Writing in the Guardian, Sandra Laville reports on how some residents of the Heathrow villages, facing eviction and loss of their homes and communities, refuse to be cowed by the airport threat. Some, who have never broken the law before have been forced by circumstances not of their choosing, to adopt civil disobedience as they fight to save their way of life. Some of the 13 activists from Plane Stupid, who cut through Heathrow’s perimeter fence and occupied land close to the northern runway last week came from Sipson. They felt their actions were justified not only because of the homes to be bulldozed and the community to be lost, but because of the hugely increased carbon emissions that a runway would cause. They will appear at the Uxbridge magistrates’ court on 19th August, accused of aggravated trespass. One commented: “I find the whole idea of direct action and of being arrested very stressful. But I feel it has to be done.” On the 20th July local builder, Neil Keveren (previously chairman of anti expansion group, SHE) went to court for his action in blocking the access tunnel to Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3 for 20 minutes recently. He was given a £895 fine. Some think this may become like the long battle for Greenham Common.
Villagers turn to civil disobedience in battle against third runway at Heathrow
Faced with destruction of Harmondsworth and other villages, residents began taking matters into their own hands – and things escalated sharply
With its 11th century church, listed buildings and 15th century timber barn managed by English Heritage, Harmondsworth is a paean to reverence, tradition and antiquity.
Faced with destruction of their village as they know it, to make way for a third runway at Heathrow, however, some residents have begun to adopt tactics such as civil disobedience as they fight to save their way of life.
That campaign escalated sharply last Monday, when 13 individuals cut through the patrolled perimeter fence around Heathrow in the early hours of the morning, chained themselves together and lay down on the northern runway in the name of the campaign group Plane Stupid, closing the runway for three hours and cancelling 13 flights.
Harmondsworth could be the Greenham Common of a generation say protesters as court dates set
20 JULY, 2015 (Colnbrook Views)
As court dates are set for protesters involved in the two separate incidents at Heathrow Airport in recent weeks, activists warn that Harmondsworth will be the Greenham Common of a generation and the defining battleground for “a fight against catastrophic climate change”.
The Guardian yesterday reported that protesters from Plane Stupid arrested following the protest on the northern runway last Monday will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on August 19.
Twelve protesters were arrested in total, charged with “aggravated trespass” and “entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome”, according to the paper.
During the protest Police told the activists they could face civil claims from the airport running into millions of pounds for the disruption, but the airport appears to be taking a softly softly approach. Heathrow’s vast media machine completely ignored the protest, posting only a brief note about the disruption itself.
Neil Keveren, previously chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion, who carried out a separate unofficial protest in the access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3, appeared in court today. Keveren said he had never broken the law before but felt it had to be done.
They took away our democratic choice by kicking the Davies commission decision into the long grass before the election.
He spent six hours in a police cell following his protest.
On 20th July, the day before Parliament broke for its summer recess, campaigners from national organizations and local groups opposed to expansion at Heathrow packed a holiday suitcase for David Cameron’s summer holiday – with material they believe he should read and view on his holiday before he makes up his mind on a 3rd runway. They were joined by the new Twickenham MP Tania Mathias and the veteran opponent of Heathrow expansion, Baroness Jenny Tonge. Organised by HACAN, some of those at the event were campaigners from Greenpeace, FoE, CBT, AEF, SHE , RHC and CAIAN. Items packed into the suitcase included “Heat,” a climate change book by George Monbiot; a video showing Harmondsworth; the most recent IPCC report; AirportWatch briefings on economics, noise, carbon emissions, and air quality; maps showing areas of London to be impacted by flight paths from a 3rd runway; a “No Ifs, No Buts, No third runway” beach towel; and John Stewart’s book “Why Noise Matters.” The case was then wheeled off in the direction of Downing Street. HACAN chair John Stewart said, “This diverse range of groups gives a flavour of the formidable opposition David Cameron will face if he gives the green light to a third runway.”
On 20th July, the day before Parliament broke for its summer recess, campaigners from national organizations and local groups opposed to expansion at Heathrow packed a holiday suitcase for David Cameron’s summer holiday – with material they believe he should read and view on his holiday before he makes up his mind on a third runway.
They were joined by the new Twickenham MP Tania Mathias and the veteran opponent of Heathrow expansion, Baroness Jenny Tonge.
The items for David Cameron
Items packed into the suitcase included “Heat,” a climate change book by George Monbiot; a video showing Harmondsworth, the village facing destruction if a third runway goes ahead; the most recent IPCC report; AirportWatch briefings on economics, noise, carbon emissions, and air quality; maps showing areas of London to be impacted by flight paths from a 3rd runway; a “No Ifs, No Buts, No third runway” beach towel; and The Transition Handbook. HACAN, the campaign body which had organized the event outside Parliament, donated the book “Why Noise Matters.”
Beach towel, from Greenpeace
AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) with a reminder about the IPCC report
Represented at the event were campaigners from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Campaign for Better Transport, AirportWatch, the Aviation Environment Federation, HACAN, Stop Heathrow Expansion, the Richmond Heathrow Campaign, Ealing Noise Action Group, Teddington Action Group and CAIAN (which represents many communities west of the airport).
Having put their reading suggestions in the suitcase for the Prime Minister’s holiday reading, it was they wheeled off in the direction of Downing Street.
HACAN chair John Stewart said, “This diverse range of groups gives a flavour of the formidable opposition David Cameron will face if he gives the green light to a third runway. This is a fun event but with a serious message. We are saying loudly and clearly to the Prime Minister that there is widespread and diverse opposition to a third runway and that he would do well to spend at least part of his summer holidays reflecting on the case against expansion of Heathrow.”
An abandoned Spanish airport which cost about €1.1bn to build has been sold for €10,000 (about £7,000) in a bankruptcy auction. The deal includes the runway, hangars, the control tower and other buildings. However, the terminal and parking facilities were not part of the sale. Ciudad Real’s Central airport, located about 235km south of Madrid, became a symbol of the country’s wasteful spending during a construction boom that ended with the financial crisis of 2008, the year the airport opened. It was meant to be an alternative to Madrid’s Barajas airport. The operator of the airport went bankrupt in 2012 after it failed to draw enough traffic. Ryanair used it briefly. A group of British and Asian international investors, Chinese group Tzaneen International, tabled the single bid in Friday’s auction. There was no other interest. The receiver had set a minimum price of €28 million. If no better bid is received by September, the sale will go through. Tzaneen reportedly plans to invest €60 – €100 million in the airport and make it a cargo hub. The offer is for the airport infrastructure only, not adjacent land. It has a long runway and was designed to handle 2.5 million passengers per year. It is thought that Chinese companies want to make it their “main point of entry into Europe”.
Billion-dollar Spanish airport sold for 10,000 euros
Chinese company only bidder in auction for Ciudad Real’s Central airport, whose operator went bankrupt in 2012.
An abandoned Spanish airport which cost about 1.1bn euros ($1.2bn) to build has been sold for 10,000 euros in a bankruptcy auction.
Ciudad Real’s Central airport, located about 235km south of the capital Madrid, became a symbol of the country’s wasteful spending during a construction boom that ended with the financial crisis of 2008, the year the airport opened.
The operator of the airport went bankrupt in 2012 after it failed to draw enough traffic.
Chinese group Tzaneen International tabled the single bid in Friday’s auction, Spanish news agency Europa Press said.
The receiver had set a minimum price of 28m euros. If no better bid is received by September, the sale will go through, the news agency said.
Tzaneen International reportedly plans to invest up to 100m euros in the airport and make it a cargo hub. The offer is for the airport infrastructure only, not adjacent land.
Central has one of Europe’s longest runways and was designed to handle 2.5 million passengers a year.
The construction was heavily funded by the Caja Castilla La Mancha savings bank, the first of Spain’s troubled savings banks to be bailed out in 2010.
Another largely unused airport and symbol of wasteful spending is Castellon, on Spain’s eastern coast. It cost about 150m euros and opened in 2011.
British investors buy Spain’s €1bn Don Quixote airport for just £7,000
Ciudad Real airport, in the central Castilla-La Mancha region, has been closed since 2012, despite opening only four years prior to closure.
The regional authorities raised an estimated €1billion in private investment to build it. They had hoped it would draw millions of visitors each year to Ciudad Real and the surrounding area, which is known as the home of Miguel de Cervantes’s fictional knight Don Quixote.
But the airport itself soon became seen as a quixotic venture, drawing just 33,000 travellers in 2010.
The airport was previously made available at a price of €80 million, with that sale expiring on July 10 without any takers, allowing lower offers to be made.
The purchaser is Tzaneen International, a group of Britsh and Asian investors, who were the only group to have made an offer in an auction.
Although three weeks remain for counter offers, little interest has been reported in the airport on the part of other companies.
