New studies confirm Plymouth airport not viable for aviation use

Sutton Harbour Holdings, the leaseholder, closed Plymouth airport in December 2011 and has plans to build homes, shops and offices on the site. They say there is no chance of the airport ever being reopened. Now Sutton Harbour say two expert studies it had commissioned showed that a plan by campaign group Viable to re-open the airport was “totally unrealistic”.  Viable’s plans to extend the runway and airport facilities for jets would cost at least £40million and require the demolition of homes and offices. The reports also said the proposed jet aircraft would expose 6,000 people in 2,400 homes to “annoying” noise.   Oakwood Primary School and 450 homes would require noise insulation, and other homeowners would need to be offered relocation packages at the airport operator’s expense. According to the reports, the cost of even a modest commercial re-opening would run into millions of pounds and still make a loss.”  Viable disagrees and says it will fight on.
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Studies spark new row over airport’s future

By Plymouth Herald

February 25, 2014

By KEITH ROSSITER Political Reporter @krossiter
THERE is no chance of Plymouth’s airport ever being reopened, its former operator says.

Sutton Harbour Holdings, the leaseholder, closed the airport in December 2011 and has plans to build homes, shops and offices on the site.

And yesterday the company said two expert studies it had commissioned showed that a plan by campaign group Viable to re-open the airport was “totally unrealistic”.

It said Viable’s plans to extend the runway and airport facilities for jets would cost at least £40million and require the demolition of homes and offices.

Viable last night rejected the analysis.

“It is well understood that as a business the airport was marginal but it can be made to work profitably,” Raoul Witherall its chairman, said.

SHH commissioned aviation experts Fjøri and acoustic consultants Bickerdike Allen Partners to produce studies of the airport operation.

No airline operator had been able to run a sustainable operation out of Plymouth City Airport in the past 15 years, SHH said.

The company said the two studies it commissioned highlighted the barriers to a commercially sustainable airport operation ever being re-established.

The reports said Viable’s plans to extend the runway and airport facilities for jets would cost at least £40million and require large scale demolition of nearby homes and offices due to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules on minimum runway width

They said jet aircraft would expose 6,000 people in 2,400 homes to “annoying” noise.

Oakwood Primary School and 450 homes would require noise insulation, and other homeowners would need to be offered relocation packages at the airport operator’s expense

According to the reports, the cost of even a modest commercial re-opening would run into millions of pounds and still make a loss

Fjøri managing director Alex Lake said the needs of the Plymouth population could not be delivered from this location – “not now, and not in the future”.

He said: “Regional aviation has moved on, with fewer airlines operating bigger aircraft and carrying more people. The site’s constraints are simply incompatible with today’s airline industry.”

Viable’s plans for the site include reopening the airport as an unlicensed aerodrome, followed by two runway extensions to cater for jet aircraft.

SHH said Fjøri’s report showed that extending the runway to the length Viable wants would mean doubling its width to satisfy CAA rules.

This would require the realignment of Plymbridge Road, and the demolition of some 90 houses along Plymbridge Road, Blue Haze Close, Durris Close, St Marks Road, St Johns Close, Combley Drive and Rothbury Gardens, plus the demolition of offices and industrial premises at Estover.

Fjøri concludes that the runway extension alone would cost around £20million before multi-million pound property acquisition costs are taken into account, and require a further £20million investment in upgrading airport facilities, including a new terminal.

Fjøri’s Mr Lake added: “In common with many other cities like Nottingham, Sheffield, Ipswich, Swansea and York, Plymouth does not have a regional airport within its boundary. But it does have Exeter.”

Sutton Harbour Holdings chief executive Jason Schofield said: “The people of Plymouth deserve accessible, affordable and reliable air services to a range of destinations, but these reports prove that it can’t be done from this site.

“These reports also prove that Viable’s proposals are simply not feasible and in our view are an unwelcome distraction.

“It is time to move on.”

VIABLE warned that it was “reckless and short-sighted” to destroy Plymouth’s transport infrastructure.

Raoul Witherall, its chairman, said that without an airport Plymouth would struggle to be taken seriously.

“Plymouth airport can be and must be reopened to resume provision of vital connectivity.

“At a time when the vulnerability of our city’s rail links has been so visibly exposed, destroying what transport infrastructure we do have is reckless and shortsighted.

“Plymouth will pay heavily for such mistakes.”

He said Viable was not a campaign group but a special purpose vehicle business run by local business people with a primary purpose of re-opening the airport and maximising its commercial potential.

“We have a plan to re-open the airport that is sustainable and has been validated, clearly demonstrating the future profitability of a resumption of passenger services at Plymouth.”

York Aviation, which has carried out work for Plymouth City Council and Transport for London, has recently completed its own study into the passenger demand for and economic benefit of a reopened Plymouth airport for Viable.

“This report shows clear current passenger demand and substantial economic benefit to Plymouth over the life of our business plan,” Mr Witherall said.

“Viable will shortly be publishing these findings.

“With the railway severed and longer term transport solutions carrying vast price tags, Plymouth needs to reflect on its underlying connectivity deficit and the tools it has in its own hands to improve matters. “Viable will be pleased to cooperate with all parties in achieving a lasting remedy that could set our city on the path with a firmer economic outlook.”

http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Studies-spark-new-row-airport-s-future/story-20700026-detail/story.html

 

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.Earlier:

Councillors pledge to protect Plymouth Airport site

24.9.2012

Flights from Plymouth airport stopped in July 2011. Councillors have pledged to protect Plymouth’s former airport from future development by using planning powers and by lobbying the government. A company called Sutton Harbour has a 150 year lease on the site, and closed the airport in December, saying it was no longer financially viable.  It has issued its “vision” for an urban centre which includes housing, shops, a primary school and nursing home, public spaces and a theatre venue. The airport site is protected until 2021. The council wants the site protected for airport use in future, and wants government intervention to prevent other use. But the council does not have money to subsidise it. A group of businesspeople called Viable believes the airport has a commercial future as an airport.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=507

 

 

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“Viable” urge council to buy Plymouth City Airport lease

Viable Group, which is an American investment advisor located in Texas, hopes to reopen Plymouth City Airport, and wants Plymouth City Council to buy back the lease for the site.  Viable Group claims its five-year plan could see 500,000 passengers using the airport  afer 5 years if owners, Sutton Harbour Group (SHG), would sell the lease.  Sutton bought the 150 year lease from the council in 2000. Plymouth City Council said it supported the idea in theory. Some of the land at the airport has already been earmarked for a £38m housing project. Viable wants to start off with charter services, and then go to scheduled daily domestic flights using two 19-seater planes.  Then they want a 40-metre extension to the runway, allowing 90-seater jets to connect Plymouth to Europe.

9.5.2012 (BBC)  http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1877
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Plymouth Airport has now closed as its routes are no longer profitable

Dec 23, 2011  Plymouth Airport closed today. No aircraft will be able to use the site from this evening. The site has been used for flying since the mid-1920s.
www.airportwatch.org.uk
www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=577
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Plymouth City Airport to close in December

Apr 28, 2011   (BBC). Plymouth City Airport is to close in December, its owner has announced.  100 people were flying out of Plymouth every day.
www.airportwatch.org.uk

Air Southwest moving Plymouth flights to Cornwall for …

Jul 6, 2011  Air Southwest flights at Plymouth Airport are to be transferred to  Air Southwest said that it will transfer all of its Plymouth flights to Newquay 

www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=3169

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New Gatwick flightpath trials are ‘destroying’ village life at Warnham, West Sussex

Residents in Warnham, about 10 km south west of Gatwick, and complaining strenuously about low-flying aircraft going over their homes from 6am each day. They feel the character of their village, let alone its tranquillity, are being destroyed.  This is part of a trial for a new new flightpath which started on February 17th and will continue for 6 months. The trial is being run by NATS in conjunction with Gatwick airport, but people in Warnham complain that they were not notified or consulted in advance of the trial. The planes pass over the village at approximately 2,000ft and villagers say they can be as frequent as every 5 minutes at some times of day.  The noise is loud enough to have raised concerns about its impact on vulnerable residents, in particular the elderly and disabled.  The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) claims that rural residents suffer more from noise pollution than urban residents. The noise is more intrusive as there is little background noise.  GACC is concerned that the trial of the new flightpath over Warnham is designed solely to get more aircraft off the Gatwick runway. “It is intolerable that new misery and decline in house values should be caused just to create extra profit.”
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Warnham flight path demo

Residents of Warnham Parish (West Sussex) meet to demonstrate at new flight path trial.  Residents are very angry at suddenly finding themselves under a trial route. Warnham has never been under the flight path and are fighting to have the trial stopped.

