in the UK each year.
Cars, lorries, vans and buses emit large amounts of air pollution directly into the streets where we live and work. With more vehicles on the road than ever, this is creating significant problems. In densely populated areas like London the impacts are exacerbated.
Burning fuels in boilers and power stations is another source of air pollution. Heating boilers, power generation, and industry burning coal, oil, wood, petrol, diesel and natural gas – energy sources which we are very reliant on, are all significant sources of pollution.
I also remain concerned about the impact of aviation on air pollution – particularly with proposals for a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick.
Air pollution is an invisible public health crisis. Long term exposure to air pollution is associated with heart and lung disease. Diesel fumes are the main source of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – a harmful gas linked with heart attacks and asthma and the gas that this court case rests on.
Children can be particularly vulnerable to the impacts. Research has shown that children growing up near motorways can suffer permanently reduced lung capacity. This may also be the case for people living nearby to other high polluting industries such as airports.
Even those who live and work in areas with clean air can have their health affected when they visit a polluted area as short term exposure to air pollution can irritate our airways, causing wheezing and shortness of breath. This is particularly a problem for those with existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma.
What happens next?
The growing problem of air pollution isn’t going to go away. As the Green MEP for South East England, an area widely affected by poor air quality, I believe this issue needs to be tackled at every level of Government, from local councils to Westminster.
For that to happen the Government must wake up to the reality of air pollution. Clean air is one of the fundamental things we need in order to enjoy good health and a good quality of life.
The judgment is also good news for the rest of Europe. As ClientEarth points out, today’s judgment sets a “groundbreaking legal precedent in EU law” – one that will paves the way for other legal challenges across the EU. ClientEarth has promised to “spearhead these efforts to help people defend their right to clean air in court.”
The legal case will return to the UK Supreme Court for a final ruling in 2015, for judges to apply the ECJ’s ruling to the facts in the UK case, following the judges order that
“it is for the national court having jurisdiction, should a case be brought before it, to take, with regard to the national authority, any necessary measure, such as an order in the appropriate terms, so that the authority establishes the plan required by the directive in accordance with the conditions laid down by the latter.”
In other words the UK Supreme Court is required to order the government to draw up a new plan to meet limits in a much shorter timeframe. But the Government should not wait until it is ordered – it should draw up and implement urgent plans immediately to drastically cut pollution from diesel vehicles and bring itself within the law.
In my opinion, dirty diesel-burning HGVs, buses and trains in particular should be a first priority for emissions reductions, with urban buses switching to ‘hybrid’ and purely electric technologies.
There’s also a case for ‘grounding’ all non-essential diesel vehicles at times of high air pollution. And the Green Party believes that London’s plans for an ‘ultra low emission zone’ should be rolled out nationally.
But we must also address the deeper causes – which means investing much more in sustainable transport methods such as cycling and walking, and the shift from cars to public transport to reduce overall traffic levels. The public must also be properly warned of the risks, and how to reduce exposure.
There’s lots to do – and it’s high time for the Government to stop prevaricating, wake up and get on with the job!
Read more »
Campaigners against a new runway at Heathrow r Gatwick, have attacked the multi-million ££ advertising and PR campaigns being mounted by both airports for their expansion plans. They say this huge expenditure is “subverting democracy” and drowning out discussion of alternatives – and the basic question of whether a runway should be built at all. A coalition of environmentalists and senior MPs has written to Sir Howard Davies, the head of the Airports Commission, to say the two airports are exerting “unfair influence” because of their marketing power and huge budgets for advertising and PR. There has been a blitz of large adverts in the national press and billboards or posters in prominent places, including Westminster Tube station and also close to the offices of Airports Commission. Heathrow has placed billboards as far afield as Newcastle and Manchester. One media buying agency told The Independent that the cost of both campaigns was likely to have exceeded £7m. Heathrow has also funded an astroturfing campaign called “Back Heathrow”, and repeatedly refused to say how much it has spent – and continues to spend – on this.
London airports’ PR blitz is ‘subverting democracy’
Anti-expansion campaigners claim they are being drowned out
By CAHAL MILMO (Independent)
12 December 2014
Campaigners against expansion of London’s airports have attacked the multi-million pound advertising and PR campaigns for new runways being mounted by Heathrow and Gatwick, claiming they are “subverting democracy” and drowning out discussion of alternatives.
A coalition of environmentalists and senior MPs has written to Sir Howard Davies, the head of the commission which will recommend next year which of the capital’s two largest airports should expand, alleging that the owners of both facilities are exerting “unfair influence” because of their marketing power.
The two rival airports have recently launched an advertising blitz with large adverts in the national press and billboards or posters in prominent places, including Westminster Underground station next to the Houses of Parliament and also close to the offices of Airports Commission.
Although Sir Howard is not due to finalise his recommendations until next summer, after the general election, and the final go-ahead will be in the hands of the next government, the two main players are engaged in a noisy public relations battle to put the case for their rival runway bids.
One media buying agency told The Independent that the cost of both campaigns was likely to have exceeded £7m. It emerged last week that Heathrow had also helped fund a community group arguing for expansion of the airport.
Gatwick expansion advert Gatwick expansion advert Campaigners said that the scale of the marketing offensive, which has seen Heathrow place billboards as far afield as Newcastle and Manchester, meant that dissenting voices were unable to be heard.
The letter, which called on Sir Howard to offer reassurance that his commission had not been “overly influenced” by the publicity splurge, has 15 signatories, including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Heathrow campaign group HACAN, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP and environmentalist.
It said: “Between them, both Heathrow and Gatwick have managed to dominate advertising space not just across the South East but also across other parts of the country. We fear in effect that they have subverted democracy by buying major influence [through advertising] over the Commission and our elected politicians.
“We are also concerned that this advertising blitz has had the result of watering down considerations made on the impacts of airport expansion on climate change.”
Airport Sir Howard announced two years ago that he had shortlisted three plans – a second runway at Gatwick and two competing proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow or lengthen its existing north runway – from which one would be chosen to provide the South East with new capacity by 2030.
But opponents argue a new runway would have dire consequences for the environment and air quality as well as reinforcing London’s dominance of the British economy.
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, who coordinated the letter, said: “Every debate now begins by asking where expansion should take place, when the real question which needs to be asked is whether it should take place.
“We cannot meet our climate change targets and build any major new runways at the same time, the two policies are mutually incompatible.”
Both Heathrow and Gatwick denied that their advertising campaigns meant they could exert excessive influence.
In a statement, Gatwick Airport said: “Gatwick has only had a year to get its message across since being shortlisted and advertising has proved an effective way of doing this. In contrast, Heathrow has had decades to make its case.”
A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said: “The Airports Commission process has encouraged an informed debate on the role of aviation to the UK and it is both right and absolutely in keeping with the principles of democracy that the widest possible audience is engaged in both sides.”
The Airports Commission said it was assessing the three shortlisted proposals on the basis of a framework that included both environmental and economic factors. A spokesman added: “The Commission will assess all the evidence through the framework and is not influenced either by advertising or by lobbying, whether for or against, the proposals it is considering.”
Keith co-ordinates campaigners letter to Airports Commission
A media buying agency told The Independent that the cost of both campaigns was likely to have exceeded £7m. *The Davies Commission is the Government approved commission who are consulting on airport expansion plans.
Dear Sir Howard Davies,
We’re writing to you as we’re afraid your commission may have become overly influenced by pro-expansion advertising campaigns by both Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport over the last year.
‘Back Heathrow’, a Heathrow lobby group who were masquerading as a community organisation were outed by the Sunday Times last weekend when it was revealed they received the majority of their funding from Heathrow Airport. The ‘Gatwick Obviously’ campaign is another similar example.
Between them, both Heathrow and Gatwick have managed to dominate advertising space not just across the South East but also across other parts of the country. You need look no further than Westminster Underground station over the last few months to see the unfair influence their campaigns are having. Advertising on the side of taxis is another example. We fear in effect that they have subverted democracy by buying major influence over the commission and our elected politicians.
We are also concerned that this advertising blitz has had the result of watering down considerations made on the impacts of airport expansion on climate change.
The Airports Commission has said that at least one new runway should be built in the South East. However, if you add a new runway into the mix then constraints will have to be imposed elsewhere, something which isn’t current Government policy. Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) analysis has found that if you added a new runway to the South East, even if you then constrained all regional airports to today’s level of flying you’d still overshoot the emissions limit by 2050.
We have not seen any indications, from the CCC, the Government, or the Airports Commission, on which airports should be constrained in order to meet climate objectives while building a new runway.
It would seem that your decision to recommend building another runway has been taken independently of any future analysis of regional airport impacts, and we remain very concerned, that building a new runway anywhere in the South East would have unacceptable consequences for our environment.
Not only on climate change but also on other issues, it looks like the Commission may have been overly influenced by recent pro-expansion lobbying campaigns by both Heathrow and Gatwick and we call for reassurances that has not been the case.