The deal will include the landing strip, hangars, the control tower and other buildings. However, the terminal and parking facilities were not part of the sale.
Despite paying such a low price for the facilities, Tzaneen International said in a statement that it plans to invest between €60m and €100 million in the airport and that “several Chinese companies are interested in making it into their main point of entry into Europe”.
Initially, Ryanair was the only carrier to use it, before abandoning the facility. The regional government then subsidised three flights a week by low-budget airline Vueling before it too pulled out.
Sad story of Ciudad Real Airport – a massive white elephant – that sits abandoned in central Spain
February 18, 2013
Ciudad Real International Airport in central Spain opened in 2009 to much hype and fanfare. The airport, which was meant to handle overflow from Madrid’s Barajas airport, cost some €1.1 billion to build, including a large amount of public funding for infrastructure. The site is next to a town of just 72,000 people on the sparsely populated Castilian plain and lies more than 140 miles from Madrid. It was even named after Don Quixote, the deluded Castilian gentleman of Cervantes’s famous novel, before wiser heads renamed it simply “Central”. Although launched by local private investors, the project has been fulsomely supported by the regional government of Castilla La Mancha and was financed by CCM, the regional savings bank, or caja. There were initially intended to be huge Don Quixote themed attraction nearby, which did not materialise. Only Vueling flew there. The airport closed, as a massively loss-making white elephant, in April 2012 and now sits almost abandoned – except for some car testing.
Airports are usually noisy places, but at Ciudad Real in central Spain the silence
on a weekday morning is broken only by the sound of birdsong.
As Spain struggles to cut its budget deficit to avert another eurozone sovereign
debt crisis, and as its politicians prepare for local elections, Ciudad Real Central
– one of the country’s largest and most modern international airports – has become
a monument to the financial folly born of the property boom and exacerbated by
“It’s the silent airport,” says an airport employee, finishing her coffee in
the cavernous departure hall. It is a Thursday, and there are no passengers because
not a single flight is scheduled to depart.
“An airport in the middle of the desert. It’s scandalous,” says Lorenzo Bernaldo
de Quirós, partner at Freemarket Corporate Intelligence and a fierce critic of
what he sees as excessive devolution leading to waste of public money. “Every
province wants an airport, just as they all want a university.”
One airline – Vueling, the low-cost arm of Iberia – runs two flights a week to
Paris and four to Barcelona, with help from regional government subsidies. In
winter, private jets occasionally bring wealthy hunters to shoot partridge and
To critics of Spain’s devolved system of government, with its 17 autonomous regions,
50 provinces and 8,100 municipalities, the airport was a predictable but avoidable
The site is next to a town of just 72,000 people on the sparsely populated Castilian
plain and lies more than 140 miles from Madrid. It was even named after Don Quixote,
the deluded Castilian gentleman of Cervantes’s famous novel, before wiser heads
renamed it simply “Central”.
The airport, which has been in bankruptcy proceedings since mid-2010, officially
cost €450m ($620m), but the bill reaches about €1bn when publicly funded infrastructure
and running costs so far are included.
Although launched by local private investors, the project has been fulsomely
supported by the regional government of Castilla La Mancha and was financed by
CCM, the regional savings bank, or caja. In 2009, CCM became the first Spanish caja to
be rescued during this economic crisis. It received €3bn in aid from a deposit
guarantee fund, now the airport’s largest shareholder, and was absorbed in a merger
backed by €1.5bn from the public bank rescue fund.
“In Spain, given the tremendous growth of recent years, people thought that anything
could be done, that it would be easy and quick and would make lots of money,”
says Francisco Cañizares, a municipal councillor in nearby Ciudad Real and a member
of the right-wing Popular party (PP), which opposes the Socialists currently in
charge of the central government and the region of Castilla La Mancha.
“In principle it was a private airport, but the ones who put in most money were
public, essentially CCM.”
PP leaders, who are expected to do well in this year’s regional elections against
their Socialist rivals, sense the public mood is turning against waste and bureaucracy
in Spain’s multi-tiered system of government. “Spain can’t compete in Europe or
the world with autonomous regions aspiring to become mini-nations,” said José
María Aznar, former PP prime minister, recently.
Bond market investors appear to have accepted that Spain has brought its central
government deficit under control, but they are now focusing on the growing burden
of regional and municipal debt.
When new regional governments take over after the May elections, says Mr Bernaldo
de Quirós, they are likely to find the accounts in worse shape than previously
believed, as happened in Greece in 2009 and in the Spanish region of Catalonia
at the end of last year. “People will question the reliability of the public accounts,”
Defenders of the status quo insist Spain is no worse than most other European
countries. “The level of development that Spain has now would have been impossible
without the autonomous regions, because it’s impossible to run a country with
the centralised territorial system of the 19th century,” says Javier Burón Cuadrado
of law firm Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira, who advises the association of municipalities
Even the airport has its defenders. They point out that it was conceived when
Madrid’s Barajas airport was congested, was supposed to have a high-speed railway
station, and was opened in 2008 in the depths of the economic crisis. José María
Barreda, Socialist premier of Castilla La Mancha, insists the airport’s moment
will come, and denies it was a “get-rich-quick scheme”.
Meanwhile, tranquillity reigns at the sleepy airport. There is, briefly, a noise
like that of an approaching aircraft. But it is only the whoosh of a high-speed
train on its way from Seville to Madrid.
Heathrow has got some 270 business people, many from companies with a clear direct financial interest, to write an open letter to David Cameron to ask him to get on quickly with building a Heathrow runway. They make the usual claims about the lack of a runway holding back the growth of UK business across the UK, and of limiting future investment in the UK. The actual connection between the runway, and all these good things, is never clearly set out, and the runway would in reality largely be used for holidays or visiting friends and family. The business people say in their letter that the runway would ” improve connectivity both within and outside the UK, driving exports and stimulating growth across the country.” Curiously, they never mention stimulating imports. They want the UK to be macho and show it is willing and able to “take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected open trading economy in the 21st century” and “doing nothing will put Britain’s economy in a perilous position.” It claims “a majority of people in Heathrow’s local communities” back the runway. No evidence for that is given. Meanwhile Heathrow is encouraging passengers to send an easy-to-fill-in-with-no-effort postcards, to David Cameron, asking him to expand Heathrow immediately. Daniel Moylan tweeted: “Move fast on Heathrow? Before we work out the cost to taxpayer and passenger and the harm to residents? Got it.”
Over 270 business leaders unite to call on the Prime Minister to back Heathrow expansion
19.7.2015 (Heathrow airport press release) – Business chiefs urge the Prime Minister to back the clear and unanimous recommendation from the Airports Commission to expand Heathrow
– Lack of capacity at Heathrow is holding back the growth of UK businesses across the country and limiting future investment in the UK
Over 270 of Britain’s business leaders signed an open letter to the Prime Minster demanding the Government implement the Airports Commission’s clear and unanimous recommendation to expand Heathrow.
The letter – sent from signatories ranging from FTSE chiefs and Britain’s key business and trade associations, to leading global brands and SMEs spanning the whole of the UK – sends a clear message that UK business growth and productivity is being held back by lack of capacity at Heathrow. As the UK’s biggest port and only hub airport, businesses rely on Heathrow’s global network to reach fast-growing emerging markets – more capacity will improve connectivity both within and outside the UK, driving exports and stimulating growth across the country.
Further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen, nationally and internationally, as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected open trading economy in the twenty first century.
The Prime Minister set up the Commission in 2012 to find the best way to maintain the UK’s status as an aviation hub. The business leaders signing the letter join SMEs from up and down the UK, politicians from across the political divide, major trade unions and a majority of people in Heathrow’s local communities in backing Heathrow’s expansion plans.
The choice the Prime Minister faces is clear – action on Heathrow is the only way to secure Britain’s future as a powerhouse in the global economy, whilst doing nothing will put Britain’s economy in a perilous position.
Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye said:
“The Prime Minister showed leadership in establishing an independent Airports Commission. It unanimously concluded that expanding Heathrow is the best way of securing Britain’s future as a powerhouse in the global economy.
Now the Prime Minister has the opportunity to show he is serious about delivering Britain’s long-term economic plan by listening to businesses from across the UK and backing Heathrow expansion. This debate has never been about a runway – it is about the future of our country. Let’s get on with it.”
— ENDS —
Notes to Editors:
The full letter and signatory list is copied below:
The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street
17 July 2015
Dear Prime Minister,
The independent Airports Commission has made a clear recommendation that Heathrow is the right location for airport expansion. Heathrow’s new expansion plan ensures this can be done sustainably. The Commission’s final recommendation follows nearly three years of extensive consultation, evidence gathering and analysis. Now your Government must support this recommendation to expand Heathrow.
Heathrow puts Britain right at the heart of the global economy and has helped it become one of the world’s great trading nations.