 

New Gatwick flightpath trials are ‘destroying’ Sussex village life

5:30am Thursday 27th February 2014 in NewsBy Henry Holloway, Reporter

The Argus: Angry Warnham residents

Angry Warnham residents

Trials for a new flightpath from Gatwick Airport are “destroying” the lives of villagers.

Residents in Warnham, half an hour from Gatwick, are fed-up with low-flying aircraft going over their homes from 6am each day.

The trials, which started on February 17 and will continue for six months, are being run by National Air Traffic Services working with the airport.

Planes pass over the village at approximately 2,000ft and villagers say they can be as frequent as every five minutes.

The Argus: Angry Warnham residents
The Argus: New Gatwick flightpath trials are ‘destroying’ Sussex village life

Resident Laura Standing said: “My daughter suffers with autism, sensory processing disorder with severe stress and anxiety and any change to her surroundings has a huge impact on her.

“The sounds of the planes and the vibrations they cause going over the house have already had a massive impact on her. She feels scared and even petrified at times.”

With a population of 2,000, residents feel the tranquillity of the village is being destroyed.

Resident Orla Constant said: “Warnham has never been on the flightpath and to suddenly find that Gatwick Airport is running a six-month trial overhead without consulting any of the local residents is quite simply unbelievable.

“Warnham is a traditional and tranquil Sussex village and this has suddenly been destroyed by the bombardment of low-flying noisy planes.”

As the new flightpath is running on a trial basis, no consultation is required for change of airspace. It also has the full permission of the Civil Aviation Authority.

Resident Sally Pavey said: “It feels like we are being bombed and they are destroying the village. They just decided without giving us any thought.”

The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) claims that rural residents suffer more from noise pollution than urban residents as they are used to the peace – saying that this factor has been acknowledged in the noise regulations used by local authorities.

Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said: “GACC is concerned that the trial of the new flightpath over Warnham is designed solely to get more aircraft off the Gatwick runway.

“It is intolerable that new misery and decline in house values should be caused just to create extra profit.”

GACC is fighting against proposals for the construction of a new runway at Gatwick.

A spokeswoman for Gatwick Airport said: “The trial is part of the Future Airspace Strategy; a UK-wide programme looking at modernising airspace routes and improving the efficiency of airspace.

“The departure route, which enables aircraft to climb more quickly after take-off, reduces the overall number of people affected by aircraft noise and overflight.”

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/11038824.New_Gatwick_flightpath_trials_are__destroying__Sussex_village_life/?ref=rss

 

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Residents anger as new flight path trial takes place without consultation with those the live beneath!
Photo: Residents anger as new flight path trial takes place without consultation with those the live beneath!

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Facebook campaign launched by local frequent flyer to ‘save’ Durham Tees Valley Airport

A frequent flyer who uses Durham Tees Valley airport has launched a  Facebook campaign to ‘save’ the Airport.  She is concerned about the airport’s “master plan.” This aims to secure the airport’s long term future by the development of 400 homes on land to the west and north of the terminal which officials say would generate millions of pounds of investment to put back into the airport. The frequent flyer says she gets “so frustrated that we cannot use Teesside Airport.”  The Facebook page has over 2,000 “likes” with many people irritated by the behaviour of t he owners, Peel Holdings. One typical post says: “COME ON people of the North East…..we have a mountain to climb ……we MUST get our message across to politicians and councils (supposedly who have our interests at heart) that we are not prepared to sit back and watch this “BEAST” of a company take our airport away !!!”  The airport had  159,300 passengers in 2013 compared with over 900,000 in 2005 and 2006. 
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Facebook campaign launched to ‘save’ Durham Tees Valley Airport

26th February 2014

By Hannah Bryan, Reporter, The Northern Echo (Darlington)

The Northern Echo: Campaign launched to 'save' Durham Tees Valley AirportCampaign launched to ‘save’ Durham Tees Valley Airport

A FREQUENT flyer has launched a campaign to ‘save’ Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Suzanne Foster, of Potto, near Stokesley, created the Facebook page,Save Teesside Airport, to voice her concerns over a masterplan unveiled by the airport’s owner, Peel Holdings, which aims to secure the airport’s long term future.

The plans would see the development of 400 homes on land to the west and north of the terminal which officials say would generate millions of pounds of investment to put back into the airport.

Mrs Foster, 69, said: “I travel a lot and get so frustrated that we cannot use Teesside Airport.

“Teesside has got excellent transport links which others, like Leeds Bradford, do not have, and has one of the longest runways in the country and a better weather record.

“There are so many people around here who feel the airport has been left to disappear.”

The Facebook page was set up about a week ago and has already received hundreds of messages of support.

It comes just weeks after Middlesbrough councillor, Chris Hobson, launched a petition calling on the Government to safeguard the airport.

Mrs Foster has also written to local MPs, Friends of Durham Tees Valley Airport, travel companies and Virgin boss, Sir Richard Branson, to help find a way forward for the airport.

She is also urging people to attend a public meeting hosted by the Friends of Durham Tees Valley Airport at 7pm on Friday, March 7 at the airport’s St George Hotel.

For more information on the campaign visitfacebook.com and search Save Teesside Airport.

 

 Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/SAVE-Teesside-Airport/266661683496715
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  Recent air passenger data for Durham Tees Valley airport:
CAA aviation statistics 
 

Terminal Passengers:

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 10.3)  Terminal Passengers  2002 – 2012

 

2013      159,311,000 (down – 3.3% on 2012

2012      164,826  (down – 13.4% on 2011)
2011      190,284 (down – 15% on 2010)
2010      225,000  (down – 22% on 2009)  link to 2010 data
2009      288,327 (down – 55.4% on 2008)
2008      646,741  (down 12.1% on 2007)
2007      734  thousand   (down 20% on 2006)
2006      912 thousand
2005      902   ”
2000      740   ”
1996      429   “
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Recent news about failing Durham Tees Valley airport:

Durham Tees Valley Airport should go for Government cash a third time, claims Sedgefield MP

1 Nov 2013           . Durham Tees Valley Airport bosses should try to secure Government regeneration cash a third time, Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson has claimed. MP for Sedgefield Phil Wilson says the Government needs to play its part in keeping Durham Tees Valley Airport going, despite 2 failed bids by its owners for Regional Growth Fund (RGF) cash to pay for road infrastructure. Meanwhile, Balkan Holidays has said it was naturally “disappointed” by the airport’s decision to drop its August 2014 Bulgaria flight. The MP said: “The Government needs to play its part. I would encourage the airport to put in another bid for RGF cash but I can understand any reticence in not doing so. “Peel can’t carry on losing millions a year. They’re doing their best, but the Government has turned them down twice.”  http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/business/business-news/durham-tees-valley-airport-should-6262956

Durham Tees Valley Airport scraps mainstream holiday flights – now just links to Schiphol, Aberdeen and Jersey

Date added: October 30, 2013

Durham Tees Valley Airport has decided, after a review of its business, to axe its holiday flights in order to concentrate on business travel. The struggling airport will continue passenger flights to Amsterdam, Aberdeen and Jersey only – but all holiday charters will end next summer. Scheduled daily passenger flights to Schiphol (Amsterdam) – operated by KLM – and Eastern Airways’ flights to Aberdeen will continue as normal, and Flybe link to Jersey. But the airport will be “streamlining operations and moving away from all mainstream holiday charter programmes”. Tour operators affected by the move are Thomson/First Choice and Balkan Holidays. Thomson Holidays has cancelled its two flight destinations for 2014 from Durham Tees Valley. The terminal will undergo changes, making the operational area smaller . Investment in the new layout will make it more suited to customers on scheduled flights with “new retail offerings and business services”. They are trying to keep some aviation use for the airport and will have their masterplan for public consultation from mid-November.     Click here to view full story…

 

Failing Durham Tees Valley airport new “Master Plan”; sound strategy – or a last throw of dice?

