Plans for the £14.8 billion Crossrail line across London originally envisaged – in 2008 – a £230 million contribution from Heathrow, to reflect the benefit it is expected to gain from the link to central London, Maidenhead, and Brentwood. But now it emerges that the taxpayer must cover a £160 million shortfall, which Heathrow will now not pay. Now Heathrow will only pay £70 million. [Heathrow is pushing hard for a 2nd runway – surely if it got that, it would need all the rail passengers from Crossrail that it can get]. The CAA has said that with the airport already running at or near capacity, (it is not at capacity for terminal space, only runway space) Crossrail would deliver no net benefit in terms of additional passengers. After the CAA set aside a provisional pot of £100 million to pay towards Crossrail, the DfT lowered its proposal to £137 million, and now down to £70 million. The National Audit Office said the shortfall means that the DfT’s contribution to the project will rise from £4.8 billion to almost £5 billion; but this remains inside the £5.2 billion set aside in case it failed to secure sufficient funding from private sources. Crossrail is now half built and is due to open by December 2019. It will run from Maidenhead, via Heathrow, out to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.
Taxpayers to cover Heathrow’s £160 million Crossrail shortfall
The taxpayer must cover a £160 million shortfall in private-sector funding for the Crossrail project after the Department for Transport failed to secure the expected contribution from Heathrow, a report revealed today.
Plans for the £14.8 billion rail line envisaged a £230 million contribution from Heathrow, to reflect the benefit it is expected to gain from the link to central London, Maidenhead in Berkshire, and Brentwood in Essex.
But Heathrow’s regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, calculated that with the airport already running at or near capacity, Crossrail would deliver no net benefit in terms of additional passengers. After the CAA set aside a provisional pot of £100 million, the DfT lowered its proposal to £137 million, but this month the regulator decided that Heathrow’s contribution will be just £70 million.
The shortfall means that the DfT’s contribution to the project will rise from £4.8 billion to almost £5 billion, but this remains inside the £5.2 billion set aside in case it failed to secure sufficient funding from private sources, said spending watchdog the National Audit Office.
It found that taxpayers’ interests had been “well protected” in the project, which is “on course to achieve value for money” and to be fully open by its promised 2019 delivery date.
CROSSRAIL has been praised for sticking to its budget and overall schedule by the National Audit Office, despite a smaller-than-expected contribution from the private sector.
With the £14.8bn railway across London now half-built, the spending watchdog said Crossrail was set to provide good value for money.
“The sponsors and Crossrail Limited have so far done well to protect taxpayers’ interests, by taking early action to stop costs escalating and, during construction, tightly managing the programme,” said Amyas Morse, head of the NAO.
The route, co-sponsored by TfL and the Department for Transport, will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east when it is fully open by December 2019.
BAA, now known as Heathrow Limited, had originally pledged to chip in £230m towards construction in 2008, but this month pared back its contribution to £70m as part of negotiations with the Civil Aviation Authority on its five-year spending plan. Canary Wharf and Berkeley Homes are paying some of the construction costs for new stations.
Crossrail is expected to choose a train supplier in the first half of this year, in a contract set to be worth £1bn. The government had hoped to fund most of this deal using private cash, but axed the plan last May amid worries that the funding system could delay delivery of the trains.
“[T]he strategic need for Crossrail has become clearer over time as increased population and employment growth in London have been forecast,” the NAO said.
The funding framework for Crossrail was put in place in October 2007 when the Prime Minister announced that Crossrail’s cost will be met by Government, the Mayor of London and London businesses.
Following the Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2010, a funding envelope of £14.8bn was agreed to deliver the Crossrail scheme in its entirety.
The key elements of the funding package are as follows:
The Mayor of London, through Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London Authority (GLA), will contribute £7.1bn. This includes a direct contribution from Transport for London of £1.9bn and contributions raised through the Crossrail Business Rate Supplement (BRS), section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
Crossrail farepayers will contribute towards the debt raised during construction by TfL.
Government will contribute by means of a grant from the Department for Transport of £4.7 billion during Crossrail’s construction.
London businesses will contribute £4.1bn through a variety of mechanisms, including the BRS.
Over 60% of Crossrail’s funding will come from Londoners and London businesses.
Network Rail will undertake works costing no more than £2.3bn to the existing national rail network raised through projected operating surpluses from the use of Crossrail services.
There are also considerable additional financial contributions from some key beneficiaries of Crossrail:
The construction of Crossrail is part funded by the City of London Corporation, which has agreed to make a direct contribution of £200m and in addition will seek contributions from businesses of £150m, and has guaranteed £50m of these contributions.
BAA has agreed to a £230 million funding package. (BAA now replaced with Heathrow Ltd).
Canary Wharf Group has agreed to contribute £150m towards the costs of the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station at Canary Wharf. Canary Wharf Group will also design and build the new station.
Berkeley Homes has agreed to construct a station box for a station at Woolwich.
The £14.8 billion funding envelope for the project is a fully inclusive cost, allowing for both contingency and expected inflation.
Taxpayers pay £1bn to fund Crossrail rolling stock
1 March 2013 (BBC)
New trains for London’s Crossrail scheme are to be fully funded by the taxpayer so that the £14.8bn project can start on time.
Initial plans for the £1bn Crossrail rolling stock procurement involved £350m public sector contribution.
But now the entire amount will be paid for by the public purse in a move the government said was “an appropriate course of action”.
Labour called the move “another humiliating transport shambles”.
Crossrail will connect 37 stations from Heathrow Airport and Maidenhead in the west, through central London and out to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.
It is due to be completed in 2018.
Transport for London said the arrangement will help to ensure a deal for the new trains will be in place in 2014, with delivery and testing starting in 2017 ready for the opening of the new tunnels to passengers in late 2018.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “Nothing must get in the way of this fabulous new railway and it is fantastic news that we can now crack on with buying the wonderful fleet of brand spanking new trains.”
Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said the Department for Transport remained committed to the use of private finance in transport projects “where it provides value for money and fits with our timetables for planned investment”.
But he added that government believed Crossrail funding decision was “an appropriate course of action to deliver a very complex and unique infrastructure project within the delivery timetable”.
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: “This is yet another humiliating transport shambles.
“Labour has spent two years urging ministers to learn the lessons from the botched Thameslink contract.”
TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: “Taxpayers will be astonished to find that their contribution to Crossrail is to increase by such a huge amount.”
The 100% taxpayer funding arrangement was welcomed by rail unions RMT and TSSA.
RMT leader Bob Crow said: “This is a hugely important development.”
TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said: “We welcome the fact that Tory ministers recognise that it is cheaper and quicker to have publicly-funded new trains.”
A paper has been prepared for GACC by the distinguished naturalist and author Jeremy Early. It shows why Gatwick – and towns downstream – are liable to flood. And that the situation would be made worse by the construction of a new runway and associated infrastructure. Jeremy points out that Gatwick has areas of higher land in its vicinity, which increase the amount of rainfall that has to be drained away. In addition the huge amount of development locally consisting of impermeable surfaces, makes the flooding in several parts of Crawley, other local villages, and at Gatwick Airport understandable. Jeremy points out that Crawley is built on a floodplain and the Environment Agency has said: ‘The decision to site Gatwick Airport across 3 watercourses means that it is vulnerable to flooding from all 3 watercourses as well as local drainage. Run-off from main airfield paving flows by gravity to a storage pond and is then discharged by pumps directly to the River Mole.” They consider the chance of the North Terminal flooding again to be high (about 8% chance). The report considers it misguided to plan to use 900 hectares of greenfield site to create a 2nd runway involving a vast quantity of impermeable surfaces, not to mention associated infrastructure, roads, homes etc.
A paper has been prepared for GACC by the distinguished naturalist and author Jeremy Early. It shows why Gatwick – and towns such as Dorking and Leatherhead which lie downstream – are liable to flood. And that the situation would be made worse by the construction of a new runway and associated infrastructure.
[As Crawley (100,000+ residents) and Horley (20,000+ residents) have developed, the watercourses have been diverted into a total of 75 culverts with an overall length of 5,430
metres.] ‘Once water enters a drainage network, it flows faster than either overland or subsurface flow. With less storage capacity for water in urban basins and more rapid run-off, urban streams rise more quickly during storms and have higher peak discharge rates than do rural streams. In addition, the total volume of water discharged during a flood tends to be larger for urban streams than for rural streams.’