Keith Taylor, MEP for South East England
John Sauven, Executive Director Greenpeace
Jane Thomas, Senior Campaigner Friends of the Earth
James MacColl, Head of Campaigns, Campaign for Better Transport
John Stewart, Chair, HACAN
Tim Johnson, Director, Aviation Environment Federation (AEF)
Brendon Sewill, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC)
Salley Pavey, Chair Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE)
John McDonnell MP
Zac Goldsmith MP
Caroline Lucas MP
Jean Lambert MEP for London
Sarah Clayton, Airport Watch
Charlie Smith, Plane Stupid
Ian Westmoreland, Transition Heathrow
– See more at: http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/2014/12/15/keith-co-ordinates-campaigners-letter-to-airports-commission/#sthash.45O9IDRS.dpuf
Read more »
In July to September 2014 Heathrow commissioned yet another telephone poll by Populus, on attitudes to its 3rd runway plans. The poll showed 49% net in favour, 32% net opposed and 19% neither support nor oppose. The figures are broadly similar to polls in March 2014 (48% support, 34% against, 18% unsure), November 2013 or May 2013 and there was 50% support from a Populus poll in 2007. Though Populus publish details of the numbers, they do not publish the script used for the phone interview. An enterprising resident, irritated by the polls, noted the wording when telephoned – which indicates how much bias there is in the way the poll was conducted. There was no mention that the poll was paid for by Heathrow. The most dubious question is number 11 which asks: “Are you more or less inclined to support expansion of HRW (or maybe it was a 3rd runway?) knowing that it will mean: 11.1) An additional 41,000 jobs by 2030 (options more, less, or no difference); 11.2) Doubling youth training schemes from 5,000 to 10,000 places (options more, less, or no difference); 11.3) Reduction in number of people impacted by daytime aircraft noise (options more, less, or no difference); 11.4) Reduction in night time disturbance [not specific] (options more, less, or no difference). Unbiased?
Heathrow has used results from telephone surveys it has commissioned from the polling firm, Populus, to claim around 50% support for a 3rd runway but questions have been persistently asked about the script Populus has used. An enterprising resident had the presence of mind to take detailed notes of how the questions were asked, when she was phoned.
Her notes are below.
Heathrow’s Populus Survey: the script
Judge for yourself whether these questions may lead you to give particular
“I just answered the Populus Survey. I made notes – not exact, but they might help.
I had already been called by them but asked them to call back as it wasn’t convenient
at the time, and they did…
OPENING: Spiel about this being a survey about local issues. No mention of Heathow
1) What age group are you? (banded)
2) Many local people are saying they are unlikely to vote in the next general election.
How likely are you to vote, when 1 = not vote and 10 = definitely vote?
3) Which party will you vote for: LibDem, Lab, Cons, Other, Pref not to say? (I said
prefer not to say)
4) Did you vote in the last general election in May 2010?
5) How did you vote? (Lib Dem, Lab, Cons, Other, Pref not to say)
6) Do you have any of your family members who work for or used to work for HRW?
7) Do you have friends and/or neighbours who work for or used to work for HRW?
8) Have you worked at HRW or at a company linked to HRW?
9) How positive or negative do you feel about HRW, where 0 = very negative, 5 =
neutral, and 10 = very positive?
The Heathrow press release says the text is: “Taking everything into account, based on what you have seen, read and heard, how positive or negative would you say you feel towards Heathrow Airport?”
10) The two runways at HRW currently operate at maximum capacity. Do you
support a 3rd runway (choice of 5, from strongly support, somewhat support, neutral,
somewhat oppose, to strongly oppose)? (I went for strongly oppose).
The Heathrow press release says the question is: “Taking everything you know into account, do you currently support or oppose expanding Heathrow?”
11) Are you more or less inclined to support expansion of HRW (or maybe it was a
3rd runway?) knowing that it will mean:
11.1) An additional 41,000 jobs by 2030 (options are more, less, or no difference – I
went for NO DIFF, because I am strongly opposed to expansion and not open to being
coerced by propaganda)
11.2) Doubling youth training schemes from 5,000 to 10,000 places (same options – I
went for ‘no difference’.)
11.3) Reduction in no of people impacted by daytime aircraft noise (I said that this
was an unclear statement as wasn’t geographically specific, so again went for ‘no
11.4) Reduction in nighttime disturbance (checked wording on this as less specific
than last question – pointed that out and went for ‘no difference’ again. Still opposed!)
12) To what extent do you agree with the statement that ‘HRW is working to keep
noise from flights to a minimum? 13) Who do you hear more about HRW from: opponents of HRW, people in the community or HRW? (not sure of exact wording of this question, apologies.)
14) Do you know your MP and their views on HRW expansion? Either; yes, they
oppose it; yes, they support it; don’t know
15) How likely are you to vote for them if they oppose HRW expansion? (lot more
likely, more likely, neither, less likely, much less likely – I went for lot more likely*)
16) How likely are you to vote for them if they support HRW expansion? (lot more
likely, more likely, neither, less likely, much less likely – I went for lot less likely.*
*I think these two questions are about understanding the pressure MPs are under from
their constituents and what lobbying is required, so think it’s important to be strong in
our views… What do you think?)
17) Question on ethinicity – said ‘prefer not to answer’
18) Working status – about 10 options
19) Your postcode – I gave it. They’ve got it a load of times direct from me anyway!
The interviewer was very helpful. They don’t have any info about it at the call centre
allegedly. He confirmed we couldn’t have the script and he couldn’t confirm the client
(although the website appears to).
He did give me the number of the Market Research Society (freephone 0500 396999),
but wasn’t sure what info they could really give me… Our phone number is exdirectory,
so I think I’ve been contacted because I’ve completed the form… ”
More local residents in west London, Spelthorne, Slough and Windsor support the expansion of Heathrow than oppose according to new research from independent polling company Populus. 49% support support expansion and 32% oppose.
The poll is the biggest undertaken locally since the Airports Commission was formed. At least 1,000 residents in each constituency were polled, 9,670 in total.
As well as general support, 25% of local residents are more likely to vote for a Parliamentary candidate if they support expansion. 17%are likely to vote for them if they are against the plans. The research further demonstrates support for growing Heathrow to connect the UK to global growth.
59% of voters said they feel positive towards Heathrow, while 34% feel neutral and just 6% feel negative towards the airport.
The research is significant because it covers a statistically representative sample of those who stand to be most affected by Heathrow expansion and who have traditionally been perceived as opposed to growth. It confirms that a large proportion of people in the surrounding constituencies support the airport and its plans for a third runway.
Only one constituency – Richmond – had more residents who opposed expansion than supported it. All other areas saw many more people supporting than opposing a third runway.
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive at Heathrow said:
“The whole country can get behind this plan. Expansion at Heathrow will connect all of Britain to global growth, and keep Britain at the heart of the global economy. We have listened and improved our proposal so that it benefits local communities. Expansion at Heathrow can deliver 50,000 new local jobs, tackle youth unemployment and add 5,000 new apprenticeships.
“We are offering a fair deal by significantly increasing our funding for compulsory purchase and noise insulation for local residents. Noise at the airport will reduce compared to today and we can stay within the UK’s environmental limits.”
Notes to editors
Populus interviewed at least 1,000 adult residents (18+) in nine constituencies local to Heathrow Airport by telephone between 22 July and 7 September 2014.
An additional 666 residents were interviewed in the London Borough of Hillingdon (across two constituencies: Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner; and Hayes and Harlington) in order to provide 1,670 interviews in the borough.
In total, 9,670 residents were interviewed.
Results were weighted to be demographically representative of all adults in each constituency and borough. Constituency results were also weighted by past vote to be politically representative of all adults.
Taking everything you know into account, do you currently support or oppose expanding Heathrow?
||Feltham and Heston
||Brentford and Isleworth
||Ealing Central and Acton
||Uxbridge and South Ruislip
Taking everything into account, based on what you have seen, read and heard, how positive or negative would you say you feel towards Heathrow Airport? On a scale of 0-10, where 0 means very negative, 10 means very positive, and 5 is neutral.
||Feltham and Heston
||Brentford and Isleworth
||Ealing Central and Acton
||Uxbridge and South Ruislip
If your local MP opposed/supported Heathrow expansion, would it make you more or less likely to vote for that candidate, or would it have no impact?
||Feltham and Heston
||Brentford and Isleworth
||Ealing Central and Acton
||Uxbridge and South Ruislip
|More likely if supported
|More likely if opposed
The Populus results of the July-September 2014 survey
http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Heathrow_Jul+Aug14_BPC.pdf for larger version
Putting the Heathrow Opinion Polls into Perspective
Blog by John Stewart
Last week Heathrow Airport claimed that there was more support now for a 3rd runway than when it was proposed by the last Labour Government.
It cited a recent opinion poll of more than 1,000 local residents by Populus which showed 48% are in favour of a third runway while 34% oppose. http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Heathrow-Borough-Poll-March-2014.pdf
The reality is different. HACAN unearthed a Populus poll which revealed that in 2007 50% supported a 3rd runway and 30% were against. http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/download_pdf-170907-BAA-Heathrow-Future-Heathrow-Poll.pdf
In fact, as we blogged last week, a third of people stubbornly refuse to back expansion at Heathrow. Although some of the other figures fluctuate, the common thread in the Populus polls is the 30% or so of people who oppose expansion.