Date added: October 14, 2013

Durham Tees Valley airport, owned by Peel Holdings, has been doing very badly in recent years. It has twice failed to secure government funding for its expansion, but has now bought land it says could be used for “engineering, storage and distribution operations”. Since February it has been involved in taking apart and recycling old planes. The airport’s management say they will shortly be putting out a Master Plan, which is an aspiration of how they would like the airport to develop. Peel Holdings said the proposals would safeguard the airport’s flights to Schiphol and Aberdeen. A local MP said “This must not become an excuse to transition it being an industrial estate that happens to have a runway.” An airport manager commented that few airports can survive from passenger traffic revenue only. Commentators say the Master Plan could be seen as either the last throw of the dice, or a viable and coherent strategy. Though it suggests the airport plans to develop the commercial potential to retain passenger services, the unstated implication is that the battle is lost. Changes in the market and the end of the low-cost air travel boom mean there is no need for another passenger airport between Leeds Bradford and Newcastle.     Click here to view full story…

 

Durham Tees Valley Airport bid for Regional Growth Fund money rejected again

August 3, 2013     Durham Tees Valley airport has been wanting £4.6m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to help create an overall investment of £46.5m for the airport. But now for the second time, their bid has been refused by government. If approved, it would have meant a new access road on the south side of the airport and might – the airport claims – have led to the creation of “1,400 new jobs over the next ten years.” Hartlepool councillors are not happy, and it was agreed at a meeting of the full council to write to Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Innovation and Skills, to express their “disgust” over the decision. Labour councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of the council’s regeneration committee, said: “The decision has not only put our region at a disadvantage but makes Durham Tees Valley more unsustainable.” The RGFofficials did not include the bid among their 102 successful projects, including 6 in the Tees Valley. In October 2012 their bid for funding for a freight terminal was rejected by the RGF.     Click here to view full story…

 

Airport bids to turn car park into caravan storage site

12.3.2013   As the airport has had such a large drop in numbers in recent  years, it has applied to turn part of its long-stay car park into a storage area for caravans in a bid to generate income.  The decline means that a large part of the airport’s long stay car park has become surplus to requirements, with a large section cordoned off and left unused. The airport’s owner, Peel Holdings, has now applied to Darlington Borough Council to change a 1.7 hectare section of the car park – more than 900 spaces – into a storage area for caravans, motorhomes and other vehicles for the next three years.  Click here to view full story ….

 

Plan revealed to dismantle planes at Durham Tees Valley Airport

February 20, 2013     Durham Tees Valley Airport is set to become a centre for the storage and dismantling of unused planes, and recycling parts. Sycamore Aviation has set up its base at the struggling airport and has already begun work on taking apart a number of airliners. The airport has a long runway, enabling it to handle larger planes, and plenty of hangar space. There are apparently “huge numbers” of aircraft retiring across Europe. A Sycamore Aviation spokesman said one airline alone is likely to need to dispose of 20 jumbo jets and 20 Boeing 737 aircraft in the next 3 -4 years – an illustration of the potential scale of demand. They say that across Europe between 500 to 700 aircraft a year need to be decommissioned and currently there are just not enough facilities to meet the demand. The number of passengers using Durham Tees Valley airport has fallen steadily from around 912,000 in 2006 to 165,000 in 2012.     Click here to view full story…

 

Bosses at Durham Tees Valley Airport express “acute disappointment” at bid failure

19.10.2012     AIRPORT bosses  expressed their “acute disappointment” at the Government’s decision to reject a bid for regeneration cash. However, Durham they said they remained committed to the Southside freight terminal development – despite the failure of the £5.9m Regional Growth Fund (RGF) application. DTVA chairman Robert Hough said the company would be demanding an explanation from ministers after the RGF bid was turned down. “It was hoped the £5.9m scheme, which would take ten years to complete and create up to 1,500 jobs, could breathe new life into the airport, which was close to going out of business last year amid falling passenger numbers.”   Click here to view full story …

 

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London MPs and Councils challenge Airports Commission on aircraft noise with updated “ANASE” report

In 2005 the ANASE (Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England) report into what level of sound caused community annoyance was undertaken, and it indicated that the 57 decibel contour  – the measure the UK authorities still use – did not satisfactorily measure aircraft noise.  In reality, significant annoyance was caused at much lower level of sound exposure.  However, this finding was inconvenient and so the report was shelved by the government.  The 57 dB contour is still being used, and is the measure being used by the Airports Commission. The ANASE report has now been revised and updated, and this new report has just been launched by Hillingdon Council on behalf of the all-party 2M Group of councils opposed to Heathrow expansion.  It shows far more people are badly affected by aircraft noise than the 57 dB countour would suggest.  The 2M group are asking that the Commission investigate a new, more rigorous noise metric with which to assess and compare the noise impacts and costs of all the airport proposals. They say the Commission’s decision on a new runway cannot be  based on seriously out of date evidence which bears no resemblance to real-life experience.
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For many years, the standard metric used to measure the amount of aircraft noise that over-flown areas are exposed to has been the 57 decibel contour, the 57 LAeq.  This is an average level of sound, averaged out over a number of hours, smoothing the peaks of noise when a plane goes overhead with the periods with no plane noise.  This metric has serious limitations, and does not reflect accurately the amount or quality of aircraft noise experienced by those overflown.  

 

MPs and councils challenge Davies on noise report

26th February 2014  (Wandsworth Council press release)

The report is at

 http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/9193/anase_update_study

An all-party group of MPs, councils and aviation campaigners came to the House of Commons today (Wednesday) to officially launch an aircraft noise report which could change the course of the airport expansion debate.

The group claim that Sir Howard Davies, head of the Government’s airports commission, has so far failed to address the ‘ANASE update study’ by leading acoustician Dr Ian Flindell.

The report suggests the number of people affected by Heathrow noise is currently around one million – four times the estimate recognised by the Davies airports commission.

It shows the 57 decibel benchmark the aviation industry and Davies are using to measure aircraft noise impacts is flawed and severely out of date.

The outdated metric allows the expansion lobby to claim that increasing the total number of flights would reduce the number of people annoyed by aircraft noise.

The updated ANASE report was first submitted to the Airports Commission in September last year. But Sir Howard Davies continues to rely on the old 57 decibel noise metric. He has since recommended more night flights over London and shortlisted Heathrow and Gatwick as potential sites for new runways.

At today’s launch at the House of Commons Davies was challenged to explain why his commission has failed to respond to this new noise evidence.

The report was commissioned by Hillingdon Council on behalf of the all-party 2M Group of councils opposed to Heathrow expansion. It is supported by London MPs and aviation campaign group HACAN led by John Stewart.

In his report Dr Flindell explains the 57 decibel benchmark Davies uses to indicate when communities become annoyed by overhead flights is based on a survey conducted in 1982 which asked people how they were affected by noise. In 32 years it has never been updated.

The ANASE study compares this research with modern-day survey results which show communities become annoyed at around a 50 decibel benchmark.

The report’s findings are supported by contemporary European noise studies and by people around Heathrow who complain bitterly about noise despite living outside of the 57 decibel contour.

The European Union and the World Health Organisation also recommend a lower noise benchmark than the one Sir Howard is using. By the time a new runway becomes operational in 2030 the survey used to assess its impact would be 48 years out of date.

An extract from Dr Flindell’s report reads:

“From a purely research evidence perspective, it is surprising that UK policy-makers continue to base their understanding of numbers of people affected by aircraft noise on out-of-date, biased, non-independently-reviewed research – especially when there is available much more up-to-date evidence of UK residents’ views on aircraft noise that is consistent with all other recent and substantive pieces of research in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

“The consequence is that policy-makers continue to presume that ‘the onset of significant annoyance’ is 57 [decibels] and that communities below this noise exposure threshold are relatively unaffected by aircraft noise – despite the fact that many such residents say that they are.”

Today’s ANASE launch was hosted by west London MP John Randall on behalf of the all-party MPs group opposed to Heathrow expansion. He said:

“Sir Howard Davies now needs to explain why he shortlisted Heathrow and Gatwick for expansion based on such an out of date noise survey. He leads a commission set up to rigorously scrutinise every aspect of the airport expansion debate so why has he neglected such a fundamental concern? Our constituents deserve an explanation.”

Leader of Wandsworth Council and spokesman for 2M Ravi Govindia said:

“We’re not saying Davies has to adopt the ANASE report or stick to a 50 decibel benchmark. But he does have to investigate a new, more rigorous noise metric with which to assess and compare the noise impacts and costs of all the airport proposals. He can’t base tomorrow’s runway decision on such out of date evidence which bears no resemblance to real-life experience.”

The first ANASE study was published in 2005 but was immediately buried by the Government of the day which was about to unveil plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

Instead the 2005 Government choose to maintain the 57 decibel metric as the official benchmark – allowing the third runway project to progress.

The campaigners say Sir Howard Davies will not be able to sweep the report under the carpet and that he must base his recommendations on a noise metric communities can trust.

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To let Sir Howard Davies know your views email Howard.Davies@airports.gsi.gov.uk 
  
To let the Transport Secretary know your views email transportsecretary@dft.gsi.gov.uk 
  
To report noise complaints to Heathrow email noise_complaints@heathrow.com or call 0800 344 844

To sign up for Wandsworth Council’s e-newsletter on Heathrow emailaviation@wandsworth.gov.uk with ‘subscribe’ in the subject box. 
  