In addition, the Mole has ridges and hills in close proximity and elevated ground always tends to increase the intensity of rainfall through what is known to meteorologists as the ‘seeder-feeder mechanism’. The December  rainfall totals for Dorking and Leatherhead were 210mm and 215mm respectively, whereas the figure for Heathrow Airport, which has little in the way of elevated ground close by, was less than 100mm. Varied elevation explains why, in 24 hours on 23-24 December 2013, Pease Pottage [village] and Reigate had 70mm of rain and Charlwood had a lower total, 58mm. The Pease Pottage figure, combined with the huge amount of development consisting of impermeable surfaces that has occurred locally, makes the flooding in several parts of Crawley (including Bewbush, Ifield, Langley Green, Maidenbower, Three Bridges and Tinsley Green) and at Gatwick Airport including the North Terminal understandable. (Flooding is either pluvial, from surface water, or fluvial, from watercourses; pluvial flooding usually disperses into watercourses, adding to their flows.) One unnamed resident of Tinsley Green, quoted in the local press, said that the flooding in Crawley was worse than in any other area she saw driving to Brighton and back on the morning of 24 December.
Crawley is built on a floodplain and as the Environment Agency points out: “The decision to site Gatwick Airport across three watercourses means that it is vulnerable to flooding from all three watercourses as well as local drainage. Run-off from main airfield paving flows by gravity to a storage pond and is then discharged by pumps directly to the River Mole. As the 1 in 100 chance flood level in the Mole is at the same level as the ground level at the North Terminal, the system is totally dependent on the pumps and on-site storage, with the latter likely to be inadequate at times of prolonged high rainfall due to its modest volume.
“It is estimated that there is currently a 1 in 20 (5%) chance of Main River flooding closing Gatwick Airport, and with 10% increase in flows due to climate change, this increases to a 1 in 12 (8%) chance. The probability of flooding of the North Terminal area due to backing up from local drainage depends on the storm duration and intensity and it is understood that the on-site drainage capacity was designed for a 1 in 5 (20%) probability event.’ The map below (Environment Agency) shows the Flood Zones around Gatwick Airport and Horley. Flood Zone 2 (pale blue) comprises land having between a 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 annual probability of flooding. Flood Zone 3 (mid-blue) comprises land having a 1 in 100 or greater annual probability of flooding. The Flood Zones ‘show the extent of the natural floodplain if there were no flood defences or certain other manmade structures and channel improvements.”
On the admission of a spokeswoman for Gatwick Airport quoted in thisislocallondon.co.uk [see below] on 8 January 2014, an unspecified quantity of water was pumped into the River Mole from at least one flood storage reservoir/ balancing pond at the airport on 24 December 2013. She said: ‘The reservoir will have been opened. The river flooded in a way which was unexpected in terms of the modelling we have conducted with the Environment Agency. The problems we had were because it was unexpected.’ This action – effected under the terms of an Environment Agency permit – did not cause the damaging flooding at Leatherhead and other areas, but it can hardly have helped. Perhaps the permit and its validity require reassessment, since to some observers there may be a suspicion that the rule ‘I’m all right, Jack’ applies with Gatwick Airport. The Environment Agency’s Upper Mole Flood Alleviation Scheme (UMFAS) was estimated to cost £15 million, of which the British taxpayer would contribute £11 million, GAL £4 million and Crawley Borough Council £100,000. The fairness of this division could make for an intriguing discussion. Be that as it may, the Scheme involved raising Tilgate Dam and river restoration and environmental mitigation works in Grattons Park (both already effected); creating a flood detention reservoir at Worth Farm (expected to be operational early in 2014); replacing the existing dam at Clay’s Lake with a new and higher dam (scheduled for summer 2014); and installing a flood detention reservoir at Ifield. The last-named has been put on hold, seemingly because of major cutbacks in funding for the Environment Agency by the Department for Environment.
Gatwick Airport has spent £20 million on a flood resilience scheme for the South Terminal and is spending £8 million on an additional on-site flood resilience scheme. Despite the substantial expenditure, on 16 October 2013 the South Terminal experienced flooding in an electrical substation, forcing a switch of passengers to the North Terminal. Even assuming that these works and those included in UMFAS are all completed within two or three years, can either the Environment Agency or GAL guarantee that, given an extreme weather event, there will be no flooding in Crawley, Horley or at Gatwick Airport? That alleviation in the upper reaches of the Mole will automatically be beneficial for all those who live close to the river downstream? This is to be doubted if, say, 50mm or more of precipitation were to fall rapidly on saturated ground, as it may well in the short-term let alone the long-term given the local topography and recent rainfall records. On 17 January 2014, after 36.8mm of rain fell in 24 hours at Charlwood, six flood warnings were issued for the River Mole and its tributaries, including at Gatwick Airport.
Given that it was constructed on a floodplain with a number of watercourses running through the site, the fact that Gatwick Airport is located where it is must be seen as somewhat eccentric. So how eccentric, not to say misguided, would it to be to use 900 hectares of greenfield site to create a second runway involving a vast quantity of impermeable surfaces? To build the associated infrastructure, led by tens of thousands of new homes and numerous roads, in an area vulnerable to flooding? Even with the consistent use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), which in the most effective examples can involve significant land take, making them unpopular with developers, could there ever be certainty that the local watercourses would not sometimes behave ‘in a way which was unexpected in terms of the modelling’? Could there ever be certainty that there would not be a significant cost on occasions to homeowners living close to the Mole and its tributaries, to the environment and to wildlife? No guarantees made on this particular subject would be likely to convince an observer possessing the capacity to make reasoned judgements based on evidence.
Mole Valley District Council is offering to help some residents affected by the recent floods
Mole Valley District Council is offering council tax support to certain residents who have had to vacate their homes due to the recent floods.
The authority has announced it will provide financial support through a discretionary hardship provision fund for some residents whose household insurance does not cover flooding.
The council will consider granting a discount equivalent to its element of the council tax bill, approximately 10 per cent, for the period the property is empty.
The deal is subject to remedial works taking place to make it habitable again up to a maximum of twelve months.
Council leader Chris Townsend said: “Mole Valley District Council is sympathetic to the circumstances that those residents affected by the floods are experiencing.
“We are committed to doing as much as we can to support our communities through what has been a challenging period for the district.”
Flooded properties in Mole Valley that are substantially emptied of furniture are usually given a council tax holiday of 28 days.
If the property remains furnished but the resident moves to alternative accommodation, they are still liable to pay council tax at the full amount – and could potentially be liable for council tax at both addresses.
Coun Townsend said: “This is where insurance companies should step in, but if not, MVDC can help.”
Each case will be considered on its own merits.
For more information, call Mole Valley District Council’s revenue section on 01306 879293.
ie. taxpayer subsidy if it turns out that Gatwick airport releasing water did not help the flooding situation for people downstream. The details of what actually happened are still being ascertained.
Local Surrey Guardian newspaper asks: “Was Leatherhead sacrificed in the floods to save Gatwick?”
January 17, 2014
After exceptionally heavy rain and wind on 23rd December, Gatwick airport had serious problems with unexpected flooding, with many flights cancelled or delayed. It is still unclear to what extent actions taken at the airport to divert water from its holding ponds and prevent the airport from flooding meant more water surged down the River Mole, making flooding worse downstream in areas such as Dorking, Leatherhead and Cobham. It is understood that investigations are under way, and councillors for Leatherhead are seeking clarifications from the airport. The local press reported that an Environment Agency spokesman had said that Gatwick airport are constructing a further water storage reservoir directly on the Gatwick stream. The Gatwick Stream, where river levels rose rapidly, meets the River Mole south of Horley. Flooded residents feared that the contents of Gatwick airport’s balancing ponds may have been dumped into the River Mole and sluice gates further down were not opened in time. Click here to view full story…
Passengers stranded at Gatwick Airport as flooding causes power outages
by SIMON CALDER (Independent)
Tuesday 24 December 2013
Thousands of people remain stranded at Gatwick airport after a power outage caused by flooding has closed the airport’s north terminal.
A statement from Gatwick airport read: “Gatwick has 250 departing flights in total today. Out of 133 departing flights from North Terminal, 15 have been cancelled while 58 have departed. South Terminal is operating as normal.
“The cause of the power outages – flooding from the River Mole into airfield substations and North Terminal – is related to the heavy rain overnight and fixes for the issues are being progressed as quickly as possible.
“Gatwick would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to some passengers today and we are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum.”