But Heathrow – the UK’s only hub airport – has been operating at capacity for the past decade. This lack of hub capacity is holding back the growth of UK businesses who want to fly directly to emerging markets; trade and transport their goods via air freight; create more jobs and connect to the UK’s regions.
The Commission is clear: further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen, nationally and internationally, as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected open trading economy in the twenty first century.
Now is the time for Government decision and action. Your Government must support UK businesses by implementing the Airports Commission’s recommendation and expand Heathrow.
More than 270 business leaders have called on David Cameron to end years of indecision and give the go-ahead to a third runway at Heathrow.
The chairmen of FTSE 100 engineering giant Babcock International, British Land and the AA have put their names to an open letter from Heathrow chairman Sir Nigel Rudd urging ministers to support expansion of the west London airport.
The Prime Minister is under growing pressure to approve the measure after the government-appointed Airports Commission earlier this month made a “clear and unanimous” recommendation for a new runway at the site. Mr Cameron has promised a decision before 2016.
“Now is the time for government decision and action,” the letter says. “Your Government must support UK businesses by implementing the Airports Commission’s recommendation and expand Heathrow.”
The commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, spent almost three years and an estimated £20m deliberating how to tackle the impending aviation capacity crisis in the south-east of England. Heathrow is effectively fulland Gatwick is close behind. The commission reviewed more than 50 proposals before concluding that another runway at Heathrow was the “best answer”.
Company executives including easyJet boss Carolyn McCall, O2’s Ronan Dunne, and Ted Baker chief operating officer Lindsay Page are now encouraging ministers to act on the recommendation. They are joined by the heads of business lobby groups and trade associations including Sir Gerry Grimstone, the chairman of TheCityUK, who is also the chairman of Standard Life, and Paul Drechsler, the incoming president of the Confederation of British Industry.
Sir Mike Rake, the outgoing deputy chairman of Barclays, has also signed the letter in a personal capacity, as have a host of small businesses across the UK.
“Heathrow puts Britain right at the heart of the global economy and has helped it become one of the world’s great trading nations,” the letter says. “But Heathrow – the UK’s only hub airport – has been operating at capacity for the past decade. This lack of hub capacity is holding back the growth of UK businesses that want to fly directly to emerging markets; trade and transport their goods via air freight; create more jobs and connect to the UK’s regions.”
The runway is opposed by prominent Conservatives Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith, and five Cabinet ministers are also thought to be against expansion. Furthermore, backing Heathrow would leave Mr Cameron open to accusations that he has broken his “no ifs, no buts” promise in 2009 to block a third runway.
Heathrow also faces competition from Gatwick, which continues to campaign for another runway of its own. A second landing strip at the West Sussex airport failed to win a commission recommendation.
It is a no brainer that a third runway at Heathrow would be an unmitigated disaster for London’s already poor environment, health and quality of life. I’m not just talking about areas in the immediate vicinity of Heathrow. I live in East Sutton and even here the noise of aircrafts ascending, descending or hovering over could be deafening. Not looking forward to more aircrafts and noise for the benefit of these business leaders who would shuttle away to their country mansions to relax over the weekend whilst the rest of us suffer bad noise and health.
All a waste of time. The Chinese have just bought for £7000 (or is it Euros?) their own European airport. They don’t need Heathrow or Gatwick, Schipol, Franfurt or CdG or any other overblown shopping centre with airport attached.
Are bribes being offered? Why else would 270 business ‘leaders’ ask for west London to be thrown into the hell of a third runway – two are bad enough. Can the leaders of this country think of anything other than corporate profit?
So by far the highest number of flights in the world are through London airports and we still need another two runways?
A new study by Kings College, London, commissioned by the GLA and TfL, has shown that London’s pollution killed 9,500 people in 2010. It showed that about there were about 3,537 early deaths in 2010 due to PM2.5s, and about 5,879 deaths from NO2 (ie a total of about 9,416 in 2010. NO2 is largely created by diesel cars, lorries and buses, and affects lung capacity and growth. The findings have prompted Boris to renew his calls for abandoning the expansion of Heathrow Airport on air quality grounds, saying: “My greatest priority remains to protect the well-being and environment of Londoners.” Roads around Heathrow are among those in breach of EU rules. Johnson’s office said that the latest study means “the government must now rule out expansion of Heathrow.” But Boris has also said that he will not resign as Mayor, or as MP for Uxbridge, if the Conservative party back a Heathrow 3rd runway. He had earlier said he would lie down in front of the bulldozers to stop it. Now he says the runway plan is “crackers” and “I don’t think the Heathrow third-runway option has ever been credible … It’s just going to be politically undeliverable, and we need a better long-term solution.” But Zac Goldsmith has said he would resign as an MP, and stand as an independent, if the Tories back the Heathrow runway.
London’s pollution killed 9,500 people in 2010, the first study to quantify the full danger showed, prompting Mayor Boris Johnson to renew his calls for abandoning the expansion of Heathrow Airport on air quality grounds.
About 5,900 deaths were the result of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant produced by diesel engines, according to the report released on Wednesday by King’s College London for the mayor’s office. The remainder were due to particulate pollution known as PM2.5s.
“I need the help and strong support of the government and the EU to effectively win London’s pollution battle and target the enormous amount of toxic air transported into our great capital,” Johnson said. “My greatest priority remains to protect the well-being and environment of Londoners.”
The study is the first to quantify deaths from NO2, a gas whose emissions authorities in London have struggled to contain as the use of diesel engines spreads. The capital has been in breach of European Union limits on NO2 since 2010, and the government projects it won’t comply until at least 2030, opening the country up to legal action and fines from EU authorities.
“Evidence on the health effects of nitrogen dioxide has strengthened in recent years, including evidence linking long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide with mortality,” said Heather Walton, an environmental researcher at King’s College. “It is now thought that there is an additional effect beyond that previously quantified for the effects of long-term exposure to PM2.5.”
Roads around Heathrow, the most busy U.K. airport, are among those in breach of EU rules. Johnson’s office said that the latest study means “the government must now rule out expansion of Heathrow.”
Heathrow Chief Executive Officer John Holland-Kaye said on July 1 that the hub’s plans will meet air-quality rules. The government’s Airports Commission two weeks ago said the hub presents the “strongest case” for expansion of airport capacity in southeast England.
The Airports Commission left a final decision in the hands of Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative government, which is split on the issue. Cameron has said he’ll make a decision by the end of the year.
Johnson has brought in measures to clean up the exhausts of taxis and the capital’s bus fleet. He’s also planning an “Ultra-Low Emission Zone” for central London, which will encourage vehicles to be low- or zero-emissions from 2020.
Johnson Wouldn’t Quit Over Heathrow, Says Plan Still Non-Starter
by Kari Lundgren and Christopher Jasper
17.7.2015 (Bloomberg Business)
London Mayor Boris Johnson lowered the stakes in his personal campaign to block growth at Heathrow airport, saying he won’t resign from City Hall or give up his parliamentary seat if expansion plans go ahead.
Speaking in an interview Friday, Johnson reiterated his opposition to a project he’s called “crackers.” But he said he wouldn’t feel it necessary to step down should Prime Minister David Cameron, his Conservative Party colleague, decide to act on a government-commissioned study recommending a new runway be built at Heathrow.
“I don’t think the Heathrow third-runway option has ever been credible,” Johnson said on Bloomberg Television. “It’s just going to be politically undeliverable, and we need a better long-term solution,” he said. “I certainly won’t be resigning as an MP, nor indeed as mayor of London, and I will be keeping my powder dry on any other positions I may wish to resign from.”
“I don’t think the Heathrow third-runway option has ever been credible”
Johnson’s reluctance to put his career on the line over Heathrow contrasts with the stance of Zac Goldsmith, a fellow Tory lawmaker from west London. Goldsmith said after publication of the Airports Commission’s findings that he’d resign his parliamentary seat under the Heathrow flightpath and stand again on an anti-expansion ticket if Cameron breaks a previous pledge not to sanction a new runway.
Goldsmith is also bidding to be the Conservative candidate for mayor when Johnson steps down in 2016.
Cameron has said he’ll take a decision in the fall on whether to develop Heathrow into a 135 million-passenger-a-year superhub at a cost of 18 billion pounds ($28 billion) following the verdict of a study he ordered in 2012.
Johnson, who attends cabinet meetings on political issues after Cameron gave his potential successor a government role following May’s election, had lobbied for a completely new airport in the Thames estuary — dubbed Boris Island by the U.K. media — on the grounds that it would have less of an impact on people in terms of noise and pollution.
That option was dismissed early on by the Airports Commission as too costly and complex and likely to have a more detrimental impact on the natural environment.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and other senior Conservatives back Heathrow, as do key figures in the Labour opposition. Johnson declined to comment on his own ambitions to replace Cameron, or those of Osborne, who he said is doing a “superb job.”