Here are the last three polls:
March 2014: http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Heathrow-Borough-Poll-March-2014.pdf and
Nov 2013: http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Heathrow_Poll_Nov131.pdf
May 2013: http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Heathrow%20Airport%20Local%20Resident%20Research.pdf
Heathrow Airport must be concerned that after more than a year of concerted, expensive and high-profile campaigning support for a third runway is little different than it was at the height of the protest six or seven years ago.
And, indeed, the referenda and surveys that were carried out by Hillingdon, Richmond and Hounslow show even less support for expansion. Around 72% of residents opposed a 3rdrunway: http://www.richmond.gov.uk/100000_say_no_to_heathrow_expansion
There has been no UKIP-style surge in support for a 3rd runway.
Heathrow have only one year in which to change this. The airport will be acutely aware that they lost the battle for a 3rd runway last time around. They lost because the residents who opposed expansion in the 7 boroughs closest to the airport (over 525,000 people in total) were able to forge an effective alliance with residents further afield, environmentalists, politicians from across the political spectrum as well as some key business people and trade unions.
Heathrow Airport will know that, unless they can shift opinion in the next year, the odds against a third runway being built will lengthen…….whatever recommendation the Airports Commission comes up with in summer 2015.
The Populus website says: http://www.populus.co.uk/Poll/3395/
This poll covered attitudes towards Heathrow Airport.
Populus interviewed at least 1,000 adult residents (18+) in nine constituencies local to Heathrow Airport by telephone between 22 July and 7 September 2014.
An additional 666 residents were interviewed in the London Borough of Hillingdon (across two constituencies: Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner; and Hayes and Harlington) in order to provide 1,670 interviews in the borough. In total, 9,670 residents were interviewed.
Results were weighted to be demographically representative of all adults in each constituency and borough. Constituency results were also weighted by past vote to be politically representative of all adults.
Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For a full description of the methods we use, please click here.
March 2014 poll
http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Heathrow-Borough-Poll-March-2014.pdf for a larger version
November 2013 poll
http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Heathrow_Poll_Nov131.pdf for a larger version
May 3013 poll
http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Heathrow%20Airport%20Local%20Resident%20Research.pdf for a larger version
Populus surveys done for Heathrow show only 48% back its expansion (26% back it strongly, 23% oppose it strongly)
April 30, 2014
To quote Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli; “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” And so it is when opinion polls are done, and the organisation that commissions the poll wants a particular result out of it. Heathrow often gets Populus to ask people in boroughs near Heathrow what they think. They usually ask similar questions each time. One asks “Taking everything you know into account, do you currently support or oppose expanding Heathrow?” Over all boroughs surveyed, 26% strongly supported this; 22% somewhat supported; 11% somewhat opposed; 23% strongly opposed. See link So 48% support, and 34% oppose, with 18% neither supporting nor opposing. The figures were broadly the same a year earlier (with 46% supporting, but 43% opposing, and 10% neither supporting nor opposing). Heathrow says this is large, and growing, support. It is difficult to interpret the figures, as Populus only publishes a small bit of its results, with no methodology, such as the script of the interviewer, tone of the questions etc. Questions need to be asked about what information is given to people by Populus before they are asked their views.
Click here to view full story…
Read more »
Stansted aims to submit plans for a new runway some time in the next decade, according to Charlie Cornish, the CEO of parent company Manchester Airports Group. He says the present expansion rates meant that Stansted would apply to the government for the repeal of existing local council limits and then lobby for a 2nd runway to satisfy demand. Stansted hope its projected rate of growth between now and the mid -2020s will see it pass through its local authority-capped capacity of 35 million passengers per year, and hit its physical capacity on one runway of 45 million by 2030. In October 2008, the Government gave approval for Stansted to increase its permitted passenger numbers from 25 to 35 million per year, and a rise in the permitted number of annual flights from 241,000 to 264,000. Mr Cornish wants better rail connections to London and to the other airports. Having fallen for years, ever since the peak at over 23.7 million in 2007, Stansted’s number of passengers is still well down, at 17.8 million in 2013, though the number has risen significantly during 2014.
Annual number of passengers at Stansted Airport (CAA figures)
Stansted sets out vision for second runway
Stansted aims to submit plans for a new runway some time in the next decade, according to the boss of parent company Manchester Airports Group.Chief executive Charlie Cornish insisted that present expansion rates meant that his airport would apply for the repeal of existing local council limits and then lobby for a second runway to satisfy demand.
Stansted’s projected rate of growth will see it pass through its local authority-capped capacity of 35 million and hit its physical capacity on one runway of 45 million by 2030.
That means that by the mid-2020s it will have applied to the government of the day to have its council cap removed and will have re-submitted plans for a new runway.
Asked by the Times what impact the eventual ruling on London airport capacity by the Airports Commission will have on Stansted’s growth, Cornish said: “Whether its Heathrow or Gatwick, it is not material to our plans.
“In our view, what is the best for the UK is a network of competing airports and increased rail connectivity between them.
“What that means for Stansted is improved connections between London Liverpool Street and the construction of Crossrail 2 [the Herts-Surrey trans-capital project ] and, in the case of Manchester, the delivery of HS2 and HS3 [the proposed London-Manchester and Leeds-Manchester high-speed lines].”
He was speaking as MAG revealed that Stansted’s passenger numbers had increased by 1.2 million to 11.3 million in the six months to the end of September.
Recent news about Stansted and its rising passenger number this year:
Stansted passenger numbers grow at the fastest annual rate for nearly 10 years
13 Nov 2014 (Stansted press release)
The number of passengers using Stansted Airport each year is growing at the fastest rate since February 2005 as over 19.4 million passed through the terminal in the 12 months ending October 2014, an increase of 9.8% over the previous year.
Monthly passengers increased by 16.9%, the largest monthly increase in over 10 years, as more than 1.8 million passengers flew through Stansted in October, over 272,000 more than used the airport in the corresponding month last year.
October’s performance signals the start of one of Stansted’s busiest winter seasons for many years and is in addition to the announcement yesterday that Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, will launch new flights to the Isle of Man, Newcastle and Newquay from March 2015.
The growth in passengers continues to be driven by increased frequencies on key routes across Europe plus an increase in the average number of seats sold on each aircraft – up from 81.6% in 2013 to 85.2% in October 2014.
Andrew Harrison, Stansted’s Managing Director, said:
“The strong growth we’ve seen at Stansted across the summer months has continued through to October with annual passenger numbers increasing at their fastest rate for nearly 10 years to maintain our leading position as the fastest growing airport in the south-east.
“To grow our monthly passenger numbers by 16.9% demonstrates the strength of our route network and the success of our airline partners in attracting more and more passengers on to each flight as load factors continue their upward trend.
“Stansted has now seen over 1.7 million more passengers use the airport in the last 12 months, and with one of our busiest winter flight schedules for many years now in operation, we expect to see passenger numbers continuing to grow in the coming months.
“This increasing demand underpins why we believe it’s critical Network Rail’s Anglia Route Study proposals need to show more ambition and greater vision to deliver faster rail services to unlock the airport’s potential as, unlike other London airports, Stansted has spare runway capacity today and significant room to grow in the future.”
STANSTED RECENT HISTORY (2002 to 2014)
FROM SSE (Stop Stansted Expansion)
EXPANSION ON STANSTED’S SINGLE RUNWAY
In April 2006 BAA, the then owners of Stansted Airport, submitted a planning application asking the local planning authority, Uttlesford District Council, to allow the airport to expand from an annual throughput of 25 million passengers to 35 million passengers per annum. This planning application was refused by Uttlesford District Council in November 2006 after deliberations lasting seven months and drawing an overwhelming number of objections from the community at large.
BAA appealed the decision and a public inquiry was held during the summer of 2007. Our Public Inquiry page gives more details of the process for this and the principal arguments against the proposals, set out in the Statements of Case by SSE.
In October 2008, following consideration of the Public Inquiry Inspector’s report and additional representations, the Government announced approval for an increase in permitted passenger numbers from 25 to 35 million per annum and a rise in the permitted number of annual flight movements from 241,000 to 264,000.
SSE appealed the permission in a case heard at the High Court and also in the Court of Appeal but was unsuccessful.
While the case for major expansion at Stansted has always been built on a presumption of ever-increasing demand for air travel, the reality of the market actually shows falling numbers at the airport from 2007 until 2013, although there are now signs that demand is finally beginning to recover.
SECOND RUNWAY PLANNING APPLICATION
In March 2008 BAA, who still owned Stansted Airport at that time, submitted a planning application for a second runway. Astonishingly, this was five months before the Government had given its decision on whether BAA’s earlier planning application for expansion to 35 million passengers per annum would be approved. Nevertheless, the Government raced ahead, immediately by-passing the local planning authority, Uttlesford District Council, by announcing that the matter should be heard by Public Inquiry. An Inspector was appointed and given four assistant inspectors to help speed up the process. The Public Inquiry was scheduled to start in April 2009 and take just six months. However, against a background of SSE threatening legal action if the Inquiry was rushed, the Inspector extended his draft timetable to eighteen months.