The main airline at Gatwick, easyJet, had cancelled a total of 54 flights by 2pm. It was offering any passengers due to depart from Gatwick the chance to re-book to another date free of charge.
The airline has reserved 450 rooms in hotels around the airport, and will secure more if needed. Six flights will now depart tomorrow.
British Airways has cancelled 22 flights in and out of Gatwick, to destinations including Rome, Venice and Naples. Three round-trips to Edinburgh have also been cancelled.
From 1pm today, all the airport’s departing flights will now be leaving from the south terminal.
A BA spokesman said: “We are experiencing long flight delays at Gatwick. Gatwick Airport is investigating the fault and trying to restore power as soon as possible. We are sorry for the delays and our customer service teams are doing all they can to help customers. We strongly urge customers to check their flight details on ba.com before leaving for the airport.”
Ryanair uses the South Terminal, but decided to delay its services by an hour to Cork, Shannon and Dublin by an hour “To ensure all those affected by rail delays at Gatwick get home”.
The airport’s IT systems were also affected. One passenger, “Nievey C”, tweeted: “Jesus Christ @Gatwick_Airport if your computers aren’t working & there’s no source of visible info, at least make your announcements audible.”
Birmingham Airport managed to handle 9,119,709 passengers in 2013, which was the highest since 2008 and up + 2.3% compared to 2012. The 2013 number is still around 4.7% lower than the 2008 peak, but has been growing slowly since 2010. Most passengers continue to be on leisure trips, including long haul leisure, for example to Barbados and Gambia (those “seeking some winter sun over the Christmas break”). The airport hopes its runway extension will open during 2014, enabling flights by larger planes to long haul destinations. More passengers travel out from the area, on holiday trips, than travel in though the airport wants to attract more visitors from South-east Asia. Birmingham City Council, with 6 other West Midlands local authorities, owns 49% of the airport and has been handed a £13 million dividend after the airport had a “successful” year and reappraised its finances after the imminent completion of the runway extension. This will help fund the £5 million budget black hole in Birmingham’s 39 leisure centres and swimming pools. Birmingham and the other councils had earlier agreed to sacrifice dividend payments to help fund the £33 million runway scheme, and are now set to be rewarded for their generosity.
21.Jan 2014 (The Chamberlain Files – news about the Birmingham area)
Birmingham Labour councillors are in the almost unheard of position of discussing which public spending cuts to restore following a series of surprise upturns in the city council’s finances.
A controversial £125 million savings plan for 2014-15 looks like being scaled back to about £75 million after last minute changes to budget projections, including a £13 million windfall share dividend for the council from Birmingham Airport.
Council leader Sir Albert Bore told a Labour group meeting he discovered “a few weeks ago” that the local authority would be receiving £13 million from its airport shareholdings.
The payment reflects a reappraisal of the airport’s finances following completion of the runway extension, which is imminent.
Birmingham and the six other West Midlands councils, which own almost half of the airport shares, agreed to sacrifice dividend payments to help fund the £33 million runway scheme, and are now set to be rewarded for their generosity.
The £13 million payment was described as a “windfall” by deputy council leader Ian Ward at a cabinet meeting. Just under half of the sum will be given to the city’s 10 district committees to stave off possible sports centre and library closures, and the remainder will be used to offset other cuts.
Chamberlain Files understands Sir Albert was quizzed by Labour councillors and asked to explain when he first knew about the £13 million dividend payment, since the figure did not feature in an extensive public consultation exercise about a £125 million council cuts package.
The possibility of a cash windfall from the airport was not raised by the council at any of the public meetings staged during the consultation period.
Details of the airport dividend are in the monthly revenue budget monitoring report dealing with the council’s finances up until the end of November 2013. But the first official confirmation of the surprise windfall did not come until the report was tabled seven weeks later at the January 20 cabinet meeting.
A council spokeswoman said: “The city council’s month eight monitoring report represents the earliest opportunity to report the income following the Airport Company’s approval to the additional dividend.”
Any debate about when the council first knew it would receive a cash lifeline from the airport may appear pedantic, but the absence of the figure could be used by anti-cuts protesters seeking to prove through a judicial review that the 2014-15 budget and consultation is flawed.
When he launched the consultation Sir Albert announced that the cuts package would not be as great in 2014-15 as originally feared, although he still expects to have to save almost £300 million in 2015-16 and to close down completely some non-statutory services.
Other changes to the 2014-15 budget include an assumption that interest rate do not rise and that there are no wage awards for council staff. Lower inflation and a better government grant settlement than originally envisaged helped bring the £125 million forecast down to £88 million.
But the actual savings figure should fall to £75 million following receipt of the airport share dividend.
The slimmed down cuts package represents the first reversal for Sir Albert’s Jaws of Doom graph, depicting the amount the council has to save between 2010-11 and 2017-18. The projected amount is £839 million according to the budget consultation booklet, but that figure will have fallen by at least £13 million thanks to the airport cash.
The arrival of the dividend could be used by Sir Albert to caution against selling the city’s ‘crown jewel’ assets such as the airport shareholding and the NEC Group. A final decision on major asset sales is likely to rest on whether a one-off lump sum payment to the council is preferable to smaller but regular dividend payments.
Passenger Numbers Continue to Climb at Birmingham Airport
17 January 2014 (Birmingham Airport press release)
Birmingham Airport is celebrating yet another major milestone, as passenger numbers for the 2013 calendar year reach over nine million for the first time since 2009.
Latest figures reveal 9,119,709 passengers chose to fly through Birmingham Airport in 2013, a 2.3% increase compared to 2012.
The nine million milestone was achieved after the Airport enjoyed a busy December, which saw 574,854 passengers pass through the terminal, representing an 8% increase compared to the same period last year. December also saw the largest monthly percentage increase in 2013.
The biggest growth sector in December was non-EU charter services (+12%) to destinations including Barbados and Gambia, fuelled largely by passengers seeking some winter sun over the Christmas break and opting to travel from Birmingham Airport.
Paul Kehoe, the Airport’s CEO, said: “2013 has been a fantastic year for us in many ways. In terms of passenger numbers, we’ve seen consecutive growth in the past eight months, which has led to our best yearly performance since 2009.
“Helped by a strong December, over nine million people have decided to take advantage of the Airport’s world-class facilities and its growing network of flights throughout the past 12 months.
“We are now looking to build on this success in 2014, which will see the opening of our longer runway and with it, the capability to serve more long haul destinations than ever before.”
Scheduled routes that experienced particular growth in December included Stuttgart (+89.2%), Milan (+81.7%), Chambery (+74.7%), Funchal (+65.4%), Istanbul (+45%) and Belfast (+40.2%).
Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham, added: “The Airport’s strong 2013 performance is testament to the ongoing activity to promote the Greater Birmingham and Black Country region as a popular visitor destination.
“Over the past 12 months we have undertaken marketing campaigns with our tourism partners at VisitEngland and VisitBritain to strengthen links with countries including Germany and Italy. The significant recent growth in passengers from Stuttgart and Milan indicates that our work to grow the region’s profile and reputation is bearing fruit.
“The prospect of more of the international business community being able to fly to and from Birmingham in future months thanks to the Airport’s runway extension, coupled with our current work with European funding partners to attract more visitors from Southeast Asia, shows that 2014 could prove to be even more successful.”
Charter services seeing an increase in passengers included Barbados (+70.2%), Gambia (+21.4%), Austria (+8.9%), Finland (+5.6%) and Spain (+5.3%).
Scheduled services seeing an increase accounted for 87.9% of all traffic, whilst charter made up the remaining 12.1% of passengers flying from Birmingham Airport during the month of December.
The top scheduled destinations in 2013 were Dublin, Dubai and Amsterdam, and the most popular charter destinations were Dalaman, Palma and Tenerife.
Birmingham Airport windfall digs council out of £5m hole
Funds derived from Birmingham City Council’s shareholding in Birmingham Airport have come to the rescue of its ailing leisure offer
A major £5 million budget black hole in Birmingham’s 39 leisure centres and swimming pools has been filled after the city council scooped a windfall from its shares in Birmingham Airport.
The council, along with the six other West Midlands local authorities, owns 49% of the airport and has been handed a £13 million dividend after a particularly successful year for the Airport, including the construction of the runway extension.
Now Labour bosses have decided to use £5.2m from the windfall to plug the deficit in leisure services and save the rest for any budget problems which develop during the 2014/15 financial year.