More information is online at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/heathrow

ENDS

http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/article/12229/mps_and_councils_challenge_davies_on_noise_report

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The report’s summary states:

SUMMARY

This report highlights problems in existing UK policy on aircraft noise assessment and its
evidence base. This report demonstrates that:

„ – The findings of the government-commissioned 2005 ANASE study are more robust than the previous ANIS study of 1982. However, government policy continues to be based on the older study.

„ – The ANASE findings are more up-to-date, reflecting the views of communities around 20 UK airports in 2005/6, whilst the research still being used to inform government policy obtained the views of residents in 1982, more than 30 years ago, when aircraft sound levels and numbers were very different to today.

„ – The ANASE findings are consistent with non survey-based sources of reported community annoyance (e.g. complaints by the public to government and aviation authorities) and corroborate these vocal indications that significant proportions of some communities outside 57 LAeq – such as areas in and around Eton & Windsor, East Sheen, Barnes and Putney – report that they find aircraft noise to be annoying.

„ – The ANASE findings are consistent with the current known situation across Europe – whilst the research still used by UK government may be consistent with the European situation of 30 years ago.

„ – The ANASE research findings provide evidence of the ratio between aircraft numbers and
average sound levels that best reflects community annoyance, which is consistent with historical UK evidence (in particular, the Wilson Committee adoption of NNI).

– In contrast, the single piece of research that suggests community annoyance is more influenced by changes in aircraft sound levels than changes to aircraft numbers, ANIS, was biased in the way it asked residents to think only of the noisiest aircraft situation (with no mention of numbers of aircraft) when considering their annoyance with aircraft noise.

From a purely research evidence perspective, it is surprising that UK policy-makers continue to base their understanding of numbers of people affected by aircraft noise on out-of-date, biased, non-independently-reviewed research – especially when there is available much more up-to-date evidence of UK residents’ views on aircraft noise that is consistent with all other recent and substantive pieces of research in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

The consequence is that policy-makers continue to presume that ‘the onset of significant
annoyance’ is 57 LAeq and that communities below this noise exposure threshold are relatively unaffected by aircraft noise – despite the fact that many such residents say that they are.

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Also

ANASE study on attitudes to aircraft noise to be updated to show real impact of Heathrow flight paths

23.2.2014

The Sunday Times reports that on 26th February the researchers who worked on the ANASE (Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England) study of the effect of aircraft noise will publish an updated report. The 2007 ANASE was an expensive and extensive study, looking at what levels of aircraft noise annoyed people being overflown.  It found that, contrary to the “prevailing wisdom” the widely used 57 decibel contour was not the actual threshold of community annoyance. In reality, much lower noise levels caused annoyance, and also upset and disturbed people. The research suggests that significant annoyance starts at about 50dB.  The reality is that many areas (including Putney, Battersea, East Sheen, Barnes and Ealing), which are not included in the 57dB contour are badly affected by aircraft noise.The ANASE study was shelved, partly due to methodological criticisms. Now it is being updated and published by councils opposed to an increased number of flights over London, if Heathrow was to be allowed another runway.  Researchers say subsequent European research into aircraft noise backs its initial ANASE  findings. 

 http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=20117

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Title:  ANASE (Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England) – extracts only.

Date:   October 2007
Author:  MVA Consultancy
Length:    Original document is 144 pages, extracts are 5 pages
Summary:  As the sound level indicator LAeq increases, the annoyance levels of respondents also increase. For a given LAeq there is a range of reported annoyance indicating that annoyance is not determined solely by the amount of aircraft sound as measured by LAeq. People are more annoyed by aircraft noise now than they used to be, and at lower levels. This study, done for the DfT, has been shelved and not acted upon.
Link:   ANASE study – extracts
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Heathrow’s noise contour maps

These are at  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/244529/lhr-2012.pdf   dated September 2013 (by the CAA and the Dft)

The map towards the end of the above document (Page 32) “Noise Exposure Contours for Heathrow Airport 2012″

is copied below.

Heathrow Sept 2013 noise contour map

The outer line indicates the 57 db contour

Original is on Page 32 of  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/244529/lhr-2012.pdf

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Earlier:

 

Minister sits on damning report on impact of Heathrow noise (ANASE study)

(4.10.2007   The Times)

ANASE study – “Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England”
Aircraft noise causes much more annoyance than previously thought, according
to a study for the Department for Transport which the Government is attempting
to conceal while it plans the expansion of Heathrow.   The existing method of measuring
aircraft noise, adopted a quarter of a century ago, is too narrow and outdated,
the study concludes.   It fails to take account either of the huge growth in the
number of flights or the public’s growing demand for quietness.

While individual aircraft have become quieter, the number of flights at Heathrow
has grown from 273,000 in 1982 to 477,000 last year.   The study also found that
aircraft noise causes greater annoyance to people on higher incomes, those in
the social groups A and B and those aged 35 to 64.   The current method takes none
of these factors into account.

The “Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England” (Anase) study, a draft
copy of which has been obtained by The Times, undermines the case for building
a 3rd runway at Heathrow.   The runway, which the Government has said should open
between 2015 and 2020, would create new flight paths and result in an extra 500
flights a day over London.

The 2003 aviation White Paper pledged that the runway would only go ahead if
it resulted in “no net increase” to the size of the area around Heathrow affected
by 57 decibels of aircraft noise, the level deemed to mark “the onset of significant
community annoyance”.   But the new study suggests that significant annoyance starts
at around 50 decibels.

While there are 258,000 residents inside the 57-decibel area, ten times that
number live inside the 50-decibel area.

Jim Fitzpatrick, the Aviation Minister, last week rejected calls to publish the
study early in a letter to the “2M” group of 12 local authorities covering two
million residents living under Heathrow’s flight paths.

He claimed that the study had yet to be finalised, even though it was ordered
6 years ago and the draft reveals that the DfT had seen a copy 3 months ago, on
July 5.   Mr Fitzpatrick wrote: “It would be premature to suggest that the report
will lead to any change in approach – we shall want to reflect on it . . . We
would not accept that the launch of the Heathrow consultation cannot precede Anase.”

The study concludes: “At the same level of aircraft noise exposure, people are
more annoyed in 2005 than they were in 1982 . . . People today have higher expectations
of their rights to a peaceful and harmonious living environment and are more openly
critical of policy-making and government, than people at the beginning of the
1980s.”

The study found that people found flights between 11pm and 3am were 80% more
annoying than those during the day.   But flights between 3am and 7am were only
35 per cent more annoying.   The number of Heathrow flights between 11.30pm and
6am is currently restricted to about 16 a night.

The Government’s Department for Transport  commissioned the ANASE Study in March
2001 just before the General Election of that year to look at aircraft noise in
England.   The previous study was published in 1985, with the research being conducted
in the late 1970s and the early 1980s.

Story by Ben Webster

http://travel.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/travel/news/article2584834.ece

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HACAN press release on 2.11.2007

An Inconvenient Truth

Department for Transport “sneaks out” its first major national study on aircraft
noise for a quarter of a century

The Department for Transport has been accused of sneaking out the first major
national study it has produced on aircraft noise for nearly a quarter of a century.
Today at 9.30am the Department will simply publish the ANASE study (The Attitudes
to Noise from Aviation Sources in England) on its website (1).   And, in a highly
unusual move, the Department will also publish the comments of the people who
were asked to peer review the study.   It is thought the DfT will neither agree
or disagree with the findings of the study but will highlight that the peer reviewers’
comments – some of which are critical of the study – to justify further work before
the findings can be used in policy-making.

But critics have accused the Department of running away from the findings of
its own study because it has found that aircraft noise causes much more annoyance
than the Government or the aviation industry has previously admitted.   The Government
has consistently maintained that aircraft noise only starts to annoy people when
it averages out at 57 decibels.   But the new study suggests that significant annoyance
starts at around 50 decibels.   That is consistent with the findings of the World
Health Organisation.

This means that many more people than previously admitted are affected by aircraft
noise.   At Heathrow there are 258,000 residents inside the 57-decibel area, but
over 2 million live inside the 50-decibel area (2).

Local campaign groups argue they have been telling the Government this for years.
John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, said, “Local people have been vindicated.   For over
10 years now local people in areas more than 15 miles from the airport have been
complaining about aircraft noise problems.   This study shows they have not been
imagining it.”