Subsequently the Public Inquiry was postponed and then eventually cancelled because so much uncertainty had arisen, mainly due to the announcement by the Competition Commission in March 2009 that BAA was to be forced to sell Stansted Airport to address the airport monopoly situation in the South East. It also seemed fairly clear at that time that there would be a change of Government at the next General Election, which would need to be held by May 2010 at the latest, and that any new Government would be very unlikely to support plans for a second Stansted runway. And so it was that on 11 May 2010, five days after the General Election, the new Coalition Government announced that it would not support a second runway at Stansted. BAA withdrew its planning application thirteen days later.
Locally, the environmental impacts of a second runway would have been devastating. It would have meant the destruction of communities that have developed over centuries as well as vast swathes of unspoilt countryside and ancient woodlands and the loss of homes. The Airport’s proposed land grab of almost 800 hectares for a second runway and related development would have created an airport site bigger than Heathrow.
Click here for more on the second runway application.
…………. and more on the SSE website at http://stopstanstedexpansion.com/threat.html
MANCHESTER AIRPORTS GROUP (MAG) DELIVERS INDUSTRY LEADING GROWTH
9 December 2014 (MAG press release)
M.A.G, the largest UK-owned airport operator, today reports its interim unaudited results for the six months ended 30 September 2014.
• Strong financial performance (EBITDA +8.7%), driven by increases in both passenger numbers and commercial revenues, has ensured the continuation of the growth rate delivered over the past few years
• Long-term commercial agreements with airlines have generated a significant increase in passengers (+8.5% to 28 million), taking numbers to near record levels at Manchester and delivering industry leading growth at Stansted
• The number of destinations accessible from M.A.G’s four airports is now at record levels (+4% to 277), including the arrival of new flights to Jeddah, Eindhoven and Bologna and additional capacity provided on many existing routes such as Abu Dhabi and New York
• London Stansted has been the fastest growing major airport in the South East (+11.9% passenger numbers) and is now handling 2 million more passengers a year than it was at acquisition
• Investment continues to be made in our infrastructure, delivering significant improvements to the security and retail facilities at London Stansted and East Midlands, expansion of our car park estate and improvements to the Group’s back office functions
• Continued diversification provided through our property investment portfolio and deals announced at Airport City with DHL and PZ Cussons
• Group announces an Interim Dividend for the half year to September 2014 of £31 million. £46 million paid in July 2014 in respect of the full year ended 31 March 2014
• Sir Adrian Montague joined M.A.G as Chairman, replacing Mike Davies.
Neil Thompson, Chief Financial Officer of MAG, said:
“M.A.G has delivered a strong financial performance in the first six months of the year, meeting or exceeding its financial targets and continuing the growth rate delivered over the past few years.
“A busy summer period saw more passengers than ever before using our four airports and taking advantage of the largest number of destinations that we have ever been able to offer. Our focus on long term commercial agreements has made this possible and we continue to focus on further diversifying our route offering, particularly with regards long haul.
“I am especially pleased with the performance of Manchester which is reaching its record annual passenger level and Stansted which is now showing industry leading levels of passenger growth.
“Stansted alone has added over two million passengers since we acquired the airport in February 2013 and has begun to see substantial operational and commercial benefits from being part of the Group. Unlike other London airports, Stansted has spare runway capacity today and significant room to grow in the future and it is vital that faster rail services are delivered between London and Stansted so as to ensure that this potential is utilised.
“We also continue to invest significantly in our infrastructure, with the existing facilities at all four airports having been improved in the last six months.
“Finally, I am delighted to announce the payment of a £31 million Interim Dividend to shareholders. This is testament to the health of the business and we are confident of delivering a strong performance throughout the rest of the financial year and beyond.”
…… and it continues ………
Read more »
It was announced in 2012 that the Dutch government would provide some $36 million for expanding and upgrading Kilimanjaro airport, in Tanzania. There are many flower growers in the area, and the Netherlands imports flowers by air. The Dutch funding would pay for around 42% of the cost of the airport development, which includes refurbishment of all runways, and taxiways and airport facilities. But the land take would be around 23,000 acres of which about 9,000 are occupied. There are also plans to convert the 110 square kilometre area around the airport into a modern duty-free “shopping city” for tourists that would compete with Dubai. It would include shopping centres, tourist hotels, duty free shops, export processing zones, curio shops, golf courses and a large game ranch. The airport says they own the land and the people are illegal squatters, but the plans involve removing about 10,000 people. There have therefore been huge protests against this compulsory removal and disputes about land ownership. The amount of compensation for those removed was estimated in 2002 to be about $300,000 but the government now says that is too high.
Netherlands supports expansion of Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania
Feb 22, 2014
TANZANIA (eTN) – With support from the Netherlands government, Tanzania will carry out an expansion project for the Kilimanjaro International Airport in the northern tourist circuit.
The Netherlands government had signed an agreement this week to provide €15 million to support Tanzania in carrying out rehabilitation and expansion of Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen signed the agreement in Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es Salaam and said the €15 million grant was for a Dutch government-funded facility for infrastructure.
The amount is 42.25 percent of the 6-year project cost, with the Tanzania government contributing the remaining 20.5 million euro, said Mrs. Saada Mkuya, Tanzania’s Finance Minister.
Upon completion, Kilimanjaro Airport will attract more international flights, hence boosting the growing tourist flow in northern Tanzania as well as cargo flower handling.
Several international airlines are now landing in northern Tanzania through Kilimanjaro Airport. These include Qatar Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, and Condor German Airlines, a charter tourist carrier from Germany.
The expansion project of the airport will start this year and be completed in 2020.
The rehabilitation project will cover the aprons, taxiways, and terminal building to efficiently handle an expected increase in passengers over the coming 20 years.
The Dutch Minister is visiting Tanzania to strengthen the four-decade bilateral relations with a business delegation of over 30 Dutch companies active in oil and gas and maritime infrastructure looking for investment opportunities in the country.
Other than tourism, the Netherlands is the leading European importer of Tanzanian flowers, mostly grown in the northern Tanzania regions of Arusha and Kilimanjaro on the foothills of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro.
Tanzania: Lands Minister Rules Against KIA Squatters
14 October 2014
By Deus Ngowi (All Africa)
Moshi — THE MINISTER for Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development, Professor Anna Tibaijuka has ruled against squatters around Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), saying all land that was apportioned to the airport remains under its ownership.
Professor Tibaijuka who was on a tour of the disputed areas said here that even if the airport vicinity cuts across villages, it is deemed that good use of the land in public interest is for the airport purposes and its projected expansion.
“An airport has to be in an administrative area whether in rural or urban setting. KIA is there to stay but citizens cannot live on an airfield. For public interest and economy wise, the airport is very important and it is to be extended.
Conduct boundary recovery and tell those responsible (Ministry of Transport) to secure their borders,” said the Minister giving citizens a cold shoulder.
She said that basically, the dispute should not have surfaced and solution to it is clear-cut because villages are just administrative boundaries that should not trouble anyone as airport was earmarked many years ago and the matter has to come to an end.
Kilimanjaro Regional Urban Planning Officer, Mr Godbless Kimaro said villagers who reside in the contested area, claim to be rightful owners of the strip of land.
The dispute surfaced anew recently when Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO) that manages KIA was verifying its area.
The residents from Tindigani, Mtakuja, Sanya Station and Majengo , Chemka and Rundugai villages took to the streets earlier this year, protesting what they termed as notice to vacate from the areas they claim to have known as their only home in their entire life.
The population is thought to be about 10,000. Reacting to that, Minister Tibaijuka said if KIA got the title deed before clearing third party interest, then relevant organs have to establish how many people and for how long have been within the disputed area and see them off with some sort of reparation.
“The area is meant for the airport only and that is in the public interest. Boundary recovery should be done to establish those within and look for what can be done. We should not abuse compensation process; it has to be done only in genuine cases. Evaluation has to be done to establish candidly those who are entitled, if any. I suppose title deed for the airport was legally issued, so they (holders) have to secure their borders,” said the Minister.
It is estimated that 9,000 acres out of the total area of 23,000 acres designated for the airport expansion have fallen in the hands of intruders from Arumeru District in Arusha Region and Hai District in Kilimanjaro Region.
KADCO is planning, among other things, refurbishment of runways, taxiways and passenger lounges under the new airport integrated master plan.
KIA Ward Councillor, Mr Sinyok Ole Nairuko was quoted earlier on saying they are not squatters as before the airport was constructed they had their residence at the area.
The KIA area is situated strategically between Arusha and Moshi towns – hubs of the northern tourism circuit.
Over 10,000 Maasai villagers march against KIA expansion
27th March 2014 (Guardian)
Passengers move to the waiting room at Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Over 10,000 villagers from the Maasai pastoralist communities in Hai District of Kilimanjaro Region, on Tuesday marched against new expansion plans at Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).
Protesters also blocked the main road getting into the airport causing inconveniences to users of the facility.
They were protesting against the government’s plan to relocate them from their land to pave way for the new expansion of the airport.
Carrying placards with different messages, the villagers asked the Tanzanian government to call off the plan. Protesters used big stones and logs to block the road, though later the blockage was removed.
“We have been ordered to get out of the area, despite the fact that we have been here for more than 50 years,” said Elias Kilosu, one of the villagers living in KIA village which is close to the airport and he took part in the protest.
“To us this is very unfair and we ask the government to rescind the plan,” he said.