The council has agreed an overhaul of sport and leisure which will see some centres closed, six new ones built and outside operators brought in.
The funding will see the leisure service maintained until the new strategy is implemented and facilities built.
In a long article covering a number of issues about Gatwick airport and its short-listed runway proposal, the local paper – the Argos – puts some of the points in favour of, and against, the runway. Those in favour of the airport are trying to play down the number of new houses that would be needed in the area, saying the estimate of 40,000 is too high. They claim there will not be as large a noise problem as there would be at Heathrow, and that there would be huge economic benefits. Opponents of the new runway, led by GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) say that expanding Gatwick would be bad news for everyone within a 20-mile radius of the airport, and would affect around 18,000 homes. “… a new runway is not just a strip of concrete but would mean twice as many aircraft in the sky, twice the pollution, twice the climate change damage, twice the noise, and new flight paths over peaceful areas.” In making Gatwick larger than Heathrow is today, it would lead to the urbanisation of much of Sussex. A new runway would mean more people coming to live in Sussex, more new companies, existing firms expanding … but “for most ordinary people living in the area at present there would be no economic benefit, just longer queues at road junctions, longer queues at the doctors and at the hospitals, larger classes for their children, more noise, and fewer green fields.”
Special report: The case for Gatwick’s second runway
Special report: The case for Gatwick’s second runway
With the final recommendations on airport expansion due next year, Gatwick and Heathrow have intensified lobbying for new runways.
Gatwick’s slick campaign has been effective in winning over councils and businesses with the promise of economic growth for the area. [Gatwick airport has a budget of around £10 million for their publicity campaign, some of which is spent lobbying councils]
But opposition to proposals is fierce due to fears that a new runway would lead to the urbanisation of Sussex and thousands of new homes.
The massive economic benefits that would be reaped by Sussex make up the well-rehearsed argument for Gatwick’s expansion. [Put out by Gatwick airport, backers Gatwick Diamond etc].
The Sussex airport says it offers the quickest, easiest and cheapest option, and would solve the UK’s air travel problem for a generation.
The plans would cost between £5 and £9 billion – a fraction of the cost of expansion at Heathrow – and would be privately financed and require a lesser public subsidy.[The KPMG report for the Airports Commission sees great problems in the airport funding the runway, as the low cost airlines that use Gatwick do not want to pay more. Much of the cost would, in reality, have to be paid by the UK taxpayer. KPMG report ].
Meanwhile the impact on noise and air quality would be much smaller than Heathrow, directors say.
Alastair McDermid, Airports Commission Director for Gatwick Airport, is in charge of making its case to the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, which will make its recommendations to Government in 2015.
He argued Gatwick had the support of businesses and councils and would have a significantly lower environmental impact.
Mr McDermid said: “We do not believe Heathrow will ever be expanded because of the massive environmental impact it would have, which makes it politically toxic as an option.
“Gatwick has support in principle from its closest local councils, [West Sussex rushed through a meeting in July 2013 to get backing from many councillors] is a significantly less complex project from a construction point of view and would have far less noise impact that a new runway at Heathrow.”
He said the airport will work hard to mitigate any environmental impact and compensate those affected by construction.
But he balked at suggestions it would require a town of some 40,000 new homes. [Where does he expect all the construction workers for the airport to live during construction? If the airport is indeed going to provide such huge economic growth, as is claimed, where will all these workers live? Where will the construction workers for these houses live? It is already hard to house everyone who wants to live in the area no. The article says below that 19,000 new jobs are expected].
He added: “Predictions of 40,000 are completely out of proportion compared to any previous experience of airport expansion and is scaremongering.
“Clearly there will be some – much smaller – need for additional housing in the area but this need won’t arise for another 10-12 years and will be spread over the following 20-30 years.
“There is no prospect of a second runway at Gatwick giving rise to a new settlement as has been suggested by anti-airport campaigners.” [If there is no new settlement, it means that houses will have to be added to every town or village for miles around. There would also be huge implications for roads, for rail travel, and for all other local infrastructure if all these people have to be fitted in somehow, without a specific new settlement].
Business is one of the biggest cheerleaders of expansion.
Gatwick Diamond Business, which represents 350 businesses in the area, says it has around 90 per cent support for the proposals among its members.
Jeremy Taylor, chief executive, said: “Gatwick is the best solution because it’s cheaper, quicker and the least disruptive – if managed in a way that benefits not just the airport and airlines but also communities around Sussex.
“Infrastructure improvements are achievable. The M23, A23 and Brighton Mainline are already being developed.
“Growing Gatwick will trigger better transport investment and employment – particularly in parts of the county that experience unemployment of 20 per cent.” [ie. workers will need to be brought in from other parts of the country; or from European countries; they will need homes].
Mr Taylor said political expediency had hampered the capacity debate for years. He said: “What we need now is strength from politicians to move this forward.
“Whoever is in power, the MPs of the three main areas will probably oppose it, but it’s what’s best for the national interest.
“The main economic benefits will be direct employment and figures released last year show we can expect 19,000 new jobs.
“The fear is if we don’t have a runway the infrastructure investment will be spent elsewhere.”
But he accepted questions remained over homes.
He added: “Where people are going to live is a key question that remains unanswered.
“But when we hear figures of 40,000 new homes, that is wrong, disingenuous and provocative. [He is saying 19,000 – above].
Urbanisation of Sussex
Campaigners are calling on Gatwick bosses to hold a fresh consultation once flight paths have been proposed.
Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, (GACC) said thousands would find themselves under the new paths if the airport got the all clear for a new runway.
He said: “Some people may benefit from the changes but thousands are going to find themselves under a new flight path, with their peace shattered and their house devalued.
“But they will be told that they cannot complain because they have already been consulted.”
The current consultation, which ends at midnight tonight (WEDS), is asking residents where they would like and dislike having new flight paths.
The conservation group is arguing that expanding Gatwick would be bad news for everyone within a 20-mile radius of the airport, and would affect around 18,000 homes.
Mr Sewill added: “We have repeatedly warned that a new runway is not just a strip of concrete but would mean twice as many aircraft in the sky, twice the pollution, twice the climate change damage, twice the noise, and new flight paths over peaceful areas.
“But the issue which is emerging is that making Gatwick larger than Heathrow would lead to the urbanisation of much of Sussex.”
Around 8,000 extra homes would be needed over the next 20 years, according to a West Sussex County Council and Gatwick Diamond-commissioned report.
West Sussex County Council has been lured by economic benefits and made a “rushed, undemocratic” decision to support expansion, Mr Sewill said.
Mr Sewill, a Gatwick expert, former civil servant, and opposition campaigner, added: “A new runway would mean more people coming to live in Sussex, more new companies, existing firms expanding, higher total income, and higher council tax receipts.
“But for most ordinary people living in the area at present there would be no economic benefit, just longer queues at road junctions, longer queues at the doctors and at the hospitals, larger classes for their children, more noise, and fewer green fields.
“A vote for a new runway is a vote for a worse quality of life for local residents.”
A spokesman for Gatwick said there were no “lines on maps” at present to show residents.
He added: “The result of this consultation will enable us to draw up the new flight paths.
“The problem is, if you consult by using lines on maps all those near the proposed path complain and those who are not under one stay quiet.
“This is the best way of doing it.” [ie. People who will be badly affected are not to be given an opportunity to complain. Their complaints would be inconvenient].
The Gatwick spokesman ruled out any further consultation on the flight paths.
Strong sentiments against expanding Gatwick are agreed by a councillor and long-term resident of Langley Green – which is less than a mile from the airport.
Councillor Brenda Smith, the leader of the Labour group at West Sussex County Council, said: “My parents moved to Sussex because it was a cleaner, greener area than London. A new runway will kill all that.
“There isn’t enough infrastructure. The neighbourhood roads cannot possibly support more traffic.
“It’s barmy. A second runway is simply not a viable option.
“I hear all the arguments about economic benefits but we don’t have the hospital capacity to support 20,000 extra people, it’s crazy.
Coun Smith said the airport is already in “a very confined, densely populated area.”
“It’s not limitless space,” she added.
“The owners are looking for a nice fat profit to sell it on. It’s not a philanthropic drive to help the people of the area, it’s for shareholders.
“I don’t think people get it. They just see jobs, which is understandable, but where will we house all these people? We’re struggling to build enough homes as it is. If anyone thinks I’ve got a personal interest in this they’re wrong – I will probably be dead and buried before it gets built.