Although the study is a national one, it will cause particular problems for the
Government over its plans to expand Heathrow which are expected to be put out
to public consultation next month.   The Government has pledged that the expansion
plans will not go ahead if the number of people living in the 57-decibel areas
were to increase.   Their new study suggests that a better cut off point would
be the 50-decibel area.

The study found that the existing method of measuring aircraft noise, adopted
a quarter of a century ago, is too narrow and outdated.   It fails to take account
of the huge growth in the number of flights. While individual aircraft have become
quieter, the number of flights at Heathrow has grown from 273,000 in 1982 to 477,000
last year.

John Stewart added: “For the Government this new study is an inconvenient truth.
It gets in the way of their expansion plans.   But, instead of running away from
it, it needs to face up to the stark reality that millions of people’s lives are
being blighted by aircraft noise.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

(1). The ANASE Study was commissioned in 2001.   The previous study had been published
in 1985.

(2). Places in the 50 decibel-area would include large chunks of Berkshire and
most of London stretching into South East London and into areas of North London
such as Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington.

For more information contact John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

Press release dated:   2nd November 2007

 http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=933

 

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Read more »

Manchester Airport Enterprise Zone causing piecemeal environmental destruction of Green Belt countryside

The new Manchester Airport Enterprise Zone is causing the piecemeal environmental destruction of Green Belt countryside. There are local concerns that airport-centric urban sprawl is destroying green space and open countryside, and locking in reliance on fossil fuel intensive infrastructure.  The development of an Enterprise Zone, link road and 9,000-space car park is proceeding apace in the face of resistance from local communities. Planning permission is being granted in a piecemeal fashion, so there is little publicity of, or opportunity to oppose, the overarching goal: increasing climate damaging transportation. Construction of a key component of the Zone, the World Logistics Hub, with 43 warehouses, office space and a 1,473 space car park  has already begun. Earthworks, tree felling and installation of drainage are already under way,  and wildlife and habitats are being destroyed. There are likely to be fewer new jobs than expected, as many will just move in from elsewhere for the tax breaks and subsidies. Government backing for the Enterprise Zone suggests a desperate shortage of business space in the area. In fact, there is a surfeit of empty offices, warehouses and paved areas. More detail from Rose Bridger. 
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Manchester Airport – the concrete shadow spreads

By Rose Bridger  (in The Ecologist)

22nd February 2014

“>Earthworks under way and trees felled at the 'World Logistics Hub' site. Photo: Jonathan Gatward / intouchphotos.webs.com.
Earthworks under way and trees felled at the ‘World Logistics Hub’ site. Photo: Jonathan Gatward / intouchphotos.webs.com.

The new Manchester Airport Enterprise Zone is causing the piecemeal environmental destruction of Green Belt countryside, reports Rose Bridger – all sacrificed to an archaic vision of fossil-powered economic growth.

Airport centric urban sprawl is metastasizing over green space, locking in reliance on fossil fuel intensive infrastructure.

A vast swathe of open countryside is being lost to construction projects to support the growth of air traffic at Manchester Airport.

The development of an Enterprise Zone, link road and 9,000-space car park is proceeding apace in the face of resistance from local communities.

And the Government is backing it all to the hilt – even though the planned increases in air and road travel make a mockery of its greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments.

If the developers get their way – which barring a massive upsurge in resistance they will – far more will go the same way.

World Logistics Hub

Manchester’s World Logistics Hub

A flagship project

Planning permission is being granted in a piecemeal fashion, so there is little publicity of, or opportunity to oppose, the overarching goal: increasing climate damaging transportation.

Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone is a flagship project of the UK Government. The plan is for development in stages on parcels of land, including south of the district of Wythenshawe, formerly in the Green Belt.

The designation ensured strict controls on development. But since the government changed the law, in July 2012, the usual planning procedures can be circumvented.

Will the Enterprise Zone create jobs – or suck them away?

Construction of a key component of the Enterprise Zone, the World Logistics Hub, comprising 43 warehouses, office space and a 1,473 space car park on former greenbelt land around Sunbank Lane has already commenced. Earthworks, tree felling and installation of drainage are already under way.

The site contains fields used for grazing and is a haven for wildlife hosting oak trees, hedgerows and 12 ponds. Some of the ponds are occupied by Great crested newts, an endangered species meant to be protected across the EU under the Habitats and Species Directive.

Businesses will be lured to the Enterprise Zone with tax breaks: a business rate discount of £275,000 per eligible business over a five year period, tax credits for research and development and enhanced capital allowances.

Undoubtedly, this will attract tenants, but this does not necessarily mean creation of new jobs. Pre-existing jobs will be displaced as businesses relocate to take advantage of the subsidies.

Industrial, warehouse and office space in surplus

The cost of the business rate discount will be met by the Treasury and future business rate income will be “retained and deployed to support the Greater Manchester economic priorities of the Greater Manchester local authorities and their partners.”

The community has no direct say in the allocation of future business rate income, assuming that there is a net increase. The ‘economic priorities’ of Greater Manchester and its partners may well include continued preferential treatment for aviation dependent firms.

Government backing for the Enterprise Zone suggests a desperate shortage of business space in the area. In fact, there is a surfeit of empty offices, warehouses and paved areas.

At the time of writing, a property website listed 327 industrial premises available to rent in Manchester. Thousands upon thousands of square metres of warehouse and office space is languishing empty; the largest vacant sites boast several hectares of available space.

There is no need for more prefabricated grey sheds to be plonked down on precious remaining countryside. Regeneration of established urbanisation would preserve green space.

Passenger numbers and freight tonnage are falling

Success of the Enterprise Zone is heavily dependent upon passenger and cargo growth at Manchester Airport. The Masterplan forecasts up to 38 million passengers by 2015, and 50 million by 2030.

But current passenger numbers, 20.6 million in 2013, are actually lower than in the years preceding the economic downturn.

Reaching the anticipated cargo volumes of 250,000 tonnes by 2015 would only be possible with an unprecedented turnaround. In recent years cargo has plummeted, from 151,000 tonnes in 2006 to a current level of 100,000 tonnes.

The biggest development since the Olympics

Manchester Airport City is the core component of the Enterprise Zone. With a 64 hectare site to the north of the airport, it is the largest UK development project since the Olympics.

The goal is to emulate airports such as Frankfurt, Schiphol and Copenhagen, which are surrounded by urban development.

Proponents talk the talk of how the development will benefit the regional economy. But it aims to be a destination in its own right, maximising the time passengers spend within the airport city: attending meetings in offices, shopping, enjoying entertainment and leisure facilities and staying in hotels.

Prioritising tenants that will use air services will increase the airport’s passenger numbers and cargo volumes, and establish a symbiotic relationship between growth of the airport and growth of the aviation dependent businesses clustered around it.

veneer of greenery is planned: a park, an “iconic landscaped pedestrian green bridge”over the M56 motorway and a “natural habitat corridor linking to off site green spaces to encourage wildlife”. The latter is ironic as the wider Enterprise Zone project is gobbling up green space.

Manchester Airport City aims to increase trade with China, and the Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG) has made an investment of £12 million.

The China card

Flying in more high value goods from China, such as electronic products, is obviously feasible. But the UK manufacturing sector is fragile. A recent increase in manufacturing output and exports still leaves a gaping trade deficit.

In September – November 2013 the UK’s trade with China hit record highs, but exports of £3.3 billion were dwarfed by imports of £8.6 billion. The value of goods imported to Manchester Airport could be higher than the value of goods exported, draining the regional economy.

Employers in the airport’s catchment area could use air services to outsource manufacturing to cheaper locations in China. Maybe Manchester Airport will focus on exporting pigs to China.

A few months ago, the airport reported that pigs were being flown to China, up to 900 at a time in Boeing 747s. Major UK pig breeders were benefiting from China’s massive increase in pork production.

Conflicts of interest?

If the Airport City makes a profit, private firms stand to take a hefty slice of it. Manchester Airports Group (MAG) holds a 50% stake, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund 10%. Carillion, a major construction and facilities management firm, has a 20% stake, as does BCEG.

Carillion and BCEG are acting as co-contractors – the two firms are anticipated to set up a consortium to deliver the scheme. So, in addition to entitlement to a proportion of profits as part owners, Carillion and BCEG are set to benefit from payment for contracts.

Carillion estimates it will deliver £580 million of construction work for the Airport City. It is also set to cash in on a new link road to improve access to the Airport City Enterprise Zone.

In a joint venture with construction firm Morgan Sindall the firm has been awarded the contract for building a 10 kilometre stretch of dual carriageway connecting the A6 in Hazel Grove, via the existing A555, to the airport.