Novatus Makunga, the Hai District commissioner, called on villagers to go back to their respective areas. “These are mere rumours, the government has no such plan of relocating them from their respective areas,” Makunga said.
A team of experts from the ministries of Transport and Local Government are working on the proposed expansion but not to the extent of relocating people, he said, adding that the villagers have been living in those areas since the 1970s and they already have title deeds.
“KIA expansion plan started in 1980s, so I don’t see the reason for people to worry about. They are living there legally,” he said.
The Netherlands government had already dished out 15 million euros to support the KIA’s planned rehabilitation and expansion plans.
The support is intended to rehabilitate KIA’s aprons, taxiways and the terminal building to efficiently handle expected increase in passengers over the coming 20 years.
Upon completion of the project, KIA will attract more international flights and help boost the growing tourism industry.
Land dispute stalls airport expansion
By ADAM IHUCHA Special Correspondent (The East African)
May 3 2014
● The $47 million makeover plan covers refurbishment of all runways, taxiways and passenger lounges.
● The project, among other developments under the new airports integrated master plan, faces opposition from a group of residents who claim ownership of the land on which the project is to be undertaken.
A land dispute threatens Tanzania’s plans to expand the Kilimanjaro International Airport. The $47 million makeover plan covers refurbishment of all runways, taxiways and passenger lounges.
But the project, among other developments under the new airports integrated master plan, faces opposition from a group of residents who claim ownership of the land on which the project is to be undertaken.
“We are called squatters, but the airport found us in this area,” said KIA ward leader Sinyok Ole Nairuko. He said that about 10,000 residents in Tindigani, Mtakuja, Sanya Station and Majengo villages would be affected, should a planned eviction be carried out to pave the way for the airport’s renovation.
Data shows that nearly 9,000 acres of the total 23,000 acres designated for the airport’s expansion are occupied — threatening the safety of the airport.
Officials say that thousands of local residents, from both districts of Arumeru in Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions, have illegally settled at the airport estate.
In 2002, the Kilimanjaro Development Company (Kadco) estimated that Tsh480 million ($300,000), was needed to compensate the squatters.
But the government said the amount was too high. Kadco’s new master plan aims to convert the 110 square kilometre area around KIA into a modern duty-free shopping city that would compete with Dubai.
The KIA area, strategically placed between Arusha and Moshi towns — hubs of the northern tourism circuit — is to become a “city” where investors are to establish shopping centres, tourist hotels, duty free shops, export processing zones, curio shops, golf courses and a large game ranch.
Dutch to fund $36.4 million Kilimanjaro Airport facelift
4 January 2012 (Airport World Online)
Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) is to receive US$36.4 million from the Netherlands to help fund a renovation project aimed at increasing airport capacity, Airport World Online has reported.
The money will be used to upgrade and expand the terminal building and to overhaul and resurface the runway, taxiways and aprons.
A new taxiway is also planned in order to accommodate the increase in tourists visiting Northern Tanzania.
According to Airport World Online, the grant is part of the Netherlands’ ‘Facility for Infrastructure Development’ or ORIO programme and will cover the development phase of the rehabilitation project.
Under the supervision of Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO), the operator of the gateway, the Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO) will prepare the designs for the renovation and expansion of the airport.
The design phase is due to start this month and will cost an estimated US$581,248, which will be financed wholly by ORIO. Once this stage is completed, the Dutch government will provide a second grant covering 50% of the refurbishment costs, with the other 50% being provided by KADCO from airport revenues.
Tendering and construction works are expected to take place in 2013/2014.
Tanzania: The Bone of Contention in Kia Land Dispute
21 April 2014
KIA borders: Elders reject ministry officials, want Pinda team
By The guardian reporter
16th November 2014
KIA upgrading set to boost tourism promo initiatives
19th December 2011
Read more »
At the Airports Commission evidence session on 3rd December, a line-up of MPs from affected areas spoke forcefully of their opposition to a 3rd Heathrow runway. Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, warned that if the Government granted Heathrow permission for a new runway, they would have “the most almighty battle on their hands” with thousands of people in the area. He said: “Both Heathrow proposals are unacceptable. Further expansion cannot and must not go ahead. I urge the Government to put Londoners first and not the interests of the overseas investors behind big Heathrow….The misleading claims from the Back Heathrow campaign are nonsense – it is absurd to say that if the airport doesn’t expand it will decline….More than 100,000 west London residents have already said no to an expanded Heathrow – these are real residents, real people, all impacted by the proposals.” Wandsworth Council leader Councillor Ravi Govindia pressed Heathrow on whether their new noise respite proposal was deliverable – and Heathrow could not give adequate assurances. Ravi said: “All of the Heathrow expansion plans include noise respite systems which are beyond the airport’s ability to control and deliver. That was absolutely clear from the hearing.”
Heathrow faces “almighty battle” if expansion gets Government approval
Angered: Lord True
by Laura Proto, Chief reporter (Wandsworth – Your Local Guardian)
Heathrow and its plans for expansion faced further backlash from senior politicians last week
The Airports Commission organised a public meeting on Wednesday, December 3, as part of its consultation, with speakers including MP Zac Goldsmith, leaders of Richmond and Wandsworth councils, Back Heathrow and Hacan.
Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, warned that if the Government grants permission to allow the west London airport to expand, they would have “the most almighty battle on their hands” with thousands of people in the area.
He said: “Both Heathrow proposals are unacceptable. Further expansion cannot and must not go ahead. I urge the Government to put Londoners first and not the interests of the overseas investors behind big Heathrow.
“The misleading claims from the Back Heathrow campaign are nonsense – it is absurd to say that if the airport doesn’t expand it will decline.
“More than 100,000 west London residents have already said no to an expanded Heathrow – these are real residents, real people, all impacted by the proposals.”
Wandsworth Council leader Councillor Ravi Govindia pressed the airport owners on whether their new noise respite proposal was actually deliverable, with the airport admitting it would be dependent on weather conditions and operational issues.
He said: “All of the Heathrow expansion plans include noise respite systems which are beyond the airport’s ability to control and deliver. That was absolutely clear from the hearing.
“We are deeply concerned that the commission continues to use computer modelling alone to assess noise impacts.
“All of the expansion proposals will make the noise impacts of Heathrow much worse and our residents hold these noise contours in utter distain. More planes means more noise. That is the simple truth the commission should accept.”
Last week, it was revealed the Back Heathrow campaign group, which supports expansion of the airport, had been part-funded by Heathrow itself and Lord True has called for more transparency from the airport and the campaign group.
He said: “I have asked Heathrow to start being honest with the information they are publishing.
“We need to see detailed flight path information to really understand who will be impacted. We need to see a safety risk assessment and we need them to be honest about what might happen if a plane comes down over the city. We also need to know how each promoter propose to end night flights.
“Woefully incomplete information from Heathrow just demonstrates their lack of honesty across the whole of this process.”
Runway plans would be stalled by “inevitable” judicial review – causing long delays
The Airports Commission is expected to publish, this week, its initial appraisal of Heathrow and Gatwick’s runway plans, and their consultation on the three options. The Express reports that: “a source close to the Commission …..expects Gatwick and other opponents of airport expansion in general to launch a judicial review, potentially delaying the project.” The source also said: “We spend a lot of money on lawyers but we are surprised that we have only had one judicial review so far.” Heathrow wants to build a 3rd runway at the cost of £17 billion. Gatwick wants a 2nd runways, costing £7.8 billion. Gatwick says that its project could be built by 2025, and Heathrow that theirs could be by 2030. However, whichever airport the Commission recommends in summer 2015 will face inevitable judicial review – from the rival airport, and many others. Both plans are facing widespread opposition from residents and local politicians. As the Commission has a limited brief, with vital issues such as carbon emissions, noise measurement, taxation of air travel etc decided by others, their recommendations cannot be comprehensive.
100,000 Heathrow neighbours say ‘no’ to third runway or increase in flights
Objections: more than 100,000 people said they opposed a third runway or an increase in flights in referendums run by Richmond and Hillingdon councils
MATTHEW BEARD AND PIPPA CRERAR (Evening Standard)
21 May 2013
Londoners living closest to Heathrow have voted overwhelmingly against expansion of the airport in the largest poll of its kind.
More than 100,000 people said they opposed a third runway or an increase in flights in referendums run by Richmond and Hillingdon councils. Seventy two per cent were opposed to a third runway and 73 per cent were against increasing the number of flights.
Some 140,000 people cast their vote in the four-week referendum with a turnout of 41 per cent. In Hounslow, 72 per cent opposed expansion although the majority expressed concerns about the impact on the local economy if a rival London hub emerged, according to the results of a separate consultation also published today.
Boris Johnson said the joint referendum result would “set Whitehall aquiver”. The Mayor said it strengthened his case for an Estuary airport, and called on the Government to signal to the Aviation Commission to rule out Heathrow expansion as a solution to the capacity crisis.
Speaking to the Standard, he said: “This is much more emphatic and conclusive than we had expected.
“This vote will set Whitehall aquiver and a lot of people will realise that the plans for a third runway at Heathrow are an intellectual cul-de-sac. It shows runway three is dead in the water and plans for Big Heathrow are not going to happen.”