“I want to protect the town that’s given me a great life.”
The runway debate hinges on whether it is agreed that the South East needs more capacity.
Sir Howard Davies, leading the aviation commission, believes it does – but not before 2030.
His interim report puts Gatwick and Heathrow as frontrunners for expansion, with the possibility of further capacity being needed after 2040.
The issue is a political hot potato for MPs, who will need to weigh up local and national interests.
Several of Sussex’s mostly Conservative MPs have come up against the plan.
Crawley MP Henry Smith – the constituency most affected – has opted to delay making a decision until he has more information.
The final decision has been delayed until after the general election in 2015, with many believing only a strong majority Government will have the mandate to push through such a controversial project.
A legal agreement blocking expansion at Gatwick expires in 2019 but the airport could seek planning permission before then in preparation for an expanded airport by 2025.
Politically, Gatwick is seen as having the least effect environmentally in the event of a new runway- though that won’t make it any easier for constituency MPs to support the plans.
Option 1: ‘Dependent Segregated Mode’
*Close-spaced runways with a separation of less than 760m *Too close to operate independently with operations on one runway temporarily interrupting operations on the other.
*One runway would be used for aircraft arrivals and one for departures.
*Would support around 67 to 70 flights per hour – an overall capacity of some 60-66 million passengers per year by 2050.
Option 2: ‘Independent Segregated Mode’
*Runways positioned 760m or more apart, operated independently.
*Arrivals on one runway would not affect departures on the other.
*Capacity would increase to around 75 flights – 75-82 million passengers per year by 2050.
Option 3*** : ‘Independent Mixed Mode’ (the model short-listed by the Airports Commission)
*Runways at least 1,035m apart *Each runway would accommodate both arriving and departing aircraft to maximise flexibility and capacity.
*Capacity would amount to between 95 and 100 flights per hour or more – 80-87 million passengers per year by 2050.
Spelthorne Council Leader admits Heathrow expansion is ‘not an easy issue’ while continuing support
Council decides to maintain its pro-expansion stance at a meeting to discuss preferred options on the future of aviation
Support for the expansion of Heathrow Airport has been reaffirmed by Spelthorne Borough Council.
The decision to maintain its stance, held since 2008, when the authority withdrew from the 2M group of councils including Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon who opposed expansion at the west London airport, was made at an extraordinary council meeting on January 16.
These options included plans published by Heathrow Hub, which called for the demolition of towns to the west of the airport to make way for an extended northern runway and the airport’s own plan of demolishing medieval villages to the north to build a third runway.
Council leader Robert Watts said: “Expanding airports is challenging. We need to work closely with the appropriate parties to secure, not only the required improvements that will continue Heathrow’s status as a major international airport, but also to ensure environmental and transport issues are properly resolved and, above all, protect our residents’ interests.
“This is not an easy issue.”
Since leaving 2M the borough council has supported airport expansion in principle and during the meeting reaffirmed its support for a further runway to the north west of Heathrow, saying it would ‘best meet local and national economic interests’.
It believes the destruction of villages to the north of Heathrow would secure ‘the best outcome for residents’.
Airport capacity has been an issue for successive governments with previous plans to expand Heathrow failing after the last general election.
Since then Chancellor George Osborne has set up the Airports Commission which published two options for Heathrow, both of which are to the north west of the airport, and one at Gatwick. A final report is to be presented to the government no later than summer 2015.
Cllr Watts added: “We will continue to work with Heathrow to achieve this very difficult balance.”
MP Kwasi Kwarteng’s Heathrow report suggests Stanwell runway – in his own constituency
The lives of thousands of residents’ would be blighted if the Spelthorne MP’s plan to demolish parts of Stanwell to build a 4th runway at Heathrow go ahead, say those living under the threat of airport expansion. The report, co-written by MP Kwasi Kwarteng, advocates two more runways for Heathrow Airport, one on the traditional site of Sipson, to the north, and the other in his own constituency to the south. This has led to opponents labelling the proposals “political suicide”. Geraldine Nicholson is chairman of the No Third Runway Action Group explained that residents in Spelthorne could expect blighted lives, broken down communities and death to the soul of their towns, if the plans were taken seriously. Like Sipson, which has suffered from years of blight, and dismantling of the community, from threats of a 3rd runway. It is astonishing for an MP to want to ruin a large part of his own constituency..http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1998
In an interview on 27.9.2013 Kwarteng:
Initially a supporter of Heathrow expansion, which would closely affect his constituency, he’s now critical: “What I’m annoyed at is the fact they [Heathrow airport] keep changing their options; we can’t have endless different communities in Heathrow being blighted by the shadow of expansion. If we’re going to expand it, let’s just have a plan and go for it.
“But there has been a lot of delay on it, and actually frankly at the moment I don’t think Heathrow expansion is going to happen, that’s what I think… If I were a betting man, I’m not sure what I would bet on – I think that window has probably been shut now. But that’s just a private view.” ”
Spelthorne Council’s reaction to Heathrow expansion proposals
Spelthorne Council acknowledges the three proposals for a third runway which were put forward by Heathrow on Wednesday 17 July and is studying the proposals carefully before giving an informed view.
Whilst the Council continues to recognise the substantial economic benefits provided by Heathrow Airport, it also recognises the significant uncertainty and worry this will cause residents, particularly those living in Stanwell Moor.
The Council will work closely with Heathrow in the coming months to gain a full understanding of the potential implications of each of the three options and in particular, the South West (Stanwell Moor) option.
A briefing will also take place in due course to enable the Borough councillors to consider the implications of the proposals before coming to a longer term view on Heathrow.
The Council very much hopes the debate regarding the appropriateness of Stanwell Moor for expansion does not go on indefinitely as this could potentially blight the lives of our residents in Stanwell Moor. [The council appears indifferent to the same blight happening to people in Harmondsworth and Sipson. NIMBY ]
The Airports Commission is due to deliver an interim report in December 2013 which will set out the options to be taken forward for further consideration. It is then expected that the Government will make a final decision in summer 2015.
Roberto Tambini, Chief Executive Spelthorne Borough Council
The CAA has published its provisional airport figures for 2013, but not all have yet been submitted so the final totals are only approximate. NATS said there had been 0.4% more flights in 2013 than there were in 2012. The number of air passengers is around 3% higher than in 2012. At Heathrow passengers were up + 3.4%. At Gatwick passengers were up by + 3.5%. At Manchester they were up + 5.2%; up +2.2% at Stansted (first increase for 5 years); up + 6.3% at Edinburgh; up + 0.8% at Luton; up + 2.3% at Birmingham; up + 2.9% at Glasgow; up + 3.5% at Bristol; up + 1.4% at Newcastle; up + 6.4% at East Midlands; up + 3.4% at Aberdeen; up + 11.6% at Leeds Bradford; up + 13.2% at Belfast City airport; and up + 57.2% at Southend. Almost all airports grew, even most of the small ones. But there were a few declines in the number of passengers. Passengers decreased by – 6.1% at Liverpool; by – 6.7% at Belfast International; and by – 4.5% at Bournemouth. The number of flights grew much less than the number of passengers, as some larger planes were used, and airlines got higher load factors. The number of Air Transport Movements at Heathrow was down – 0.4% compared to 2012; at Gatwick it rose by + 1.6%. ATMs were up + 0.4% at Manchester; up + 0.6% at Stansted; up + 1.1% at Edinburgh; and up + 0.4% at Glasgow.
The number of flights handled by UK air traffic management company NATS rose by 0.4% year-on-year to 2,153,995 in 2013.
Sir Howard Davies has criticised Boris for his use of “colourful language” and accused him of failing to “illuminate” the debate on airport expansion following the publication of the Airports Commission’s interim findings on 17th December. Boris is fiercely opposed to the possibility of increasing capacity at Heathrow and branded the Airports Commission report, which short-listed the option, as “gloopy and tangled”, “perplexing” and “biased”. Sir Howard dismissed Boris’, insisting the criticisms were at odds with transport experts, and said he would “press on with the job”. Asked about the comments at the Transport Select Committee, the commission chairman replied: “He would say that wouldn’t he?…. Unfortunately, as far as the Mayor is concerned we don’t seem to have produced the answer he wants us to produce. We will proceed with our analysis in the way we have been asked to do. “The Mayor has a particular view about hub capacity and a particular view about Heathrow and that’s where he starts and that’s where he ends. “Anything that is at variance with that is dismissed. Personally I don’t think it is at all helpful that he uses this rather colourful language but I guess that is a matter of style.” Sir Howard said: “So, I will attempt to rise above this vulgar abuse and press on with the job.”