Money no object for roads – public transport slashed

Stockport Council granted planning permission for the road even though a public consultation saw just nine letters in support, far outnumbered by 102 against. Cheshire East and Manchester City councils have yet to vote on the road project, but the £290 million funding package was approved in August 2013.

£185 million is public funds: £165 million of specific Department for Transport capital grant plus £20 million Local Transport Plan (LTP) funding.

The remaining £105 million is additional capital grant funding from the Government through the ‘Earn Back’ model, whereby funds are borrowed from future business rates, based on a risky assumption of economic growth.

Funding for the road has been granted as councils cut services and jobs. Stockport Council announced £12 million cuts hitting libraries, after school clubs, a youth centre and other services. Swingeing cuts to public transport in Greater Manchester include reducing support for bus services by £7.1 million.

Carr Wood, a bluebell wood with a carpet of flowers in spring, is in the path of the planned ‘relief road’. Photo: Joanna Hulme

No ‘relief’ for residents

Described as a ‘relief road’, the link road threatens the very opposite of ‘relief’, afflicting communities with loss of green space, noise, health damage from air pollution and light pollution at night.

PAULA (Poynton Against Unnecessary Link-Roads To The Airport), a group of residents from Poynton, Hazel Grove, and Bramhall opposed to the road, has raised many important environmental concerns:

  • The route through Cheshire East is entirely on greenbelt land.
  • Trees that are 400 years old and Carr Wood, a 1,000 year old bluebell wood, are in the path of the planned road.
  • A section of the route cuts through a flood plain, so would either be elevated on bunds, creating visual blight, or require a costly drainage system.
  • Several schools are close to the route, one just metres away, so children would be exposed to high levels of traffic fumes.
  • Concerns that the road will lead to urban sprawl alongside it were confirmed by a phone number on the official website, for developers interested in buying land.

Eco-disaster, economic ignorance

Analyses of the road plans, commissioned by the Campaign for Better Transport (CfBT) and the North West Transport Roundtable (NW TAR), are heavily critical of the assessment of environmental impacts.

Consideration of loss of hedgerows, greenbelt and agricultural land was inadequate, as was the effect on air quality, including in areas where air pollution levels already breached EU legal limits.

The report also demolished the economic case for the road. A simplistic presumption thatroad building creates economic benefits has been discredited and the relief road relies heavily on traffic growth forecasts that have been overtaken by events; car traffic has actually reduced.

Economic activity is likely to be displaced from existing centres, as businesses would be attracted by the tax breaks at the airport Enterprise Zone.

Roads all about airport growth – at any cost

The link road project is dressed up as a scheme to benefit communities by easing traffic congestion, but the main goal is to facilitate growth at the airport.

Furthermore, construction would trigger an entire new network of co-dependent roads.Already, a second ‘relief’ road has been proposed.

Connecting the ‘relief’ road to the M60 motorway, the route would run northwards through a green corridor in Bredbury, impacting on ancient woodland.

Both roads are among 600 throughout England and Wales that were planned, then abandoned, in the 1990s. Now the road plans have been resurrected by the government.CfBT describes them as ‘zombie’ projects.

A 9,000 car park is under construction on green space near the end of a runway. Photo: Jonathan Gatward

Parking for 9,000 cars on former Green Belt

Yet more former Green Belt land is to be concreted over for a new airport car park, with 9,000 spaces.

Moss Nook, near the end of a runway, is being sacrificed to provide 6,000 new car park spaces and replace an existing 3,000 space car park which is being repurposed for the Airport City.

Planning permission was granted contrary to the votes of local ward councillors and in spite of strong opposition from residents, 120 of whom turned up at the decision making meeting. A petition with 2,200 signatures was submitted – and ignored.

A danger to the public

Already under construction, the site is near the end of a runway, in a ‘public safety zone’ – where development is normally restricted to reduce risk to people on the ground in case of aircraft accidents on landing and take-off.

Safety has been compromised. Should a plane collide with the car park an explosion of jet fuel could be compounded by explosion of thousands of cars’ petrol tanks.

In the recent extreme weather a plane’s wing almost clipped the runway as it landed in gale force winds, a warning sign that climate change necessitates revision of air safety regulations.

Development for its own sake

Expansion of Manchester Airport, and its supporting road infrastructure, is a bonanza for the construction industry, but devastating environmental impacts are already evident and the economic case has not been made. It is development for its own sake.

Airport centric urban sprawl is metastasizing over green space, locking in reliance on fossil fuel intensive infrastructure.

Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport (SEMA) and other campaign groups are working hard for more sustainable alternatives – building on the success of improved public transport in Manchester, constraining aviation growth and shifting to surface transport, but their voices are not being heard.


 

Petition: Poynton Against the A555 (Petition Buzz)

Rose Bridger (@RoseKBridger) is the author of Plane Truth: Aviation’s Real Impact on People and the Environment, published by Pluto Press in October 2013.

Read more on rosebridger.com.

 

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2292374/manchester_airport_the_concrete_shadow_spreads.html

 

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Terminal Passengers:  

(thousands)

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 10.3)  Terminal Passengers  2002 – 2012

2012     19,654,100  (up + 4.5% on 2011)
2011     18,807(up + 6% on 2010)
2010    17,663,000 (down -5% on 2009)  
2009    18,631,242  (down – 11.5% from 2008)
2008    21,063   thousand   (down  – 4% from 2007)
2007    21,892  (down – 1% from 2006)

2006    22,124
2005    22,083
2000    18,349
1997    15,726

Air Transport Movements

Number of ATMs (thousands)

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 4.2) ATMs 2002 – 2012

2012    160,473 (up  1.55 on 211)
2011    158,000 (up + 6%  on 2010)
2010    149,000  (down -8% on 2009)
2009   162,182  (down  – 15.2% from 2008)
2008    191 thousand  (down   – 7% from 2007)
2007    207   (down – 3%  from 2006)

2006    213
2005    218
2000    178
1997    148

 

Air Freight tonnage

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 13.2) Freight 2002 – 2012

2012       96,822 (down – 10% on 2011)
2011      107,415 ( down – 7% on 2010)
 2010     115,922  (up +13% on 2009)   
2009     102,543  (down – 285 on 2008)
2008     141,781  (-14% from 2007)
2007     165,366  (up 11% from 2006)

2006     148,957
2005     147,484
2000     116,602
1997      94,318

 

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Berlin’s Schönefeld airport ‘to stay open’ as Brandenburg airport (at huge expense) not ready till 2015 at the earliest

Berlin’s old Schönefeld airport is likely to remain open as a destination for budget airlines despite a multi-billion airport being built next to it, at Berlin Brandenburg (BER), as the new international hub is too small.  It is the latest in a long line of setbacks to hit the BER, which is over budget and behind time. It will have two runways.  It is expected to open in 2015 at the earliest.  Officially the cost of the airport is €4.3 billion, though initial cost estimates were €1.2 and it could cost up to €6 billion. Despite the huge cost, the airport will only have a capacity of 27 million passengers a year, so its ageing neighbour, Schönefeld, will need to stay open.  The original plan had been for Schönefeld, which caters for budget airlines, to merge with BER.  Keeping Schönefeld in operation would increase capacity by 7.5 million passengers a year and avoid further costs of building a new terminal. Earlier it had been expected that BER  could be partly in use in 2014, with 10 planes per day, but that will not happen.  The airport was initially intended to open in 2010 but the multiple delays have been due to difficulties concerning fire safety, the smoke exhaust systems and construction errors.  Air Berlin is suing BER for damages due to the much delayed opening.  
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Berlin's Schönefeld airport 'to stay open'

The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Photo: DPA

Berlin’s Schönefeld airport ‘to stay open’

13 Feb 2014  (The Local – Germany’s news in English)

Berlin’s old Schönefeld airport is likely to remain open as a destination for budget airlines despite a multi-billion airport being built next to it, as the new international hub is too small.

It is the latest in a long line of setbacks to hit the Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BER) which is over budget and behind time. It is expected to open in 2015 at the earliest. Officially the cost of the airport is €4.3 billion.

Despite the huge cost, the airport will only have a capacity of 27 million passengers a year, which means that its ageing neighbour, Schönefeld, will need to stay open.

London’s Heathrow deals with 70 million passengers a year, while Frankfurt-am-Main takes 58 million.

The original plan had been for Schönefeld, which caters for budget airlines, to merge with BER.

But on Wednesday BER airport spokesman Ralf Kunkel said keeping Schönefeld open to deal with capacity problems was an “option which we’re looking at”.

The airport’s chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn has reportedly already brought the idea to the airport’s supervisory board.