Findings of the poll are bound to be exploited by councillors as they go to the voters in next spring’s local elections.
Presenting the results with the Mayor at City Hall, Lord True, leader of Richmond council, said: “We now know we have tens of thousands of people behind us in our fight to ensure there are no increases in the number of runways, flights, noise levels or pollution at Heathrow airport, all of which have a colossal impact on the quality of life of our residents.”
Leader of Hillingdon council Ray Puddifoot said: “At the last general election David Cameron said there would be no third runway at Heathrow.
“The strength of this vote is an indication that (residents) expect him to be as good as his word.”
A Heathrow spokesman said: “Hillingdon and Richmond have carried out a consultation on an outdated runway proposal which is not being promoted by Heathrow.
“Heathrow will submit outline proposals for additional capacity to the Airports Commission in July and we are committed to consulting the councils and residents and listening to their views as we develop our plans.”
The Richmond Council press release:
“Expand Heathrow – there will be a mighty battle”- warns Council Leader
Lord True slammed proposals to expand Heathrow on Wednesday at a public meeting at the Airport.
The meeting was chaired by Sir Howard Davies, as part of the Airport Commission’s current consultation on the proposals. Speakers included MPs, representatives from HACAN, Back Heathrow, Stop Heathrow Expansion, Council Leaders from seven local authorities, business representatives and members of the public.
Lord True warned that if any government goes ahead and Heathrow is expanded, they will have the most almighty battle on their hands, with hundreds of thousands of people in West London.
“Both Heathrow proposals are unacceptable. Further expansion cannot and must not go ahead. I urge the Government to put Londoners first and not the interests of the overseas investors behind big Heathrow.
“The misleading claims from Back Heathrow Campaign are nonsense. It is absurd to say that if the airport doesn’t expand it will decline.
“Over 100,000 West London residents have already said NO to an expanded Heathrow. These are real residents, real people, all impacted by the proposals. The Back Heathrow campaign need to come clean about who is financing their campaign.
“I have asked Heathrow to start being honest with the information they are publishing. We need to see detailed flight path information to really understand who will be impacted. We need to see a safety risk assessment and we need them to be honest about what might happen if a plane comes down over the city. We also need to know how each promoter propose to end night flights.
“Woefully incomplete information from Heathrow just demonstrates their lack of honesty across the whole of this process. If we have a new runway anywhere there should be competition. It is madness, having spilt up the BAA monopoly, to restore that monopoly with a costly third runway. It will not serve the public, passengers or the tax payer.
“If these proposals go ahead, there will be a big battle – which we will win.
“Politicians have to keep their promises regarding the future of Heathrow. In the words of David Cameron: “The third runway is not going ahead: no ifs, no buts.” West London will hold our political leaders to that.”
Read more »
The credit ratings agency Moody’s, have produced a new report entitled “New runway will have mixed credit implications for London’s airports”. This indicates that Gatwick would take the biggest hit if a new runway was built in London, while Heathrow stands to gain the most from a new runway. Moody’s has concluded that a new runway either at Gatwick or at Heathrow would be bad for Gatwick. With its own new runway, Gatwick would be forced to levy higher airport charges, in order to pay for it.. Adding a runway at Heathrow would also result in increasing competition for Gatwick, because it would be at risk of losing scheduled airline traffic to Heathrow, where carriers can typically earn more per passenger mile. The Moody’s analyst commented: “A runway at Heathrow would allow the airport to benefit from growth in future traffic volumes, and a new runway at Gatwick would not take significant traffic from Heathrow.” And they say Gatwick double aeronautical charges would put it at a huge competitive disadvantage to Stansted, which is its main competitor in the low-cost airlines segment.
Gatwick airport would be hit hardest by new London runway plans
by Kate McCann (City AM)
Gatwick airport would take the biggest hit if a new runway was built in London, while Heathrow stands to gain the most from expansion plans, a new report out today claims.
Credit ratings agency Moody’s has concluded that a new runway on site or at Heathrow would be bad for Gatwick, as expansion would mean more expensive airport charges. Adding capacity at Heathrow would also result in increasing competition.
Xavier Lopez del Rincon, a Moody’s senior analyst and author of the report published today, said: “A runway at Heathrow would allow the airport to benefit from growth in future traffic volumes, and a new runway at Gatwick would not take significant traffic from Heathrow.
“Gatwick, on the other hand, would be vulnerable to airlines switching to an expanded Heathrow, whilst a new runway at Gatwick would increase its airport charges and could alienate its price-sensitive airlines.”
The Airports Commission, headed up by Sir Howard Davies, announced its shortlisted options in November. These include two designs at Heathrow, one at Gatwick and one at Stansted.
Global Credit Research – 10 Dec 2014 (Moody’s)
London, 10 December 2014 — Adding a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick would have conflicting credit implications for London’s three largest airports, says Moody’s Investors Service in a Special Comment report published today.
Moody’s report, entitled “New runway will have mixed credit implications for London’s airports”, is available on www.moodys.com athttps://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1001651.
“A new runway will have mixed credit implications for London airports. A runway at Heathrow would allow the airport to benefit from growth in future traffic volumes, and a new runway at Gatwick would not take significant traffic from Heathrow,” says Xavier Lopez del Rincon, a Moody’s Vice President — Senior Analyst and author of the report. “Gatwick, on the other hand, would be vulnerable to airlines switching to an expanded Heathrow, whilst a new runway at Gatwick would increase its airport charges and could alienate its price-sensitive airlines.”
A runway at Heathrow would allow the airport to accommodate expected growth in London passenger traffic. By 2050, Heathrow would be able to accommodate between 133 and 149 million passengers, [with a new runway] which is almost double current traffic levels. While Heathrow’s hub airport status could come under pressure from a new runway at Gatwick, it would remain London’s largest airport as it would still be expected to handle around 20 million more passengers per annum than Gatwick by 2050. [This ignores the fact that only one runway could, possibly – doubtfully – be built, keeping within UK carbon targets. Two new runways cannot be built, unless the UK breaches its carbon target for 2050].
Moody’s expects that Gatwick will be more vulnerable to competition if Heathrow were to build a new runway as it would be at risk of losing scheduled airline traffic to Heathrow, where carriers can typically earn more per passenger mile.
Conversely, the construction of a Gatwick runway would almost double aeronautical charges at the airport, putting it at a huge competitive disadvantage to Stansted, which is its main competitor in the low-cost airlines segment.
Moody’s notes that a Heathrow runway would not affect Stansted, as it is unlikely to experience significant competition from Heathrow, given its specialisation in servicing low-cost carriers, which are entirely absent from Heathrow.
The rating agency expects that the Airports Commission will make its final recommendations in its final report due in summer 2015.
This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.
Read more »
Heathrow’s own figures show that 25 of the busiest 50 airlines at Heathrow are missing landing noise targets. John Holland-Kaye said he has written to the airlines, to warn them amid continued problems with noise. Landing noise test scores were revealed by Heathrow in a ‘Fly Quiet’ table after monitoring between July and September this year. Airlines receive a red, amber or green rating for six noise-related categories, with green indicating the quietest performance and red the noisiest. Among the categories measured is the continuous descent approach (CDA), by which planes maintain a steady angle of approach (3 degrees) when landing, rather than descending in stages. CDA cuts fuel use and reduces noise compared to long periods of level flight because it requires less engine thrust and can keep aircraft higher for longer. But half Heathrow’s airlines missed out on green CDA scores between July and September which is 5 less than in the preceding 3 months. Heathrow is hoping to cut noise from approaches a bit, by summer 2015, to try to persuade people a 3rd runway would be tolerable. The report ranks airlines by their noise performance.
Table showing ranking of airlines at “Fly Quiet Q3” table [Fly Quiet is an oxymoron].
Half of Heathrow’s busiest airlines miss landing noise reduction targets
By Robin de Peyer (Evening Standard)
Half of the busiest 50 airlines at Heathrow are missing landing noise targets, the airport revealed today.
Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said he has written to the carriers to warn them amid continued problems with noise pollution.
Landing noise test scores were revealed by the airport in a ‘Fly Quiet’ table after monitoring between July and September this year.
Airlines receive a red, amber or green rating for six noise-related categories, with green indicating the quietest performance and red the noisiest.
Among the categories measured is the continuous descent approach (CDA), which sees planes maintain a steady angle of approach when landing.
The method reduces noise compared to long periods of level flight because it requires less engine thrust and keeps aircraft higher for longer.
But Heathrow’s study found 25 out of the 50 main airlines missed out on green CDA scores between July and September. That figure marks an increase by five from a study for the previous three months.
The airport said in a statement: “Improvements in quiet approaches is a vital part of Heathrow’s new blueprint for noise reduction, which outlines 10 steps to reduce noise impacts from the airport by summer 2015.”
Heathrow also said that while all airlines had adhered to night-time operation limits in April-June 2014, there had been three unscheduled arrivals by airlines before 6am in July-September 2014.
The “noisiest” carrier was Israel’s El Al in 50th place. Polish airline LOT was in 49th place, Middle East Airlines 48th, Thai Airways 47th and Aeroflot short-haul 46th.
The top five in the latest table had also been in the same positions in the table for April-June 2014.