Boris Johnson Accused Of ‘Vulgar Abuse’ Over Heathrow Expansion
The Huffington Post UK/PA
Boris Johnson doled out “vulgar abuse” in the row over a third runway at Heathrow airport, the boss of a government-appointed commission has said.
Sir Howard Davies criticised the top Tory for his use of “colourful language” and accused him of failing to “illuminate” the debate on airport expansion following the publication of interim findings last month.
Boris Johnson recently called Heathrow expansion ‘completely crackers’
Mr Johnson is fiercely opposed to the possibility of increasing capacity at Heathrow and branded the Airports Commission report, which short-listed the option, as “gloopy and tangled”, “perplexing” and “biased”.
But Sir Howard dismissed the Mayor of London’s criticism of the report, insisting they were at odds with transport experts, and vowed to “press on with the job”.
Asked about the comments at the Transport Select Committee, the commission chairman replied: “He would say that wouldn’t he?
“I completely dismiss what the Mayor has said about our report. It’s completely at variance with what everyone else has said – transport correspondents, the airports themselves, other economists.
“Unfortunately, as far as the Mayor is concerned we don’t seem to have produced the answer he wants us to produce. We will proceed with our analysis in the way we have been asked to do.
“The Mayor has a particular view about hub capacity and a particular view about Heathrow and that’s where he starts and that’s where he ends.
“Anything that is at variance with that is dismissed. Personally I don’t think it is at all helpful that he uses this rather colourful language but I guess that is a matter of style.
“But I don’t think it particularly illuminates the debate to do so.
Sir Howard Davies speaks to the Commons committee
“But we will not react, we will simply press on because I think there are some important issues to resolve about the future of demand for aviation in this country, about the environmental consequences, about the cost consequences of different solutions. Among those is an estuary option on which we are doing further work.
“So, I will attempt to rise above this vulgar abuse and press on with the job.”
Sir Howard said he thought they had had a good relationship before the publication of the interim report but added: “You are only as good as your last game”.
The commission put forward suggestions for boosting UK air capacity by building a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick.
Both plans would result in hundreds of houses being destroyed, and cherished buildings being razed.
Sir Howard’s team also kept the door open for a Thames Estuary airport scheme, favoured by Mr Johnson, with the commission saying it would look further at the Isle of Grain option in the first half of next year.
But the commission has not shortlisted proposals for expansion at either Stansted in Essex or Birmingham.
Ahead of the committee hearing, Transport for London (TfL) published a critical response to the report, claiming it placed too much weight on “accommodating short-term commercial interests”.
It said neither option recommended in the Airports Commission report would address the need for a long-term solution.
“The interim report and the recently published appraisal criteria places more weight on accommodating short-term commercial interests than a strategic vision for aviation which is able to secure the UK’s long-term economic prosperity,” the response said.
“The commission identify a significant capacity gap in 2050, but do not address this. They focus instead on runway capacity options to 2030.
“This does not provide the UK with a long-term plan. Their approach also places inadequate weight on public health and quality of life, including air-quality impacts, which are not considered in any detail.”
Daniel Moylan, the Mayor’s chief aviation advisor, said: “The Mayor, as the person directly responsible for London’s strategic development, has a legal responsibility for a range of matters closely related to airports and their effects. It’s therefore disappointing that Sir Howard has ‘completely dismissed’ a detailed and professional critique of his Interim Report published by the Mayor’s aviation team only this morning.
“We would hope he will look again at our concerns, concerns that are motivated by the desire to solve our aviation capacity crisis for the long term good of the UK, and we are pleased tonight that Sir Howard has now proposed that he and the Mayor meet in the next few weeks to discuss next steps.”
A legal challenge to the decision to allow expansion at Lydd in Kent is being heard on 21st and 22nd January, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. A public inquiry was held into the applications by Lydd Airport in 2011 at which the RSPB raised concerns about the impact an expansion would have on the nearby protected wildlife area of Dungeness. The inspector found in favour of the airport’s proposals – and his report was subsequently endorsed by the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government and for Transport. After careful consideration the RSPB issued a legal challenge to the final decision based on the inspector’s report. The RSPB believes the stakes are too high to risk the future of one of the UK’s best and most important places for nature without testing the basis for this decision which they consider to be flawed. Dungeness is one of the most important wildlife sites in the world and it is protected at global, European and UK levels. It is home to many threatened species and is also a crossroads for migrating birds stopping off on migration. The Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) have a separate appeal which will be heard after that of the RSPB. They have concerns about the airport’s proximity to the nuclear power station. LAAG did not want to disclose further details of its case until the court hearing.
RSPB legal challenge to Lydd Airport decision on 21st and 22nd January (LAAG’s on 23rd and 24th)
Last modified: 20 January 2014
Venue: Royal Courts of Justice
Date: Tuesday January 21st and Wednesday January 22nd, 2013
A legal challenge to the decision to allow an airport expansion at Lydd in Kent is set to be heard this week.
A public inquiry was held into the applications by Lydd Airport in 2011 at which the RSPB raised concerns about the impact an expansion would have on the nearby protected wildlife area of Dungeness. The inspector found in favour of the airport’s proposals – and his report was subsequently endorsed by the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government and for Transport.
After careful consideration the RSPB issued a legal challenge to the final decision based on the inspector’s report. We believe the stakes are too high to risk the future of one of our best and most important places for nature without testing the basis for this decision which we consider to be flawed. This will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday January 21st and Wednesday January 22nd.
Dungeness is one of the most important wildlife sites in the world and it is protected at global, European and UK levels. It is home to many threatened species and is also a crossroads for migrating birds stopping off on migration.
The RSPB has been protecting birds and the wildlife of Dungeness for over a century. The area includes the RSPB Dungeness Reserve and also a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.
Lydd Airport’s expansion could be scuppered by two attempts through the High Court to stop it.
Hearings triggered by Lydd Airport Action Group and the RSPB take place next week – and if judges find in their favour, it could lead to another public inquiry.
The RSPB’s appeal will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London next Tuesday and Wednesday and LAAG’s will be heard as a separate case on the following two days.
Chris Sproul of the RSPB demonstrating against the airport outside the Civic Centre in Folkestone
Their case will be over the legal process rather than the merits of the scheme.
An RSPB spokesman said: “Our hearing will be on legal grounds, whether due process was followed in the public inquiry.
“If the court finds in our favour it could mean another public inquiry. If that means time and money, so be it, because we never believed this development was right in the first place.
“We did not feel that the environmental issues were taken fully into consideration.”
LAAG co-ordinator Louise Barton said: “Our issue was different to the RSPB’s as it was on nuclear safety. But this hearing is not looking at the merits of the case for or against expansion but the decision that was reached.
“We want the High Court to quash the decision as null and void.
“If it does lead to another public inquiry it would be on a smaller scale than the last one as there would be a more limited subject range.
“It would just be a question of another inspector reviewing the evidence.”
LAAG did not want to disclose further details of its case until the court hearing.
Lydd Airport won planning permission for the £25 million development last April 10 from both Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
It was for two applications – one to build a 294-metre runway extension plus a 150-metre starter extension for aircraft manoeuvres.
The other is for a new terminal for 500,000 passengers a year.
Demonstraters against the expansion of Lydd Airport outside the Civic Centre, Folkestone
The public inquiry was over seven months from February 2011 at Folkestone’s Civic Centre.
The RSPB had argued about the risk to wildlife, but LAAG argued over dangers because of the closeness of the Dungeness nuclear complex.
A Green MEP said the court action is a fightback against a government “hell-bent” on airport expansion.
Green Party MEP Keith Taylor in New Romney
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, said: “Any expansion of Lydd airport, in an area of global importance for wildlife and next door to a nuclear power station, is clearly bad news.
MP Damian Collins
“The government is hell-bent on airport expansion but local people, whose lives will be blighted by increased pollution and noise, are right to stand up against these plans.
“We know that airport expansions will contribute to climate change, and we know that a larger airport at Lydd will threaten both the wildlife in the area and the peace and quiet enjoyed by local people.
“Lydd airport expansion shouldn’t go ahead and I wish campaigners the best of luck in their legal challenge to the government’s ideological obsession with expanding airports at any cost.”