Nearly 9,500 people die each year in London because of air pollution – study
Counting impact of toxic gas NO2 for the first time suggests more than twice as many people as previously thought die prematurely from pollution in UK capital
By Adam Vaughan
Nearly 9,500 people die early each year in London due to long-term exposure to air pollution, more than twice as many as previously thought, according to new research.
The premature deaths are due to two key pollutants, fine particulates known as PM2.5s and the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2), according to a study carried out by researchers at King’s College London.
The study – which was commissioned by the Greater London Authority and Transport for London – is believed to be the first by any city in the world to attempt to quantify how many people are being harmed by NO2. The gas is largely created by diesel cars, lorries and buses, and affects lung capacity and growth.
London, Birmingham, and Leeds are among the UK cities that have been in breach of EU safety limits on NO2 for five years, prompting legal action that led to a supreme court ruling in April that the government must publish a clean-up plan by the end of the year.
Previous research attributed 4,267 annual premature deaths to PM2.5s in 2008, based on 2006 levels of the particulates.
Subsequent falls in those particulates and a change in methodology that excludes natural sources of the pollutant sees that figure fall to 3,537 for 2010 levels of PM2.5s in the new study.
However that fall is more than cancelled out by the addition of an estimated 5,879 deaths from NO2 each year, bringing the total early deaths from both pollutants in 2010 to 9,416.
Matthew Pencharz, the deputy mayor for environment and energy, said that local authorities could only do so much and the government needed to step in. “It’s [the new research] an important message for government, where the supreme court judgment has already focused minds.”
Although the report found that a larger proportion of deaths caused by PM2.5 were from particulates that originated outside the city than within it, it found that most of the deaths linked to NO2 were because of NO2 emissions from diesel vehicles and other sources within the capital.
Last year, mayor Boris Johnson came in for criticism after a King’s researcher published figures showing Oxford Street had the worst NO2 levels in the world, largely because of its high concentration of diesel buses. The mayor later called for a diesel scrappage scheme to tackle pollution in the capital.
But Pencharz said London was a pioneer when it came to tackling air pollution, with the mayor due to introduce an Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in 2020 that will see the most polluting HGVs and coaches charged £100 to enter.
“No other city is doing half what we’re doing, when it comes to the ULEZ which is a world first, zero emissions taxis which is a world first, the regulations on construction equipment due in September,” he said.
But campaigners said the evidence showed the need for more action. Alan Andrews, a lawyer at the NGO ClientEarth, which brough the case which lead to the supreme court ruling, said: “This new research piles more pressure on the government to come up with a clear and credible plan to cut pollution from diesel vehicles.”
He added: “As shocking as they are, these deaths are really only the tip of the iceberg. For every person who dies early from air pollution, many more are made seriously ill, have to visit hospital or take time off work.”
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer, impairs child lung development and increases the risk of hospitalisation among people with a pre-existing lung condition. It is time we stop talking and take immediate action to prevent more people being needlessly killed by the air that they breathe.”
Jenny Bates, air pollution campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “People have no choice with the air they breathe. This means we have to redouble our efforts, stop tinkering around the edges, and take really bold immediate action with a mix of cleaner vehicles and cutting traffic levels, massive investment in safe cycling and walking, and London-wide road charging.”
On Tuesday, the London Assembly’s environment committee published a report blaming diesel vehicles for the capital’s NO2 problem. Assembly member Stephen Knight, who is on the committee, said: “As petrol engines become cleaner with time it’s becoming clear that diesel emissions are a large part of the problem.”
The study also looked at the impact of short-term exposure to PM2.5s and NO2 during high pollution episodes, such as the one that affected much of England in April, and found that 2,411 hospital admissions for respiratory problems a year could be blamed on the pollutants.
The government’s scientific advisers on the issue, the committee on the medical effects of air pollutants, are expected to conclude later this year that across Britain up to 60,000 early deaths annually can be attributed to the two pollutants, because NO2 will be factored in for the first time. The figure would represent a doubling on the current 29,000 from PM2.5s, and would put air pollution much closer to smoking, which kills around 100,000 people a year.
A King’s study due to be published in the autumn is expected to put the figure for deaths annually in the UK for the two pollutants at 80,000 compared to London’s 9,416, Pencharz told the Guardian.
The mayor launched a consultation today on measures for boroughs to tackle pollution hotspots. All but two boroughs, Bromley and Sutton, failed to meet EU limits on NO2 in 2013, the latest year for which data is available.
TfL announced on Wednesday that two bus routes, the 507 and 521, will be run by 51 100% electric buses from next year, which do not have any tailpipe emissions. The first fully electric double decker bus will enter service in October, Johnson said last month.
On 17th July the Administrative Tribunal of Nantes rejected all appeals by opponents of the new airport to be built at Notre Dame des Landes. The legal challenge was on two areas of environmental law, on destruction of wetlands and movement of protected species. It ruled that the project does not pose environmental concerns. This was one of the last legal confrontations between opponents and supporters of the transfer of Nantes-Atlantique airport to the village of Notre-Dame-des-Landes (building a new airport there instead, to be called L’aeroport du Grand Ouest). This battle has been going on since the plan was first proposed in 1967. Those wanting the new airport hope work could start very soon, but Europe Ecologie-Les Verts believe appeals are not yet completed and work on the airport cannot resume. The “zadistes” (ZAD – Zone À Défendre) have been occupying the site for 5 years, and farmers hostile to the project do not intend to give up. Opponents of the airport ACIPA and CEDPA) also intend to appeal and challenge with a prefectural order for the protection of the water vole. There are also problems of crested or marbled newts, great horned beetles and the floating plantain, an endangered water plant. In addition the CGT trade union is opposed to the new airport believing that modifying the old airport is a better option.
Notre-Dame-des-Landes : la justice rejette tous les recours contre l’aéroport
Notre-Dame-des-Landes:justicedismissedallactionsagainst the airport
17.7.2015 (Le Monde, France)
Poor translation into English from the original French:
It was one of the last legal confrontations between opponents and supporters of the transfer of Nantes-Atlantique airport to the village of Notre-Dame-des-Landes (building a new airport there instead, to be called L’aeroport du Grand Ouest).
On Friday, July 17, the Administrative Tribunal of Nantes rejected all appeals by opponents of the new airport to cancel two environmental laws enacted by the Loire-Atlantique Prefect allowing the developer (Vinci Airports) to destroy wetlands and move protected species, prior to the work. The court therefore dismissed the appeals filed “By fourteen judgments against the decisions taken by the prefect of Loire-Atlantique in the context of achieving the Grand Ouest Airport project at Notre Dame des-Landes, declared of public utility by decree of 9 February 2008.”
Magistrates transfer thereby the very old case dossier – the site of Notre-Dame-des-Landes was chosen in 1967 – to politicians. The government has often stated that the runway would begin as early as the ultimate judgement. The Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has therefore immediately welcomed the decision of the court, “which should lead to the resumption of work” .
Europe Ecology-The Greens believe that a call by opponents of the project is “legitimate and necessary” , appeals are not yet completed and “the work cannot resume.” The party believes that “Any contrary decision of the executive would be a provocation.”
It is still an issue that remains at high risk: the “zadistes” have been occupying the site for five years, and farmers hostile to the project do not intend to give up.
Opponents of the airport – the intermunicipal citizen Association of populations affected by the airport project (ACIPA), the Collective of elected representatives doubting the appropriateness of the airport (CEDPA), etc. – also intend to challenge a prefectural order that is in preparation for a protected species, the water vole. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arvicola_amphibius Forgotten in the previous text, the little rodent which appreciates the wetland area of Nantes, has invited itself into the debate.
In early April, the National Nature Conservation Council (CNPN), an advisory body of the Ministry of Ecology has issued an unfavorable opinion (and Advisory) on the request for exemption to the prohibition of destruction of this protected species. “This adverse opinion by CNPN reinforces the views of naturalists, refers to the weak record of the airport project on the environment and weakens the position of the State and of Vinci” , noted François Beaulieu, a member of the group of naturalists fighting the airport project.
On the side of the prefecture, it is argued that the draft decree on the water vole is ready. “This problem must be ruled on before any work can commence; it takes about a month of public consultation, considers Stéphan Ribou, the sub-prefect in charge of the case of Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Apart from this particular point, if all is validated by the court on Friday, the project restarts.”
Besides the problem voles, crested or marbled newts, great horned beetles or even flûteaux nageants (the floating plantain, an endangered water plant https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luronium ), and of moving them, which can only be done at certain times of year, opponents of the arguments have rested ultimately on economically and social arguments.