Keeping Schönefeld in operation would increase capacity by 7.5 million passengers a year and avoid further costs of building a new terminal.

The farce around BER airport appeared to reach its peak in January when it emerged Mehdorn would be facing himself in a court case.

Berlin airport is facing compensation claims issued by Air Berlin for the airport’s delay – filed when Mehdorn was CEO of the airline.

READ MORE: Future of Berlin Airlift site hangs in balance

http://www.thelocal.de/20140213/berlins-schnefeld-airport-to-stay-open . .

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Earlier:

Top manager faces himself in court

16 Jan 2014 (The Local – Germany’s news in English)

It sounds like a delicious farce – Hartmut Mehdorn, boss of Berlin’s delayed international airport is facing compensation claims issued by Air Berlin – filed when the CEO of the airline was… Hartmut Mehdorn.

Sadly there is little likelihood of Mehdorn running from one side of the courtroom to another, to defend Berlin’s long-delayed international airport, BER, and then lead the attack for Air Berlin, although with his reputation for tough talking such a spectacle would be highly entertaining.

The arguments are all being made by lawyers, as Air Berlin sues BER for damages connected with the still-delayed opening, which the airline says has cost it €48 million.

Mehdorn is not expected to be in court at all.

A biography in the business magazine Wirtschaftswoche says Mehdorn was born to German parents in Poland in 1942, but the family soon moved to Berlin and then Bavaria, where his father founded a plastics factory in 1948.

He studied machine engineering in Berlin in the early 1960s. He married a French woman Héléne in 1973, with whom he has three children. His career was largely aircraft-focused, including a five-year stint on the board of the Airbus Holding.

Mehdorn first rose to international prominence when in 1999 he was appointed head of the board of Deutsche Bahn, with the mission to prepare the colossus for partial privatization.

The no-nonsense manager went about significantly reducing the workforce, cutting tens of thousands of jobs and slashing expenditure.

But as the global recession hit in 2008 and melted what little public and political support for the privatization there had been, the idea was abandoned, leaving a much slimmer Bahn arguably struggling to cope.

Mehdorn’s departure in the following year was sparked by a surveillance scandal at Deutsche Bahn which covered more than half its staff between 2002 and 2003. He and four other board members stepped down in the wake of the outrage.

Since the failed privatization and his departure, the emphasis has been on recruiting again, with 10,000 new jobs scheduled for last year.

Mehdorn’s name is still invoked when problems connected with low staffing or reduced investment arise – such as last year’s crisis at Mainz station which was closed due to lack of signalling staff.

A couple of years after leaving the Bahn, Mehdorn joined Air Berlin, an airline founded by his friend Joachim Hunold, as temporary CEO.

He initiated what many regarded as a severe savings programme and got spending under control at the struggling airline – but provoked strikes by pilots dismayed at poor pay.

Despite initially promising to stay for at least 18 months, he left in January 2013after just 16 months, and two months after that, took over the reins of BER, the hugely troubled Berlin airport.

His determination, optimism and intractable nature was perfectly illustrated in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine last June. When asked about a report suggesting there were tens of thousands of problems with the airport, he said most of them were unimportant and could be fixed easily.

And when questioned about whether the notoriously problematic smoke and fire detection systems, largely blamed for the airport’s delay, left people at risk of burning or suffocating, he said: “The danger of drowning is greater. The sprinkler system has been extensively fitted. Whoever lights just a cigarette will be completely soaked.”

When passengers will get the chance to test this promise remains almost completely open, with a date for BER’s operating start still undecided.

http://www.thelocal.de/20140116/germanys-top-manager-who-is-facing-himself-in-court-hartmut-mehdorn

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Berlin airport’s 2014 opening cancelled again

8 Jan 2014 (The Local – Germany’s news in English)

Berlin’s much-delayed international airport will not open this year, the city’s mayor said on Tuesday, dispelling hopes the troubled venture could at least partially begin flights in 2014.

“It will, de facto, be such that the airport no longer can be opened in 2014,” mayor Klaus Wowereit said who is also head of the airport’s supervisory board.

Airport chief Hartmut Mehdorn had hoped for part of BER airport’s infrastructure to be in use in March this year, with the aim of allowing the arrival and departure of 10 planes a day.

But Wowereit’s announcement on Tuesday has dispelled those hopes and added another embarrassing chapter to the airport’s short but troubled history.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport was set for a fanfare opening in June 2012  with posters dotted around the capital announcing the opening date, and international airlines including it in their schedules.

But multiple delays due to difficulties concerning fire safety, the smoke exhaust systems and construction errors have proven a blow to the capital’s image.

As one of Germany’s biggest construction projects, it has also dented Wowereit’s popularity amid claims of incompetence and having underestimated the problems linked to the plan.

Initial cost estimates of €1.2 billion have long been ditched, and the latest estimate for the project is now around €6 billion.

The new airport is designed to cater for air passengers currently using Berlin’s two other airports, Schönefeld and Tegel.

READ MORE: Berlin airport ‘needs another €1.1 billion’

http://www.thelocal.de/20140108/berlin-airport-wont-open-this-year

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Berlin airport 'needs another €1.1 billion'

Will it ever open? Photo: DPA

Berlin airport ‘needs another €1.1 billion’

4 Nov 2013 (The Local – Germany’s news in English)

The cost of Berlin’s much-delayed BER airport has rocketed by another €1.1 billion, bringing the expected bill to nearly €6 billion – three times the initial estimate, it was reported on Friday.

A confidential report from the company leading the enormous project, WSP/CBP, showed that the project which started out as a prestige endeavour, yet rapidly turned into a farce, could only be finished with a cash injection of €1.1 billion.

Bild newspaper said it had seen the report listing key areas in need of a financial boost as being the building and planning section of the project, as well as sound insulation. Construction costs of the still-unfinished international hub have been climbing steadily since it began in 2006.

Where the additional money would come from was unclear, said airport bosses. It was likely, Bild said, that it would come from public funding.

Managers received an extra €1.2 billion just a year ago, to continue construction. This pushed the cost up to €4.6 billion. The new demand for €1.1 billion would shove this total to €5.7 billion.

It is thought that the airport should finally open towards the end of 2014, or beginning of 2015, years behind schedule.

READ MORE: Sparks (not planes) fly over Berlin’s airport

http://www.thelocal.de/20131104/new-berlin-airport-needs-another-billion

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Sparks (not planes) fly over Berlin’s airport

24 Oct 2013 (The Local – Germany’s news in English)

The technical director of Berlin’s embarrassingly delayed airport is to leave his position in favour of a more modest role heading an energy and water supply company, it emerged on Wednesday.

The move follows months of in-house wrangling among project bosses.

Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, said the airport’s supervisory board had come to a “mutual agreement” with technical director Horst Amann, who was head-hunted for the role in June of 2012 but failed to kick-start the ailing project.

The cost of the delayed airport is now estimated at €5 billion.

Amann was chosen for the job because of his experience building Frankfurt airport. But he developed a stormy relationship with Berlin airport chief Hartmut Mehdorn, who reportedly wrote to Wowereit in September to demand Amann’s resignation.

Amann in turn accused Mehdorn of aggressiveness and misconduct.

Wowereit expressed disappointment that the airport had suffered further delays and that the opening date proposed by Amann was the fourth to pass without any sign of the project nearing completion.

However, he stressed that Amann had taken the job under difficult circumstances and had – by listing and categorizing some 60,000 problems with the project – formed a basis upon which subsequent decisions could be made.

After four opening day flops, members of the airport’s supervisory board are now shying away from naming a new date.

“We will only choose a date when it’s absolutely clear that things are well on their way and that nothing more can go wrong,” Wowereit said.

Berlin’s mayor has been the acting head of the airport’s supervisory board since Brandenburg’s former governor Matthias Platzeck stepped down from the role in August.

A replacement for Amann is not being sought and it is understood that Mehdorn will take over a number of his responsibilities.

The company Amann is to head currently supplies Berlin’s two existing airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, with energy and water. The new Berlin-Brandenburg airport is supposedly to be added to his company’s portfolio once – or if – it opens.

READ MORE: Even Berlin airport’s partial opening delayed

http://www.thelocal.de/20131024/52549.

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Even Berlin airport's partial opening delayed

Photo: DPA

Even Berlin airport’s partial opening delayed

19 Jul 2013   (The Local – Germany’s news in English)

Concern is rising in Berlin that the much-delayed and over-budget BER new international airport could be even later than expected after an expected partial opening seemed likely to be put back by several months.