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins, a supporter of the airport’s expansion said: “I don’t think there are any grounds for appeal.
“The planning inspector upheld the application and went through all the evidence in great detail, finding no grounds not to give permission.
“The point of a High Court hearing would be to whether the decision was flawed and I cannot see any grounds for that.
“Lydd Airport is confident that there are no grounds for appeal and are happy to continue with their plans for the airport.
“There is no point in in continuing a debate that has been heard in great detail.”
Lydd Airport said it did not want to comment at this stage.
Lydd Airport: Legal challenge to expansion plans at High Court on 23rd and 24th January 2014
January 14, 2014
A legal challenge to the government’s decision to allow the expansion of Lydd Airport in Kent is to be heard at the High Court on on 23rd and 24th January. The £25m project includes a runway extension of almost 300m (328yds) and a new terminal building. The airport site is close to the Dungeness nuclear plant, an RSPB nature reserve and a military range. The RSPB and Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) have lodged separate appeals against the expansion. After several years going through the planning process, the airport got planning permission in April 2013. LAAG has said the expansion would damage “the unique natural habitats on Romney Marsh and urbanise this important rural area”. LAAG also fear that the introduction of heavy aircraft such as the Boeing 737s “raised the probability of an aircraft accident at the Dungeness nuclear power complex leading to a serious radiological release to unacceptably high levels”. The RSPB said Dungeness was “one of the most important wildlife sites in the world and protected at global, European and UK levels”. Click here to view full story…
A report dated December 2013 by accountants, KPMG, for the Airports Commission, says a 3rd runway at Heathrow could require £11.5bn of government support, (ie. money from the taxpayer) while a 2nd runway at Gatwick may need as much as £17.7bn of taxpayer contributions. An airport in the Thames Estuary would need even more from the taxpayer – maybe £64 billion. The report contradict claims by airport operators that an extra runway could be financed either exclusively or predominantly by the private sector. Gatwick has said it could build a 2nd runway for £5bn to £9bn with no government aid. Heathrow has raised the prospect of £4bn to £6bn of taxpayer support to improve rail and road links, but has argued that a 3rd runway, at a cost of £17bn, would be largely funded by the private sector. The KPMG analysis also highlights the potential burden of building a new runway on passengers, who would pay higher ticket prices. KPMG says these would have to rise by 136% at Gatwick to repay the money borrowed. That would mean charges at Gatwick rising by 2.5% above inflation every year from 2019 to 2050. At Heathrow charges would need to rise by 13% initially and then by 2.5% above inflation. Repaying the money takes till 2050. Unless charges for passengers rise enough, the public (many of whom do not fly) will have to stump up the funds.
Building another runway in the south east of England will demand “substantial” taxpayer subsidies regardless of the location, a high-level independent analysis shows.
A third runway at Heathrow would potentially require £11.5bn of government support, while expansion of Gatwick may need as much as £17.7bn of taxpayer contributions, claims a report by KPMG for Sir Howard Davies’s Airports Commission.
A new hub airport in the Thames Estuary – a scheme backed by Boris Johnson, the London Mayor – will undergo further investigation by commissioners before they decide in the autumn whether it should be added to the shortlist.
According to KPMG’s commercial and financial assessment, a new hub airport on the Isle of Grain in the inner Thames Estuary would demand £64.7bn of government support. The report appears to contradict claims by airport operators that an extra runway could be financed either exclusively or predominantly by the private sector.
Gatwick has said it could deliver a second runway for £5bn to £9bn with no government aid.
Heathrow has raised the prospect of £4bn to £6bn of taxpayer support to improve rail and road links, but has argued that a third runway, at a cost of £17bn, would be largely funded by the private sector.
The KPMG analysis also highlights the potential burden on passengers of runway expansion.
Landing charges – fees that are passed on to passengers through higher ticket prices – would have to rise by 136pc at Gatwick to repay debt raised to fund a second runway, the report claims.
Charges at Gatwick would then need to increase by 2.5pc above inflation every year from 2019.
In order to fund a third runway at Heathrow, to the north west of the airport’s current site, landing charges would go up by 13pc initially, followed by annual increases of 2.5pc above inflation, the research shows. KPMG experts did not assess the Heathrow Hub scheme, which involves lengthening one of the airport’s existing air strips and effectively splitting it in two.
“The scale of the proposed schemes and of the financing challenge associated with each points to the criticality of government support,” the report states. “Government support could take various forms. For example … this could comprise government subsidy of scheme costs. The scale of this subsidy requirement varies by scheme but is in all cases substantial.”
A spokesman for Gatwick said the airport “doesn’t recognise the KPMG figures” and believes it is not a “like-for-like comparison between Gatwick and Heathrow”.
Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick, stressed at a conference last week that the airport was planning to produce a design that would keep the price tag as close to £5bn as possible in order to ensure it remains competitive and supports low-cost carriers.
He said Gatwick would challenge the commission on its figures, as it believed road and rail improvements that are either already under way or are already planned by Government had been added unnecessarily to the overall costs of a second runway.
A Heathrow spokesman said: “We’ve always known that expanding Heathrow would be cheaper than building a new hub airport, but this evidence shows that both taxpayers and individual passengers would pay less for a new runway at Heathrow than at Gatwick.
“Passenger charges would rise by less with Heathrow expansion, and the taxpayer support required is less than that needed for Gatwick.”
Daniel Moylan, the Mayor’s chief aviation adviser, said he did not accept the capital expenditure figures KPMG used “nor how they have been modelled”.
He said: “Our work has shown that there are realistic outcomes for the Government to make all of the money it spent on constructing the new airport back – upon selling the facility to an operator.
Mr Moylan added: “This includes the acquisition and redevelopment of Heathrow.”
On Heathrow’s north-west runway option, the KPMG report says (Page 14)
“The capital cost of developing the scheme is estimated at £21.6 billion (comprising £18.7 billion of on-Airport costs and £2.9 billion of off-Airport surface access costs) and this is spread over a 19-year period with costs back-ended (the first five years’ expenditure is just £1.3 billion). This is almost double the existing Heathrow RAB [regulatory asset base] value and likely to require some form of pre-funding or revenue profiling to achieve a financeable credit rating. Even assuming simple indexation of revenues at 2.5% for the period beyond the current price control period (Q6) to 2019, the indicative borrowing would not be repaid by 2050.
In order to meet the full debt requirement, aero revenues must be increased by 19% and then
indexed at 2.5% per annum thereafter. This would mean peak borrowing of £24.2 billion being repaid in full by 2050. If indexation is ignored for the purposes of increasing the aero revenue (which might be closer to reality given the current regulatory settlement) the initial aero revenue would need to be uplifted by 54% at the outset, although that reduces the peak financing requirement to £12.2 billion.
The above assumes that Heathrow’s owners would be responsible for the entirety of the surface access costs outlined. If that assumption is removed, the revenues would need to increase by 13% at the outset (and indexed at 2.5% thereafter) to see peak borrowing of £21.8 billion fully repaid before 2050. Alternatively a rise of 46% in aero revenues at the outset with no subsequent indexation sees peak borrowing of £10.4 billion fully repaid in the period. Rises above these figures would allow a contribution to surface access costs.”
On Gatwick’s 2nd runway plan, the KPMG report says (Page 18):
“The capital cost of developing the scheme is estimated at £16.6 billion (comprising £14 billion of on airport costs and £2.6 billion of off-airport (surface access) costs). Whilst this capital expenditure is spread over 21 years, and much of the cost is back-ended (the first five years sees only £0.9 billion expenditure), the anticipated revenue assumptions do not allow debt to be repaid as there is insufficient income to cover the interest on the debt. This is after assuming revenues are indexed at 2.5% from 2019 the period beyond the current regulated cap. Further, at four times the current RAB value, it seems unlikely that the RAB model could be used as an effective means for raising finance for this option.
In order to repay total debt by 2050, aero revenue charges would need to increase by 136% and rise by 2.5% inflation year on year from 2019 and that would give rise to peak borrowing of £13.2 billion.
Alternatively an initial rise of 209% with no further inflationary rise would also see a reduced debt of £8.5 billion fully repaid by 2050. However, that analysis assumes that the airport pays for 100% of the off-airport capital expenditure. Assuming that it makes no contribution to those off-airport costs the revenue is still insufficient to meet interest costs but the increase required to repay the on-airport related debt is a 112% increase in aero revenues from 2019 and indexed at 2.5% thereafter. In that case peak borrowing would be £11.1 billion which could be reduced to £6.9 billion if the initial rise in aero revenues were 171% with no inflationary rise thereafter. Any increase in revenue above that would theoretically allow a contribution to the off-airport capital expenditure.