Reinforcement of the CGT
Aerial view of the site is to be built where the international airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, taken on 11 May 2013. JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD / AFP
The transfer of Nantes-Atlantique Airport in the town of Bouguenais, 10 km south-west of Nantes, to Notre-Dame-des-Landes, 20 km north of the town, is not necessary – according to them. In their demonstration of the viability of the current airport, they just received a weighty and rather unexpected reinforcement: the CGT Loire-Atlantique. [The CGT is the General Confederation of Labour (French: Confédération générale du travail, CGT) a major trade union].
Union activists have put out a leaflet and a brochure explaining the choice, at the national gathering of opponents in Vigneux-de-Bretagne, over the weekend of July 11th and 12th. For four years, the CGT has studied all facets of the airport issue. The union sums the situation up saying: “The maintenance of the airport on the current site, with all the necessary improvements (…), has more advantages than the construction of a new airport at Notre -Dame-des-Landes.”
This rally, which has hardly enchanted the local Communist Party, which supports the new airport project, echoes the intense work done by the opponents. The Citizen Workshop, which has brought together over seven months individuals, expert or not, has published two books, “Economy and jobs” and “Finance”, the findings, they say, without appeal. “We scoured every detail of the financial model presented by Vinci and we show that, keeping to the old airport, and modifying it, everybody wins: the state, Vinci, communities, and therefore citizens,” explains Jean-Marie Ravier, an entrepreneur committedly against the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport plan.
Recourse to Law on water and protected species: opponents appeal the decisions of the Administrative Tribunal
It is with disappointment that the ACIPA and CEDPA are aware of the decisions of the Administrative Tribunal to dismiss all legal remedies in the water, protected species and DUP viaire program.
It is paradoxical that these decisions are opposite to those made yesterday by the Grenoble Administrative Court for Roybon, while water law issues are similar and that the compensation is not defined in Notre-Dame-des-Landes.
In decisions of the Administrative Tribunal of Nantes, expert opinions are removed, alternatives are not seriously investigated, and the effectiveness of compensatory measures are ignored.
These elements justify that we appeal in the coming weeks.
In any case, the work cannot start. Many permits are still required (clearing, water vole, building permits …) we recall Francois Hollande commitments not to expel the inhabitants and the farmers and not to start the work (whether on the road or the bar on the platform): ” As long as the remedies are not exhausted, the project can be launched é “.
For the record, the planned extension of the Nantes-Saint-Nazaire port, east of Donges, was abandoned in 2009 following the cancellation of the judgement Appeal Administrative Court.
After the massive citizen mobilization of 11 and 12 July, the citizen fight, political and legal continue.
We call on the committees of support [there are committees in numerous places across France, opposing the airport plans] and all opponents of the project to the utmost vigilance.
We will not allow the destruction of Notre Dame des Landes, or the expulsion of its inhabitants!
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced that construction will resume at the highly controversial airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes near the northwestern city of Nantes.
The €580-million project has divided government officials, citizens and activists in a series of clashes, triggering a halt to construction at the end of 2012.
A French tribunal rejected appeals against the environmental components of the project on Friday, ruling that it does not pose environmental concerns.
Moreover, the government highlights the construction of the airport would benefit the public by improving road access in the area.
Though Jean-Marc Ayrault, ex-prime minister and ex-mayor of Nantes, is on the frontline of defence alongside the government and local officials, it has posed issues for the Socialist-Green alliance.
The project has divided government officials such as The Ecology Party EELV’s national secretary, Emmanuellle Cosse, and Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal, who have voiced their opposition to the project.
Cosse tweeted on Friday that the rush to relaunch the works straight away once again reveals the government’s motivation to force the project forward.
Activist groups, notably the ACIPA, and the loose-knit anarchist collective known as the Zadistes, claim it is an unjustified cause as it will be detrimental to the environment and wasteful use of government funds.
The crux of the issue arose during violent clashes between protestors and the police in February 2014.
The black-clad zadiste rioters smashed shop windows with stones, bottles and flares as police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
The project was approved in 2008, with an initial budget of 580 million euros and the end of construction is pushed back to 2019 at the earliest.
Many thousands of determined opponents of new Nantes airport gather before final court decision
July 14, 2015
Over the weekend of 11th and 12th July there was a massive gathering at Notre Dame des Landes, in western France, to show the strong opposition to the building of a new runway there, to replace the current Nantes airport. This “mobilisation” is the 15th that the organisers, ACIPA, have put on over the years. It was estimated that perhaps 15,000 people attended over the two days. People at Nantes are very aware of the carbon and climate implications of a new airport, as well as serious local environmental destruction. They also link the Nantes campaign with other huge infrastructure projects across Europe, that would be damaging in terms of carbon emissions – such as a new runway in the UK. There is a desire to link up campaigns against such developments. The gathering combined a lot of workshops and education sessions with fun, with music, dancing and food -but with a very serious message. On Friday 17th July the Nantes Administrative Court will rule on the last 17 appeals by opponents of the airport project, on several environmental issues in contention with EU law, such as on water law and destruction of protected species. It is thought the court will rule against the opponents,but they will appeal. These legal issues are all that is holding up building of the airport.
People living in parts of Kent and Sussex, near or under Gatwick approach flight paths, are hoping easyJet will finally do something about the awful whining noise their A320 series planes make. EasyJet has finally agreed to fix its fleet of Airbus A320 planes – which only takes a simple and inexpensive modification. The whine from older Airbus A320 planes is caused by the Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities which can be easily fixed by retrofitting the planes with a simple piece of kit called a flow deflector. The plane noise problem has been particularly intrusive this year since a narrow flight path corridor for Gatwick arrivals, so noise is not dispersed by sharing the noise burden. EasyJet had said they would get their planes modified by 2018, but realising the fury and upset their company has caused, now say they will bring forward the timetable for the work by two years. EasyJet says by June 2016 around 100 planes will have been adapted and work is due to begin this November. The whole fleet of 197 aircraft will be fully retrofitted by March 2018. BA says it will modify its 130 older Airbus A320 planes from October 2015. People in Kent and Sussex are hopeful there will be an improvement, and before too long.
easyJet agrees to modify planes flying over west Kent
16 July 2015
by Annabel Rusbridge-Thomas (Kent Messenger)
easyJet has agreed to take action to reduce a ‘high-pitched, whining’ noise which plagues residents of west Kent. The company will modify their older Airbus A320 planes which produce the disturbing sound.
It is a huge success for Tunbridge Wells MP, Greg Clark, in his campaign and fight against aircraft noise.
The whining noise on A320 planes is caused by the Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities which can be easily fixed by retrofitting the planes with a simple piece of kit called a flow detector.
Mr Clark said: “It is great news that easyJet has finally agreed to modify their A320 planes to ensure that all 58 of their aircraft based out of Gatwick have the problem solved. People living under the Gatwick flightpath have been suffering from noise disturbance from these aircraft for far too long.
“When I meet the Chief Executive of easyJet, Carolyn McCall, next month I will certainly commend her for taking this action but also press her on completing the retrofit earlier than the given end date which is currently Spring 2018.”
British Airways has agreed to modify its 130 older Airbus A320 planes from October 2015.
Joy as easyJet commits to ending plane noise in November By Kent and Sussex Courier
July 16, 2015
Ear-piercing noise which has ruined many Tunbridge Wells homeowners’ summer could be set to end.
Flight firm easyJet has agreed to fix its fleet of Airbus A320 planes which give out the whining sound.
It has been particularly intrusive this year since a narrow flight path corridor for planes heading to Gatwick was introduced as aircrafts have been routed directly above parts of west Kent and East Sussex by NATS.
Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark has been lobbying easyJet for a resolution, planned for 2018.
But this week the air firm agreed to bring forward its timetable by two years.
The whining noise on older Airbus A320 planes is caused by the Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities which can be easily fixed by retrofitting the planes with a simple piece of kit called a flow deflector.
By June 2016 around 100 planes will have been adapted and work is due to begin this November.
The 197-strong fleet will be fully retrofitted by March 2018.
Mr Clark said: “When I met the chief executive of EasyJet, Carolyn McCall, I told her about the concerns of my constituents living under the Gatwick flight path and I am pleased to say she committed to doing everything that she can to help ease this situation, including bringing forward the modification of their older A320 planes based at Gatwick.
“When easyJet first announced they were going to modify their fleet after some months of pressing them on this issue, the completion date given was March 2018 – her agreement to bring this work forward by two years is a very significant step and I told her that this action would be warmly welcomed by local people.”
British Airways has agreed to modify its 130 older Airbus A320 planes from October 2015.
Martin Barraud, chairman of Gatwick Obviously Not, said: “It is an absolute salute to the thousands of people who have campaigned on this issue. If easyJet can get behind us on the flight path issue as well, that would be extremely helpful because that is what is really getting people’s goat at the moment.”
“A320 Family aircraft may emit a tonal noise from the wing Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities when making an approach to land. This has occasionally lead to complaints from residents under the approach path at distances of between 50 and 12 Km from the landing point.