British Airways was revealed as the least noisy for short haul flights. Aer Lingus was second quietest, Virgin Atlantic’s domestic service Little Red third, Virgin Atlantic’s international services fourth and American Airlines fifth.
Heathrow’s sustainability director Matt Gorman said: “We believe it is only by working proactively with our partners that Heathrow airport can be a better, quieter neighbour to local residents.”
Heathrow’s Noise Action Plan 2010 – 2015 (Dec 2010) states:
(Page 16 of http://www.heathrowairport.com/static/Heathrow_Noise/Downloads/PDF/NAP_main.pdf )
Departure noise limits
Fixed noise monitors at the airport are located at approximately 6.5km from start-of-roll (SOR). This corresponds to the flyover measurement point in the ICAO Annex 16 noise certification procedure. There are 10 fixed monitors around Heathrow. The location of the monitors takes account of the noise preferential routes.
There are noise limits applied at these fixed noise monitors for departing aircraft. During the night quota period (2330-0600) the departure noise limit is 87dBALmax. During the remainder of the night period (2300-2330 and 0600-0700) the noise limit is 89dBALmax. These night time limits are consistent with the night restrictions regime. There is also a daytime noise limit of 94dBALmax. We work with individual airlines towards minimising
the number of noise infringements (See Annex 5).
The location and distance of the fixed noise monitors were decided in the early 1990’s after consultation. Relating the noise limits to a reference distance 6.5 km from start-of-roll encourages aircraft operators to gain height as quickly as possible and then reduce engine power and noise at the earliest opportunity. There is also a requirement for departing aircraft to attain at least a 1000 feet (see “1000ft rule”) altitude when passing the
fixed noise monitors.
We fine airlines (currently £500 or £1000 depending on the level of exceedance) whose aircraft breach the noise limits, with the money donated to local community projects through a large grants scheme.
Arrivals noise limits
There are no arrivals noise limits. A report which considered the feasibility of setting noise limits for arriving aircraft, ‘Noise from Arriving Aircraft: Final Report of the ANMAC Technical Working Group,’ was published in 1999. In light of the findings, the then Aviation Minister, decided against imposing operational noise limits for arriving aircraft. A code of practice has been developed (described above) for arrivals.
Heathrow’s press release below
Covering July to September 2014, the fifth Fly Quiet table rated the top 50 airlines operating at Heathrow (by number of flights per quarter) according to six noise related criteria. The airlines received a red/amber/green rating for each criterion, as well as an overall score that allows them to understand how they are performing in relation to other airlines. The top five performers – British Airways’ short haul fleet, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Little Red, Virgin Atlantic Airways, American Airlines – have remained the same over the past two league tables, highlighting these airlines’ consistently good noise performance at the airport.
This quarter revealed the improved performance of Austrian Airlines, which jumped the most places ahead, compared to other operators at the airport.
Thai Airlines succeeded in reducing the noise footprint of its fleet by opting to operate quieter, newer aircraft this quarter. This resulted in the airline lowering its QC/Seat score, and improving its chapter number scores.
This quarter, airlines rating amber and red increased by five compared to the last quarter in their use of the ‘Continuous Descent Approach’ (CDA). While at the moment, over 85% of daytime and over 90% of night-time arrivals at Heathrow achieve a CDA, the scores in this quarter make it clear some airlines need to improve their use of this quiet landing technique.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye has written to those airlines failing to meet Heathrow’s CDA standards, asking for engagement from their technical teams with the airport to increase CDA adherence. Improvements in quiet approaches is a vital part of Heathrow’s new blueprint for noise reduction, which outlines ten steps to reduce noise impacts from the airport by summer 2015.
Contrary to the last quarter, in which all airlines adhered to night time operation limits, this quarter there were three unscheduled arrivals by airlines before 06:00 am.
Heathrow commends the airlines that have contributed to improving the noise environment around the airport, and will work closely with those airlines that did not meet the minimum performance targets this quarter to improve their rating.
Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability says:
“Since the inception of the Fly Quiet League, we have been able to rely on the continued good performance of the airlines who consistently dominate the top ranks of the table. However, we also want to highlight and encourage those that have made an improvement to the way they operate, and will help them to continue this trend. We believe it is only by working proactively with our partners that Heathrow airport can be a better, quieter neighbour to local residents.”
The Fly Quiet Programme forms part of Heathrow’s wider noise action plan to tackle aircraft noise. On average, due to Heathrow’s mix of strict operating restrictions and noise– reducing incentives, aircraft that airlines use at Heathrow are on average around 15% quieter than the global fleet of those airlines.
Notes to editors
Further details about the Fly Quiet programme:
The six noise metrics
Airlines were consulted on which metrics would be used to compile the Fly Quiet league table. Each metric will be assigned a “RAG” (Red, Amber, Green) status based on the performance bands set for that indicator. As a result operators towards the top of the table will typically have more ‘green scores’ than those towards the bottom. Because scores fluctuate within a band it is possible for an airline with all green scores to sit further down the table, than those with amber or red scores. Individual metric scores will not be published. The ratings are corrected for the number of flights flown by each airline so airlines with more flights are not penalised.’
The metrics below make up the Fly Quiet League Table:
1. Noise quota count/seat/movement. This is a relative noise “efficiency” metric which scores the noise efficiency of an operator’s fleet, recognising that whilst larger aircraft tend to be noisier they also carry more passengers. It is calculated by dividing the sum of QC for arrivals and departures by the aggregate seat capacity and total movements by airline of those flights. This provides a balance between a QC/seat or QC/movement metric which will tend to overly bias long haul or short haul carriers respectively.
A ‘red’ score is awarded if the QC/seat/movement indicator exceeds 0.000022. An ‘amber’ score is awarded if the score is better than the minimum performance targets above but greater than 0.00001.
2. Noise Certification – each aircraft is required to have a noise certificate which can be used to determine its relative performance against ICAO noise performance targets (Chapter 3 and Chapter 4). This allows us to recognise “best in class” and compare performance across different types. An average ‘per movement’ Chapter number value is calculated for each airline, which favours the airlines operating best-in-class, modern, quieter aircraft more frequently.
The minimum performance target in these metrics for the purpose of the Fly Quiet programme is Chapter 4. If the average score of an airline’s fleet operated to and from Heathrow is less than the Chapter 4 equivalent a ‘red score is awarded. A ‘green’ score is awarded if the average noise certification score of an airline is better than the equivalent of Chapter 4 base charging category (see our Conditions of Use www.heathrowairport.com).
3. Arrival Operations: Continuous Descent Approach (CDA violations). CDA involves aircraft maintaining a steady angle of approach when landing at the airport, as opposed to stepped approaches which involve prolonged periods of level flight. This reduces noise because it requires less engine thrust and keeps the aircraft higher for longer. By following a CDA on arrival, the noise on the ground can be reduced by up to 5dBA in areas away from the final approach paths. The purpose of the indicator is to capture the non-CDA arrivals and so potentially reduce the disturbance caused.
The minimum performance target for the CDA compliance is set for 55% for the Fly Quiet programme. An airline achieving this but not exceeding 75% gets an ‘amber’ score; CDA compliance of 75% and more means a ‘green’ score is awarded.
4. Departure Operations: Track deviations on departure (TK violations). Aircraft are required to stay within ‘noise preferential routes’ (NPRs) – 3km wide tracks in the sky, designated by the Government to route aircraft away from more densely populated areas as far as possible – until they reach 4000ft. The track deviations indicator is expressed as the proportion of departures that flew outside the NPRs below 4000ft. The purpose of the indicator is to capture the aircraft which operate outside of these boundaries and so potentially cause unexpected noise disturbance. Instances where this occurs for reasons outside of the airline’s control are excluded for the calculation.
The minimum performance target for the track keeping compliance is set for 85% for the Fly Quiet programme. An airline achieving this standard but not exceeding 90% gets an ‘amber’ score; CDA compliance of 90% and more means a ‘green’ score is awarded.
5. Night time Operations 1: arrivals prior to 0430. There is a voluntary arrangement that aircraft scheduled to land between 0430 and 0600 will not land prior to 0430. This is a very sensitive time and issue for local community groups. The purpose of this indicator is to measure adherence to the operator schedules. It is measured as the number of flights arriving before 0430 as a proportion of the total number of arrivals for the airline.
Green: no infringements, Red: one or more infringements
6. Night time Operations 2: unscheduled arrivals prior to 0600. Arrivals scheduled to land after 0600 should not land before then unless there are dispensing circumstances (e.g. Low visibility conditions). This is also a very sensitive time and issue for local community groups. The purpose of this indicator is to measure adherence to the operator schedules. It is measured as the number of unscheduled flights arriving between 0430 and 0600 as a proportion of the total number of arrivals for the airline.
Green: no infringements, Red: one or more infringements
7. As metrics 5 & 6 are limited in terms of the airlines they could affect but are nonetheless important issues for community stakeholders these have been weighted lower than the remaining 4 so as to not result in dramatic fluctuations in an airlines ranking. Instances where metrics 5 & 6 occur for reasons outside of the airline’s control are excluded for the calculation.