Whilst the cost of this scheme is low in comparison to the brand new hub options, it is still too large under the revenue assumptions provided to repay the capital cost and would therefore need some form of revenue increase, subsidy or grant from Government. Without a clear economic rationale it is unlikely that the remainder of the funding would be attractive to external investors or third party debt providers so the extent of the Government subsidy may need to be sizeable. It is noteworthy that the cost of the scheme is a few billion pounds less than Crossrail which has some private sector contribution at the margins but is in essence wholly funded by Government.
To derive a proxy figure for potential Government subsidy to support the schemes (as an alternative to simply raising revenue) a breakeven analysis on the capital expenditure costs has been approximated. Reducing capital expenditure by £17.7 billion, the scheme is viable in the base case and this £17.7 billion is therefore an approximation of the level of Government support that might be required. The additional borrowing requirement would fall to a more manageable £1.7 billion.”
On 16th January the Airports Commission published its consultations on Thames estuary airport options. It did not short-list an estuary option, in its interim report on 17th December. Now there will be a first consultation, ending on 14th February on four options in the inner estuary. The Commission are asking for comments on its current position on the proposed terms of reference, especially if they contain gaps or weaknesses and whether other specific analyses need to be undertaken. There will be a second deadline date, ending on 23rd May, on an inner Thames proposal in which respondents are invited to submit analysis, evidence, and additional research or comments. The Commission says this will give sufficient time to ensure that appropriate evidence can be considered to inform the final study outputs before the studies are concluded and published. The Commission says it “expects to procure expert assistance from consultants in environmental appraisal and technical support; in the provision of engineering, airport operations and logistics consultancy and in the provision of economic modelling, commercial and financial appraisal.” Presumably at public expense (the Commission has a budget of £20.35 million over 4 years, from DfT). “The Commission expects to be in a position to publish many of the study outputs by July 2014, to ensure that any further evidence from interested parties is taken into account before a decision is made in September.” Final public consultation on the schemes starts in October.
1. The purpose of this introductory note is to set out the Commission’s current position on taking forward additional feasibility and impacts work for an inner Thames Estuary proposal. It also fulfils the twin purpose of:
• inviting comments on the draft terms of reference for the four research studies it
will be progressing; and,
• opening a call for evidence to inform the study outputs.
. Current position
2. The Commission published its Interim Report on 17 December 2013 setting out the three short-listed schemes to be taken forward for detailed development work, for national consultation this autumn.
3. The proposals received by the Commission for a new hub airport in or around the
Thames Estuary were both imaginative and ambitious.
4. The notion of a once-in-a-century decision to build a new hub airport that would significantly reduce the impacts of aircraft flying into and out of London, especially for the many thousands of people affected by noise around Heathrow, is compelling.
5. In addition, supporting the shift of London’s economic centre of gravity eastwards to allow for further expected population growth, combined with a major redevelopment opportunity of the Heathrow site, are potentially attractive prospects, and could have major impacts on the economic geography of the South East.
6. There are, however, significant challenges and risks associated with an inner
Thames Estuary proposal – for example, the Estuary has many areas of protected
habitat and flood risk and is some 33 miles from central London with no direct
surface access links in place.
7. Therefore, while no proposal for an Estuary airport has presented a sufficiently
powerful case for it to be currently recommended as a credible option, the
Commission was unable to reach a firm conclusion on an inner Thames Estuary
option (see paragraphs 6.24-6.46 of the Interim Report). 5 Introductory note
8. The Commission has recognised that, given the magnitude and complexity of a
scheme of this kind, further research would be of significant value to understand
better the feasibility and impacts of a new hub airport. The lack of evidence in
some key areas was also recognised by a number of interested parties in their
submissions to the Commission.
9. Over the coming months, the Commission is, therefore, proposing to take forward
four studies to address the significant risks and challenges associated with a
scheme of this magnitude and complexity.
10. It is also inviting evidence from interested parties, and commits to engaging with
them in a consultative manner, to inform the study outputs.
11. Following the completed studies and evidence-gathering, the Commission will
then decide whether a new hub airport proposal in the inner Thames Estuary is a
credible option to be taken forward for further detailed development work or not.
The Commission expects to make this decision by September 2014.
12. If the proposal is considered to be credible, it will go forward to the same level of
detailed development as the short-listed proposals and be consulted upon nationally.
Feasibility studies and draft terms of reference
13. As set out in the Interim Report, the Commission has already assessed that
the most viable options for a new hub airport are located in the inner Thames
Estuary and not the outer Thames Estuary. The Commission will, therefore, only
be taking forward further feasibility and impacts work in respect of the inner
Thames Estuary locations.
14. The Isle of Grain option examined by the Commission in its Interim Report
incorporated elements from several inner Thames Estuary proposals (as described
in paragraph 6.25 of the Interim Report and paragraph 5.4 of Appendix 2 of the
Interim Report). It is proposed, therefore, that the studies referred to below may
consider alternative inner Estuary locations in assessing the feasibility and impacts
of a new hub airport. This will enable consideration of the range of impacts which
could materially affect the location and design of such a new airport.
15. The Commission’s current position on the draft terms of reference for the four study
areas can be found in the Annex to this note, and are outlined briefly below in
• Environmental impacts – assessment of the impacts on the Natura 2000 sites,
coastal system, habitats and species affected and historical and archaeological sites, in constructing and operating a new airport and identifying whether the legal tests could be met.
• Operational feasibility and attitudes about moving to a new airport –
assessment of key potential operational issues and potential mitigation, including
meteorological and wildlife impacts, the SS Montgomery and relocating energy
facilities; assessing airline, airport, business and industry attitudes to the decision
to move operations to a new hub airport, and to then moving operations.
• Socio-economic impacts – assessment of the local, sub-national and national
economic and social benefits and impacts of building a new hub airport in the
inner Thames Estuary, closing down Heathrow and London City airports, and
redeveloping the Heathrow site.
• Surface access impacts – assessment of the operational, cost and
environmental impacts of any surface transport proposals required to support a
new hub airport, as well as impacts on existing and planned local and strategic
16. The Commission is now inviting views and comments on its current position on
the proposed terms of reference (as set out in the Annex hereto). Comments
are invited by no later than 14 February 2014, to inform the project initiation
documents. Please send any comments on the draft terms of reference for the four
studies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
17. The Commission is particularly interested to hear whether there are any gaps or
weaknesses in its current position on the draft terms of reference, and whether
there is any specific analysis that will be appropriate to consider in undertaking
18. The Commission expects to procure expert assistance from consultants in
environmental appraisal and technical support; in the provision of engineering,
airport operations and logistics consultancy and in the provision of economic
modelling, commercial and financial appraisal. Much analysis has already been
undertaken in Phase 1, and the Expert Advisory Panel will continue to help the
Commission to access, interpret and understand evidence for the studies, as well
as to make judgements about its relevance and potential application.
19. The Commission expects to be in a position to publish many of the study outputs
by July 2014, to ensure that any further evidence from interested parties is taken
into account before a decision is made in September. Figure 1 of this document
sets out how the decision making process for this work is expected to proceed.
. The call for evidence
20. The Commission commits to engaging with interested parties in a consultative
manner in order to ensure that high-quality, well thought-out study outcomes
21. In addition to welcoming views on the draft terms of reference for each of the
studies, the Commission is now opening a call for evidence from interested parties,
in order to inform the study outputs.
22. Interested parties are welcome to submit analysis, evidence, additional
research or comments in relation to an inner Thames Estuary proposal to the
Commission by Friday 23 May 2014. This will give sufficient time to ensure that
appropriate evidence can be considered to inform the final study outputs before
the studies are concluded and published.
Please send evidence to
23. If you are interested in submitting work, please do not hesitate to get in touch about
the type of analysis and evidence which could best inform the study outputs.
24. The Commission will not be considering new or refreshed scheme proposals on the
Estuary, but will assess the credibility of an Inner Estuary option with particular focus
on the distinct study areas set out in the Annex. Therefore, the Commission invites
analysis and evidence relating specifically to the finalised study terms of reference,
where it has concluded that additional analysis will be of value in reaching its
decision on whether the Inner Estuary option can be regarded as a credible option.