Air Flow Deflectors fitted just forward of the FOPP relief holes will soon be available as standard fit on new deliveries and as a retrofit for in-service aircraft. These deflectors can reduce the subject tonal noise by up to 11 dBA, (depending to the approach trajectory), but it should be noted that they do not affect the aircraft’s ICAO noise level certification. The deflectors’ have negligible impact on aerodynamic efficiency and weight (147g per aircraft) which means that the aircraft’s performance is unaffected.
For retrofit, typically about 10 man-hours are required for installation while elapsed time is around 7 hours.
Further technical details can be obtained from John GRANT (email@example.com) of Customer Services Marketing. To obtain a commercial offer, airlines should contact their Airbus Upgrade Services’ commercial focal point.”
Lufthansa retrofitting A320 planes with simple, inexpensive, noise-reducing device to stop the “Airbus whine”
November 16, 2014
The Airbus 320 series of aircraft, many of which are used by the low cost carriers – easyJet in particular – have been known for many years (by the CAA since 2005) to have a particularly irritating high pitched whine. This is caused by air rushing across the under-surface of the wing, where there are Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities. This generates noise, in the same way as blowing air over the mouth of a bottle.Every A320 series aircraft emits a signature howling noise while approaching to land. It is heard most when the plane is travelling at around 160 knots, and the frequency is around 500-600Hz, which is close to peak sensitivity of the human ear. There is a relatively simple and inexpensive retrofit, to attach a small aluminium “vortex generator” in front of the cavity. Then can be done at routine aircraft maintenance, though the fuel tanks need to be emptied. Lufthansa is in the process of retrofitting all its A320 series planes. Air France will also do so. EasyJet has been reluctant to do much, as it sees no commercial advantage in doing so.
Correspondence with Carolyn McCall (easyJet) illustrates the desperation caused by Gatwick’s new flight paths
June 2, 2015
One component of the problem of aircraft noise now being inflicted on people of West Kent and Sussex by newly concentrated Gatwick flight paths, is the “Airbus whine”. This is an unpleasant additional noise, at a particularly annoying frequency, due to air passing over the Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities. This is relatively cheap and easy to put right. However, easyJet has not taken steps to make the changes, as it would slightly cut profits. Now infuriated residents have asked Ms Carolyn McCall, the CEO of easyJet, to take action on this. She has replied to say: “easyJet will do whatever it can as we take noise and environmental issues very seriously. I am looking into already how we can accelerate our programme to address this issue.” She has actually been aware of the problem for a long time …. Below are some emails to her, giving a flavour of the desperation, anger and exasperation of people whose lives have been changed, seriously for the worse, because of altered and concentrated Gatwick flight paths – about which they were not consulted or informed. Their determination to reverse the deterioration in their quality of life, from the noise intrusion, is palpable.
Munich airport, Germany’s second largest by number of passengers, has now won approval for its plans to build a 3rd runway. A federal court rejected the remaining appeals against the plan. Munich airport currently serves around 40 million passengers a year and expects this to rise to about 58 million by 2025, so it is hard to see how it needs yet another runway. The most recent attempt to block the plan, after a decision in favour of it by a Munich court in 2014, was brought by a Bavarian environmental group, Bund Naturschutz, and 5 individuals. The Leipzig-based federal court rejected a similar complaint brought by local municipalities in February – now the court says the Munich court decision is fully binding and the runway can go ahead. In 2012 in a Munich referendum, a majority of residents opposed the plan. Bund Naturschutz called on politicians to uphold the popular vote from 2012 and said it would file a complaint with the European Commission for disregard of European laws on nature conservation. They hope to fight on. A Bund Naturschutz spokesperson said: “Neither Bavaria nor Munich needs the third runway. Lufthansa is the only one that will benefit.” The airport is owned by the state of Bavaria, the German government and the city of Munich. Lufthansa uses Munich as its 2nd largest base after Frankfurt pushes for the expansion.
Munich airport gets clearance for third runway; environmentalists fight on
Munich airport, Germany‘s second largest and a key base for Lufthansa, won approval on Wednesday for its plans to build a third runway when a federal court rejected the remaining appeals against it.
Airport expansion is a hot topic in Europe, pitting local residents and environmentalists against carriers and airports facing increased global competition. Protesters this week disrupted flights at London’s Heathrow after a commission recommended the government to build a third runway there to end decades of wrangling and indecision.
Munich airport currently serves around 40 million passengers a year and expects this to rise to about 58 million by 2025.
The complaint against a prior decision from a Munich court in 2014 was brought by a Bavarian environmental group, Bund Naturschutz, and five individuals.
The Leipzig-based federal court had already rejected a similar complaint brought by local municipalities in February. It said on Wednesday the Munich court decision was now fully binding and the airport had the right to build the runway.
Obstacles remain, however. Munich residents voted against the runway in 2012, and the airport’s owners – the state of Bavaria, the German government and the city of Munich – are in disagreement over the expansion.
German airline and tourism associations praised Wednesday’s ruling and urged politicians to move ahead with expansion. Lufthansa, which uses Munich as its second largest hub after Frankfurt, welcomed the decision, saying it offered long-term growth.
Bund Naturschutz called on politicians to uphold the popular vote from 2012 and said it would file a complaint with the European Commission for disregard of European laws on nature conservation.
“Neither Bavaria nor Munich needs the third runway. Lufthansa is the only one that will benefit,” Christine Margraf of Bund Naturschutz said in a statement.
Germany’s Munich Airport has won approval to build a third runway after a federal court rejected the remaining appeals against it.
In 2014, a Bavarian environmental group and five individuals filed a complaint against a prior decision from a Munich court. The Leipzig-based federal court had already rejected a similar complaint brought by local municipalities in February. It said the Munich court decision is now fully binding and the airport has the right to build the runway.
“Ten years after we started this project, the highest German federal court ultimately decided that all our planning had been professional and included legal requirements,” airport operator FMG CEO Michael Kerkloh said in a statement.
However, Munich residents voted against the runway in 2012, and the airport owners—the state of Bavaria, the German government and the city of Munich—are in disagreement over the expansion.
Lufthansa said in a statement that it welcomed the decision to build a third runway, which also affirms the carrier’s long-term growth strategy. Munich is Lufthansa’s second hub in Germany after Frankfurt.
Munich Airport will open a new satellite facility in April 2016, the first midfield terminal at a German airport. Like Terminal 2, the satellite facility will be operated jointly by FMG and Star Alliance member Lufthansa, which hold 60% and 40% ownership, respectively.
Lufthansa will also base its first Airbus A350-900 in Munich from 2016.
Munich Airport serves 40 million passengers a year, which is expected to increase to 58 million by 2025.
Kerkloh said the final decision to add urgently needed capacity by building a third runway is based on its three shareholders—the state of Bavaria, the German government and the city of Munich.
As Florian Sperk of “Plane Stupid” said only scarcely a week ago when ZAMMA Festival, in Freising people have spent ten years resisting the third runway celebrated with the youth of the federal nature conservation – and now this ruling from Leipzig.
Nevertheless: “For us, this means:. Now more than ever, we will continue to push ahead with political opposition, because the judgment is indeed quite short of reality,” Florian Sperk said on Wednesday.
Also in the village of Attaching itself [which would be destroyed for the runway] the village community came together on that day. In front of the local shop, members of the BI Attaching group met up, and spread out the village map on the table – being available all day to answer questions from residents . In the evening the BI Attaching group organized a church service in the St. Francis Chapel.
To stand up for the preservation of creation, in the last few years the Attachinger citizens have built the chapel right in the village. It is a monument of resistance. “Attaching to be shared,” it says in a statement of the Aufgemuckt group to Leipzig judgment. “With the rejection of the revision to the third runway at Munich Airport, the Bavarian village of Attaching and the homes of 1,000 Bavarian citizens will be destroyed, “it said. It is not clear how such an inhuman plan could get approval by the federal administrative court. No other infrastructure project would create such burdens for the affected population as creating a third runway. Now the Attachinger residents want the Munich referendum from summer 2012 (that rejected the runway, but was only valid for one year) to be upheld.
Should the runway be built, the Aufgemuckt group urges that a three-point plan for the village is needed. 1. Attaching must not be divided into two noise zones. 2.Resettlement options in Freising need to be created for Attachinger in case of resettlement, to preserve the village community. 3. Moreover the Aufgemuckt group calls for a new social and cultural center to produce equivalent quality of life – a meeting place as the Kramer (local shop?) will probably no longer be the same.
Munich – The State Government is already planning behind the scenes a reconstruction of the Munich airport company into a corporation. That is the currently most realistic scenario, our newspaper exclusively reported, citing high government circles.