The set of indicators is designed to address the aims of the programme whilst giving the operators the opportunity to improve their ranking by short-term (i.e. operational/tactical) or long-term (e.g. fleet planning) measures.
• The overall ranking of operators in the league table is determined on the basis of the cumulative score resulting from six individual metrics; a lower overall score means higher ranking.
• The top 50 operators by number of movements in the given quarter are included in the league table – this aims to eliminate skewing results by including operators with infrequent operations while covering >90% of movements. The individual metrics are normalised before they are converted into the final partial score for the given operator and respective indicator.
• Operators are split into long-haul and short-haul by percentage of long-haul movements. Movements are defined on the basis of aircraft types deployed on the routes operated by the airline to/from Heathrow. A ‘long-haul aircraft’ for the purposes of the Fly Quiet programme is an aircraft which has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 180 tonnes or more.
• An operator is categorised as long-haul if long-haul movements represent more than 80% of the operator’s movements, and is categorised as short-haul if the long-haul movements represent <20% of the operator’s movements. Any operator with 20-80% long-haul movements is split and measured separately on its long-haul and short-haul traffic, i.e. two separate entries for the same airline can appear in the league table.
• The league tables will be published on a quarterly basis with an annual review and recognition of changes in performance.
The indicators and calculation mechanisms are also proposed in a way that enables even the lower-ranked operators to show some ‘green’ scores rather than to award these operators ‘red’ scores only.
Read more »
Gatwick airport, as part of its PR push for its 2nd runway, has written to thousands of local households in its surrounding area, with virtually everyone for miles around getting the letter. Gatwick is hoping people will respond to the Airports Commission consultation (deadline 3rd February) to back their runway. The letter can be found here. Several residents have already expressed their anger at receiving it, and at the failure of Gatwick to take any real account of the extent of the local opposition. Gatwick does not find it convenient to take much note of the fury about aircraft noise from new flight paths, or of very real and serious concerns about the horrific impact of a new runway on a huge area of Sussex, as well as of Surrey and Kent. You may like to go through the letter, entertaining yourself with trying to spot the deliberate omissions, the deliberate partial truths, and the deliberate glossings-over. It is too full of them to list in this summary. But to save time, you might prefer to see the annotated version below, setting out some of the failings and distortions of the letter.
The Gatwick airport letter is online here – and copied below
Gatwick Airport has sent out a letter to, it seems, every councillor in the Gatwick area. Their letter to councillors says:
Dear Cllr xxxxxxx
Last month, the Airports Commission launched a public consultation into airport expansion. As one of the shortlisted options we feel it is important for people in the local area to have access to all of the facts, and understand the case for a second runway at Gatwick, alongside the alternatives.
To this end, next week residents in your area will receive a letter from Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s Chief Executive to make residents aware of this process and give them some information on how they can have their voices heard. A copy of the letter can be viewed here: letter to residents (copied below).
For the South-East and London, Gatwick will drive significant economic benefits in terms of jobs, housing, and transport. Crucially, we are working with councils all over the region, including Mole Valley District Council, to deliver these benefits where they are needed and wanted most.
If you have any questions or comments on the letter, the Commission or Gatwick, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Planning and Stakeholder Engagement Manager
Airports Commission Project Team
Tel. 0744 959 3171
Gatwick Airport has sent this letter out to all residents in the areas surrounding the airport.
[AirportWatch comments in red].
You may have noticed that Gatwick has featured in the news a lot lately. That’s because the government has set up an independent Airports Commission to look at the future of aviation capacity in the UK. The Airports Commission’s interim report published in December 2013 concluded there is a need for a new runway to be operational in the South East by
2030. They will be recommending to Government in summer 2015 whether this new runway should be at Heathrow or at Gatwick. So we are making our case for Gatwick to have a new runway. [So far, so good].
We are proud of the economic activity and jobs that Gatwick brings to the local area. The chances are you will know someone who works at the airport. Gatwick is the largest employer locally and many businesses choose to locate nearby because of the opportunities and global connections the airport brings. We strongly believe that building a second runway at Gatwick will be better than building a third runway at Heathrow. [Now, that’s a surprise ….]
Expanding Gatwick will [will??] create two world class airports serving London and the South East. We can build a runway at Gatwick quicker and at half the price of building at Heathrow. [Perhaps]. At a time of tight public spending, our option won’t cost the taxpayer anything, whereas expansion at Heathrow will involve tunnelling the M25, at great cost to the public purse. [That is absolutely not correct. The Airports Commission says it has not taken a view on what proportion of improvements to road and rail systems, that benefit the airport, it should have to pay for. Page 27 of Commission consultation. A report by Jacobs for the Commission puts anticipated costs of road schemes at £734 million. Page 65 of Jacobs report ].
We want to make sure that expanding Gatwick also benefits local people, with new jobs and new opportunities. That’s why we will be funding 2,500 apprenticeships – offering a foot in the door to local young people – just as I had when I began my career as an apprentice. [A high proportion of jobs at airports are both low-skilled and insecure (baggage handlers, cleaners, caterers) and both airports and airlines reduce the number of employees whenever they can, to save money. Thus gaining more productivity per employee. For example BA staff cuts].
But we also understand that having an airport close-by affects some [some !!] local people, [very perceptive of them] through aircraft noise and road traffic. [ Missing out rail congestion]. We are committed to being a good neighbour. [As long as being a “good neighbour” is not well defined, and as long as that does not get in the way of massive expansion, and negatively affecting thousands of people and the local environment] .
That’s why, as we develop our plans to expand Gatwick, we are also working with our local authorities and local people to ensure that the impacts of expanding Gatwick are minimised and properly managed. [Nice words, but with little actual meaning. Local people may not believe that has been very effective so far. Dreadful consultations. Failure of senior staff to appear at local meetings. Inability of noise complaints lines to respond. Inadequate responses to complaints. And so on …]
That means limiting as far as possible the number of people [note, the NUMBER – nothing about the DEGREE of noise they are subjected to] badly affected by noise, insulating thousands of homes under the flight path, [noise insulation does not help when the windows are open, of for people outdoors] compensating those who are directly affected by development, [only those in the very worse affected areas and not for the thousands and thousands indirectly affected, by more house building and pressure on infrastructure ] and paying £1,000 per year towards council tax bills for those who are most affected. [How are those worse affected defined? The discredited 57Leq measure is not enough, though convenient for Gatwick].
And finally, we have set up a £46 million fund to contribute towards local infrastructure improvements. [That is merely a drop in the ocean … and how about new health facilities, new schools, new leisure facilities, road maintenance and so on, and so forth ….. Offering to fund work on one roundabout is just peanuts ….]
This is in addition to our commitment to double our annual contribution to public transport, paying for improvements to connect with the M23 and setting aside a further £10 million fund for local road improvements. [Bearing mind it costs around £30 – 40 million for one kilometer of motorway….. that is not going to go far … See link ]
When we say we want to be good neighbours, we mean it. [Good]. Gatwick brings huge benefits to this area, and we have the opportunity to create even more. But where we have a negative impact, we will do all we can to reduce this and compensate people who are affected. [Everything apart from not having such a negative impact – the proverbial giving “every possible assistanace short of actual help” scenario].
We held a consultation earlier this year to explain our plans and get people’s views, [85% of respondents were against a new runway – but Gatwick has taken no notice of that see link ] and we have used the feedback from this to modify and improve our proposals.
The Airports Commission is consulting between now and February on the subject and you can find out more at www.gov.uk/airports-commission. And if you want more information about Gatwick, our plans for a second runway or to pledge your support, please visit gatwickobviously.com.
CEO, Gatwick Airport.
How about some other issues utterly omitted?
a. Climate change, and the immense carbon emissions created by all those extra flights?
b. How about all the extra workers who may be expected to have to be found, for an airport nearly as large as Heathrow, forming at Gatwick? Where will they be found?
c. As the Gatwick area has very low unemployment, workers will have to come from elsewhere.
d. How will road congestion due to extra airport traffic be dealt with?
e. How will rail congestion, due to the extra airport passengers, be dealt with?
f. Where will all the new homes needed for all the extra workers go? There is huge difficulty already in finding enough homes – and that’s without a 2nd runway.
g. How about the pressure on social infrastructure (health, education, recreation)?
h. How about loss of green areas, ancient woodland, countryside, natural places, tranquillity?
i. And how about loss of listed buildings, loss of local character, and increased urbanisation?
j. And – just a mention – how much profit will be returned to foreign shareholders, while Gatwick continue to carry out complicated (legal) financial moves to avoid paying UK corporation tax.
….. and there are many more. ….. without even mentioning air pollution ……
So Stewart’s letter does NOT say much more than it actually says.
Sadly Stewart does not leave a reply email address. But if you feel the need to point out anything in the letter that you are not happy about, you could try firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be prepared to send a letter to the Commission, before the 3rd February deadline. But please not yet !
There are 55+ documents in the total consultation, and it will take time for GACC, CAGNE etc to read through them all very thoroughly. They will then be publicising guidance on the key points to respond to, and the key things that need to be said.
No ordinary person, with a busy life, can be expected to read through the 55+ large documents, which come to perhaps 2,500 to 3,000 pages !
So wait till the airport community groups can do some of the reading on your behalf !
Read more »