Several participating ministries have already checked that it was legally clearly feasible. Then a third runway could be built, against the wishes of the city of Munich. So far Munich airport has three shareholders: Free State (51%), Federal Government (26%) and Munich (23%). Federal and state governments want to expand the airport, but the city feels politically bound through the referendum of 2012 that said “No”. In the structure of society as a GmbH Munich can block the third runway.
A transformation into a corporation (AG), would be decided in the majority, is possible even against the will of the city within a maximum of three years due to clauses in the partnership agreement, according to sources in the CSU. (CSU is the Christian Social Union).
An IPO plan – known as rumor for months – had consistently been denied the State Government. In fact, the current plan does not contain that airport-AG is a publicly listed company on the stock exchange. However, the city is to be offered to deliver the shares over the counter. Only when the last outstanding court judgment has been delivered, the government will want to express it openly. Finance Minister Markus Söder (CSU) therefore calls on colleagues not to speculate and discuss this now. “The road map is available. Until the procedures are completed. All should abide by this clear line,” he told the newspaper. Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) has already announced resistance to the case of a conversion. He is thinking about a lawsuit. “You can not just out box us.”
Opponents of 3rd Munich runway say the airport’s number of flights is still falling
January 29, 2015
Munich airport has been planning a third runway for some time, but opponents have succeeded in holding it back. The runway was considered necessary in 2007 and 2008, when the number of air passengers and the number of flights was growing. However, with the recession and with the use of larger planes by airlines like Lufthansa, which use Munich airport, there are now far fewer flights than there were at their peak. Runway opponents say that, in contrast to over-optimistic forecasts of future numbers of passengers and flights, the reality is that the airport now does not need another runway. In 2007 there were around 432,000 flights. In 2012 there were around 398,000. In 2013 there were around 382,000. The number has been declining steadily, even if the number of passengers and the amount of air freight is more constant. The airport management admit the forecasts were too high, but say the trend to ever larger planes will soon end, and the numbers of flights will rise. Opponents are using the falling numbers to fight the runway. The runway has permission but the decision is currently being reviewed by the Court., and the airport cannot yet start work on it.
5% fewer flights used Munich airport in 2013 than 2012 – but airport planning 3rd runway
March 3, 2014
In Munich, campaigners against the building of a 3rd runway remain defiant in spite of a court ruling that the building of a 3rd runway would be legal. There were extraordinary scenes in the court room when the judge gave his ruling. Campaigners, who had packed the building, all stood up and sang the Bavarian national anthem. The judge had to clear the court. The campaigners are confident that the 3rd runway may never be built because the number of aircraft using the existing runways at Munich is falling. The figures for 2013 show that though there were 0.8% more passengers using Munich airport in 2013 than in 2012, but that the number of air transport movements (flights) fell by 5%. That is a substantial reduction. The campaign against the new runway has repeatedly questioned the economic case for building a runway for which there is not sufficient demand. For all 3 airports in Bavaria (Munich, Nuremburg and Memmingen) the number of air passengers did not grow in 2013, and the number of flights fell by 5.2%. The volume of air freight and mail using Munich airport fell by 1% in 2013. So no growing demand there.
Bavarian Administrative Court rules that building a 3rd runway at Munich airport is lawful
February 19, 2014
The Bavarian government in southern Germany have been trying for some time to get consent for a 3rd runway at Munich airport, to the north of the existing airport. The 300 or so runway opponents in the court greeted the news with boos and by singing the Bavaria national anthem. On 19th February the Bavarian Administrative Court (VGH) ruled that the runway can go ahead, when they rejected the 17 lawsuits against the project. The project was halted by a referendum in June 2012, when by a majority vote the people of Munich expressed their opposition to the runway, which would demolish the village of Attaching. However the legal judgement is not the end to the story, and the fight is expected to continue. Those opposed to the runway point out that a runway is not needed as the number of flights has fallen over recent years and the current runways have plenty of spare capacity, with the advent of larger aircraft. Though the result of the 2012 referendum was only valid for one year, the political parties in Munich are very aware if local opposition to the runway, and they need their votes. It is the state government and economic lobbies that want the runway. Opponents.will fight on.
Munich campaign hands in 80,000 signature petition against 3rd runway to state parliament
July 24, 2013
On 17th July, the BUND Naturschutz (the largest environmental organisation in Germany) and the “AufgeMUCkt” Action Alliance handed in a petition to the state parliament against the construction of a third runway at Munich Airport. Nearly 80,000 people have signed the petition from all over Bavaria. The petition was handed to the Chairman of the Economic Committee (CSU) and someone from the Environment Committee at the parliament. The campaigners asked the politicians to please take note of the will of the people and decide against allowing a new runway. One campaign leader, Helga Stiegl Meier explained that, among other things, the number of aircraft movements at Munich Airport has been stagnate for years, which she said proves that there is no need for a 3rd runway. Another spokesman said the region has no need of furher aviation expansion, and sustainable transport in Bavaria is facing very different challenges, such as future supplies of cheap oil. The new parliament will have to decide after the state elections in the autumn on a third runway.
Munich residents vote against new 3rd runway at Munich airport – 54% said NO
June 17, 2012
Munich residents voted against development of a 3rd runway, in a poll by the City of Munich, which owns 23% of the runway (state and federal government own the rest). Just over 54% of polled voters were against the new runway and 45.7% in favour, according to preliminary results of the vote on Sunday. Though the city only owns part of the airport, this is thought to be a veto. Munich Mayor Christian Ude said he would accept the result “without ifs or buts.” Bavaria’s state government, however, said it still hopes the runway could eventually be built. Munich is Germany’s second-biggest airport. The vote has dealt another blow to airlines clamouring for growth in Germany. A German district government ruled in favour of the €1.2 billion euro Munich runway project almost a year ago. This vote shows, quote: “how difficult it has become to make clear the significance of important infrastructure projects in our country,’ according to the Munich airport chief.
The European Commission (EC) has approved International Airlines Group’s (IAG) acquisition of Aer Lingus, for €1.3 billion (£916 million, subject to British Airways surrendering 5 slot pairs at Gatwick. The EC said it required “significant concessions” on routes from London to Dublin and Belfast for the tie-up to go ahead and they wanted to be sure there would be enough future competition on the Irish routes, and also Dublin-Chicago. Ryanair has now said it will bid for the slots. Out of the 5 slots, 2 must be used for Dublin and one for Belfast and the other 2 can be used for either Dublin or Belfast. The Commission also insisted that Aer Lingus must continue to accept rival airlines’ connecting passengers at Amsterdam, Dublin, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Shannon. The agreement by IAG is another step towards its take-over of Aer Lingus, as Ryanair has said it will sell its 30% share in Aer Lingus to IAG (and the Irish government will sell its 25% stake). Ryanair will get €400 for its share, and is considering how to spend it – probably on paying down planes (it ordered 200 planes last year), though a bit might go to shareholders.
EC approves IAG bid for Aer Lingus
15 July 2015 (CILT)
The European Commission (EC) has approved International Airlines Group’s (IAG) acquisition of Aer Lingus, subject to the carriers surrendering five slot pairs at London Gatwick Airport.
Detailing its conclusions on Tuesday, the Commission said it required “significant concessions” on routes from London to Dublin and Belfast for the tie-up to go ahead.
“The Commission had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition on several routes,” the EC said, identifying Dublin-London, Belfast-London and Dublin-Chicago as the main competition pinch points for the deal.
To appease the regulator, IAG offered to give up five daily Gatwick slot pairs to its rivals. Two of these five daily slots must be used to serve Dublin, while a third is reserved for Belfast flights. The remaining two pairs can be used for either Dublin or Belfast.
The Commission also insisted that Aer Lingus must continue to accept rival airlines’ connecting passengers at Amsterdam, Dublin, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Shannon.
“These commitments adequately address all competition concerns identified by the Commission. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it,” the Commission concluded.
IAG issued a brief statement, confirming the remedies and welcoming the ruling. This marks another major milestone for the takeover, following Ryanair’s recent confirmation that it is willing to sell its Aer Lingus shares to IAG.
By Julia Fioretti Ryanair will bid for the slots IAG has agreed to release at London’s Gatwick airport as a condition of its takeover of Aer Lingus , Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said on Wednesday.
IAG, which owns British Airways, gained EU approval for its €1.3-billion (£916 million) bid for Ireland’s Aer Lingus on Tuesday after agreeing to improve concessions to ease competition concerns, including giving up five slots at the London airport.
“We welcome the proposals by IAG that they would surrender some slots in Gatwick. We will certainly be bidding for the slots and we would certainly want to expand services we offer at Gatwick,” O’Leary told a news conference in Brussels.
Irish budget airline Ryanair said it would accept IAG’s offer for its 30% stake in Aer Lingus last week. The takeover had been conditional on the backing of Ryanair and the Irish government, which agreed to sell its 25 percent stake in May.
O’Leary said Ryanair did not expect to receive the 400 million euros of proceeds for its stake until September, and he said the board would then consider how to spend it.
“Speaking personally I’ll be advocating that we use the proceeds to help us pay down aircraft, but there’s clearly some interest among our shareholders that they will get some of the proceeds as well,” O’Leary said.
“The board I’m sure will be generous and do whatever is in the best interest of Ryanair’s shareholders.”
Ryanair last year placed an order for up to 200 new Boeing planes and is targeting 50 percent growth in passenger numbers by 2019.
International Airlines Group’s €1.4bn takeover of Aer Lingus cleared its final hurdle as the European Commission gave its approval of the purchase.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, said on Tuesday: “By obtaining significant concessions from the airlines, the commission has ensured that air passengers will continue to have a choice of airlines at competitive prices after IAG’s takeover of Aer Lingus. The 5m passengers travelling each year from Dublin and Belfast to London will be able to choose among several strong carriers.”
As part of his pitch to win the backing of the Irish government and of the Irish public for the deal, Mr Walsh has promised to increase Aer Lingus’s transatlantic traffic through Dublin airport, which has some spare runway capacity.
Gatwick Airport has produced a short (14 page) initial response to the Airports Commission recommendation of a Heathrow runway. The Commission rejected the Gatwick scheme as falling far behind Heathrow, with much lower economic benefits or benefits to the UK as a whole. Now Gatwick say: “We believe that the Commission’s report falls short of [being thorough, balanced, fair and well evidenced] in a number of very important respects. As a result, the many strengths of Gatwick and the many challenges of Heathrow are both underplayed, leading to a conclusion which we believe is wrong.” Responding to this, the local community group GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) said the flaws in Gatwick’s case include the fact it caters largely for low-cost leisure flights, and will continue to do so; Gatwick likes to give the impression that the extra noise from a 2nd runway would not be a serious problem, but the anger of those on whom changed flight paths have been inflicted in the past 2 years shows that is not the case; and Gatwick ignore the huge social and infrastructure problems that would be caused by inwards migration, housing and urbanisation. GACC said: “It is time for Gatwick to give up flogging their dead runway horse and concentrate instead on being a better neighbour.”
Gatwick Airport has produced a response to the Airports Commission report. It is at
….”Our view has always been that the assessments on which the Commission’s conclusions are based must be thorough, balanced, fair and well evidenced. We believe that the Commission’s report falls short of this standard in a number of very important respects. As a result, the many strengths of Gatwick and the many challenges of Heathrow are both underplayed, leading to a conclusion which we believe is wrong.”
This is the airport’s initial response, and they say they will “complete a more in-depth analysis after a thorough review of the extensive documentation published by the Commission.”
Gatwick’s red card – “Gatwick was given a red card and they should stop arguing with the referee”
14.7.2015 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
Commenting on Gatwick Airport’s response to the Airports Commission, GACC chairman, Brendon Sewill, said: ‘Gatwick was given a red card and they should stop arguing with the referee.’
GACC will be studying the response carefully but some flaws in Gatwick’s case are immediately apparent.
They cannot deny that a new runway at Gatwick would provide less economic benefit for the nation than one at Heathrow.
They draw attention to the growth in short haul flights to Europe. Many of these are bucket-and-spade holidays which have always been Gatwick’s main forte but which these days many people find more convenient from other airports closer to their homes.
It is rubbish for Gatwick to talk about a ‘monopoly’ at Heathrow when Heathrow will always face tough competition from Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and many European airports.
On noise, Gatwick imply that the noise problem at Gatwick would not be serious. That will infuriate the thousands of people who are at present suffering from new flight paths introduced by Gatwick in the past two years. The Commission showed that, even with a third runway, noise levels at Heathrow would fall below present levels whereas at Gatwick the number of people affected would treble.
Gatwick suggest that passenger numbers on a new runway would grow more rapidly than the Commission forecast. Yet the cost of the runway would mean airport charges rising from £9 to £16-18, which would mean passengers and airlines would switch to Stansted instead.
Gatwick ignore the problems of inwards migration, housing and urbanisation.
Gatwick seems to be counting on political opposition to the Heathrow runway but according to Sewill: ‘They are underestimating the pressure from the majority of MPs in all Parties to get on with implementing the recommendation of the Airports Commission without delay. They are also underestimating the opposition to their plans from all ten MPs in the Gatwick area. No major airline supports a Gatwick runway, and nor does a single county, borough, district or parish council within 20 miles of Gatwick.’
‘It is time for Gatwick to give up flogging their dead runway horse and concentrate instead on being a better neighbour.’
The Commission bases its analysis on future air traffic projections. Gatwick is disadvantaged by their methodology which is flawed. For example, the Commission forecasts that Gatwick will reach passenger volumes of 40m in 2024. The airport will actually reach that number in 2015.
Even with the flawed traffic forecasts, the Commission’s own analysis based on Treasury guidelines shows relatively modest differences in economic benefit between Heathrow and Gatwick (£33.6 – 54.8bn versus £27.2 – 47.1bn). These figures are not highlighted in the Commission’s conclusion which gives the impression of a big differential in favour of Heathrow.
The Commission acknowledges that the vast majority of new traffic over the coming period will be to European markets but recommends a solution that is focused almost entirely on long haul. They also fail to consider sufficiently the part that Gatwick could play in the long haul market.
Expanding Gatwick would enhance competition and build on the success of airport liberalisation. The Commission recommends turning the clock back and effectively re-establishing a monopoly at Heathrow. This would inevitably mean passengers paying higher fares.
The huge differential in noise impact between the two airports is largely glossed over – for example, relatively little emphasis is given to the 320,000 people ‘newly affected’ by Heathrow expansion compared to 18,000 at Gatwick.
The Commission states that air quality is a problem but then largely ignores the fact that the levels at Heathrow today breach legal limits even without a third runway. Gatwick has never exceeded legal air quality limits and would not do so with a second runway.
The Commission downplays the very considerable delivery risks and financial challenges at Heathrow compared to the Gatwick scheme which is relatively straightforward. This means the Commission underplays the biggest risk of all – that after years of delay, once again nothing happens.
Airports Commission ‘glossed over’ noise from Heathrow, claims Gatwick
14.7.2015 (Evening Standard)
By Nicholas Cecil
Gatwick today accused the Airports Commission of “largely glossing over” noise blight from a third runway at Heathrow after it backed the development at the west London airport.
Sir Roy McNulty, Gatwick’s chairman, is writing to David Cameron to voice his concerns about the Commission’s final report. “Our view has always been that the assessments on which the Commission’s conclusions are based must be thorough, balanced, fair and well-evidenced,” he said.
“We believe that the Commission’s report falls short of this standard in a number of very important respects.”
The Sussex airport alleges that:
The “huge differential” in noise impact between the two airports is largely glossed over, arguing that 320,000 people will be newly affected by Heathrow expansion compared with 18,000 at Gatwick.
The Commission largely ignored that Heathrow already breaches legal EU limits on air pollution even without a third runway.
It under-forecast future traffic at an expanded Gatwick.
It downplayed the “very considerable delivery risks and financial challenges” of Heathrow expansion.
It accepted most new traffic over coming decades will be to European markets but recommended a solution almost entirely focused on long-haul.
Gatwick also challenged the panel’s conclusion that the economic benefits of Heathrow expansion would be greater than a second runway at its rival, claiming that the latter option would have enhanced competition.
The Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, decided that another runway could be built at Heathrow even if it did not meet EU limits on air pollution, provided that it did not delay London complying with them.
The panel also believes that fewer people would be affected by noise from a three-runway Heathrow than currently, because of quieter planes.
Gatwick is seeking to persuade the Government to reject the panel’s recommendation and opt for expansion in Sussex. It has so far stopped short of challenging the findings in the courts. The Government has pledged to make a decision on airport expansion in the South-East this year.
Gatwick Airport mulls response to Airports Commission Heathrow runway recommendation
Gatwick is considering its response to the Airports Commission’s recommendation of Heathrow for a runway, and questions some of the methodology used. Gatwick is on record as having “deep concerns” about some of the modelling used by the Commission, and twice wrote to the Commission late last year highlighting these concerns. In October, Gatwick told Commission Secretariat Head Philip Graham it did not receive “a clear explanation of the Commission’s approach” or “a reasoned response” to points raised “repeatedly” with the Commission. Gatwick took issue with the Commission on the DfT air traffic projections, which it believes are inaccurate and biased toward “allocating forecast traffic to Heathrow instead of Gatwick.” They complained that Gatwick is increasing its annual passenger number faster than the Commission predicted, and the traffic predictions feed into many of the Commission’s final conclusions, including the economic benefits generated by Gatwick.” Gatwick complains that the Commission presumes long haul routes will go to Heathrow, while it is possible more will go to Gatwick in future – changing the economics. Gatwick is expected to make a decision shortly over what action it may take. Legal action?