Project manager Hartmut Mehdorn had announced plans to bring at least a part of the huge new airport into service at the end of this year as a form of test, an important political step forward, the Tagesspiegel reported on Friday.

But even this now is considered unlikely, the paper said, prompting criticism of Mehdorn from city politicians. “The airport manager is obviously not doing the work he is supposed to be doing – namely turning a huge mess into a working company,” said Martin Delius, Berlin state MP for the Pirate Party and chairman of the BER investigative committee.

The north pier of the airport was planned to start handling planes this December – but this can only happen after a six-week testing period. And it seems now that the building authorities will only give permission for that period to begin at the start of 2014, which means any partial opening would only be feasible in spring.

The latest timetable is to have the entire airport open for business towards the end of 2014 or in early 2015.

The airport, initially expected to cost around €1.2 billion, is now expected to cost more in the region of €5 billion. Maintenance and security for the half-built building is said to be costing up to €50 million a month, while the uncertainty regarding its opening also impacts on the city’s Tegel airport, the paper said.

It was due to be closed in 2011 – when BER was due to start operating – but is now working over-capacity.

The Local/hc

http://www.thelocal.de/20130719/50945

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Earlier:

 

Berlin Brandenburg airport may be able to open for 10 flights per day by April 2014

18.8.2013      .A board overseeing the completion of Berlin’s new Brandenburg airport – subject to a string of delays – has backed a plan for its opening early next year. However, initial operations would be limited to just 10 flights, and some 1,500 passengers, per day. Airlines Air Germania and Condor set to be the first to operate there, and even that needs work on the northern wing of the airport to be completed. This might happen by March or April 2014.  An exact timetable would need to be confirmed in the next few months.The new airport has been a costly embarrassment, subject to a series of cost overruns and delays to its opening, chiefly because of a faulty fire safety system. It was originally due to open October 2011. That date was changed to June 2012, and subsequently to March 2013 and later to October 2013. It was planned to replace Berlin’s 3 smaller airports, Tegel, Schönfeld and the already-closed Tempelhof. The airport’s cost  has risen from €2.4 billion to €4.3 billion. In July there was further controversy as flight paths were found not to have been checked for their environmental impact, and will endanger wildlife and even Berlin’s water supply.     .http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17574 

Catalogue of delays and problems for the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (Willy-Brandt)

April 9, 2013      Brandenburg (Willy Brandt) airport has become a symbol of how, even for the remarkably technologically successful Germans, things can go horribly wrong. There is currently no opening date set. It has a range of problems, many caused by such complicated and advanced computer systems and technologies, that engineers cannot work out how to fix them. Thousands of light bulbs illuminate the gigantic main terminal and the car park 24 hours per day, which is a massive cost and waste of energy; officials cannot work out how to turn them off as the computer system that’s so sophisticated it’s almost impossible to operate. Every day, an empty commuter train rolls to the unfinished airport over an 8 km stretch to keep the newly-laid tracks from getting rusty – more waste. Several escalators need to be rebuilt because they were too short; and dozen of tiles were already broken before a single airport passenger ever stepped on them. Then there are the fire system problems – with some technology that is so advanced that technicians can’t work out what’s wrong with it.     Click here to view full story…

Berlin Airport CEO Rainer Schwarz “dismissed” as opening delayed indefinitely

17 Jan 2013   Berlin Brandenburg Airport’s CEO Rainer Schwarz has been dismissed from his role “with immediate effect”.  He has been CEO since 2006. The opening of the airport is now delayed indefinitely, with no date given. This has caused great embarrassment for Berlin’s authorities.  Originally due to open in June 2012, this date was first delayed until March 17, 2013, when problems with the airport’s fire safety systems were discovered. In October 2012 it was announced that the opening would be October 27, 2013. But now fire problems are still on-going and October is no longer realistic, and even setting a new date is at least several months away. At its meeting on January 16, the board and appointed as its new chairman, Matthias Platzeck, Prime Minister of the State of Brandenburg. He will succeed Klaus Wowereit, mayor of Berlin, who held this position since 2001.  The board said that in future a triumvirate would head the company.   http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1703 

Further fire safety problems at Berlin Brandenburg Airport mean it cannot open in October, so delayed till unknown date in 2014

January 8, 2013     Berlin’s Brandenburg airport was initially due to open in June 2012. It has problems with fire safety, smoke extraction system, and fresh air supply in the event of fire. Therefore the opening was put off till October 2013. It has now been announced that the airport will now open on an unknown date in 2014. Based on the previous timetable, construction work was due to be completed by May 2013 to allow a 5-month period for trial operations before the official opening. There may be other technical problems as well, such as on baggage handling. When completed, the airport will take over from the ageing Tegel and Schoenefeld airports. It is expected to be able to eventually handle up to 27 million passengers a year, but this figure has been reduced from the initial figure of 45 million. The cost of the project has risen, from an estimated £1.6 billion to more than £3.2 billion and the latest delays are likely to increase the costs further. A growing chorus of critics is calling for the city’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, to step down over the matter.   Click here to view full story…

 

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Heathrow cutting 200 jobs (20% of total core staff) due to CAA restriction on landing charge rises

Heathrow Airport is planning to cut 20% of its core workforce despite turning its first profit since 2006 and said it is undergoing a “major” restructuring.  Its full-year results statement showed it made a £426m pre-tax profit last year, up from a £33m loss previously, helped by the £1.5bn sale of Stansted in February 2013. Heathrow says it is making the staff cuts due to the CAA not allowing it to increase landing charges, though  Heathrow can appeal till March 27th.  These will be reduced in real terms by 1.5% below the rate of inflation every year until 2019. Colin Matthews said the cuts are likely to affect around 200 staff but no front-line roles, such as security, will be affected. Heathrow employs 7,000 people in total but 1,000 of those roles are part of its “central” head office structure, which is where the job losses are, partly due to having sold off its other airports. In 2013 Heathrow’s revenue rose 11.3%to £2.5bn, and it had 72.3 million passengers, though that is far below earlier forecasts for 2013 traffic.  Excluding money from selling Stansted, Heathrow’s EBITDA rose 23.1% in 2013 to £1.4bn.  The number employed by Heathrow Airport Ltd in 2012 was 5,278 (compared to 5,265 in 2011 and 5,148 in 2010).  

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Heathrow cutting 200 jobs to meet “draconian” CAA ruling

Heathrow Airport said it is undergoing a “major” restructuring despite making its first profit since 2006.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow, said the opening of the new Terminal 2 in June will “be another major step in the transformation of Heathrow”. 

By , Transport and Leisure Correspondent  (Telegraph)

24 Feb 2014

Heathrow Airport is planning to cut a fifth of its core workforce despite turning its first profit since 2006.

The airport said it is undergoing a “major” restructuring in its full-year results statement on Monday, which showed that it swung to a £426m pre-tax profit last year from a £33m loss previously, helped by the £1.5bn sale last February of Stansted Airport.

It is the first year Heathrow has generated a profit since it was taken over in 2006 by a consortium led by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial.

Despite the profit boost, the airport is cutting costs to meet what it has previously described as a “draconian” ruling by the Civil Aviation Authority that it must reduce charges for airlines in real terms from April.

Colin Matthews, Heathrow’s chief executive, said the cuts are likely to affect around 200 staff but no front-line roles, such as security, will be affected.

Heathrow employs 7,000 people in total but 1,000 of those roles are part of its “central” head office structure, which is the focus of the restructuring.

“We are talking about people who used to work in our headquarters,” Mr Matthews said. “We used to be a company that ran more airports. We have been reducing the costs and we need to do so significantly now to get in line with the amount of money we are allowed to make from airlines.”

From April, Heathrow’s airport charges – which are typically passed on to passengers through higher ticket prices – will be reduced in real terms by 1.5pc below the rate of inflation every year until 2019.

The airport is currently examining whether to appeal the CAA’s ruling but has already started to push through a cost-cutting programme, which has also involved management agreeing to pay freezes. Heathrow and airlines have until March 27 to appeal the CAA’s ruling, which was handed down last month.

Heathrow’s revenue rose 11.3pc to £2.5bn in 2013, as more than 72 million passengers passed through its doors for the first time in its history.

Passenger numbers hit 72.3m, up 3.4pc on 2012, although the figure is still far short of the 78m passengers the hub had been forecast to reach by the CAA.

Passenger numbers were boosted by airlines using larger jets and higher load factors – a measure of how many seats on a flight are occupied.

Heathrow saw 470,000 flights take off or land from its two runways last year, 10,000 fewer than its legal limit.

The hub said it is refining its proposals for a third runway to the north-west of its current site, after the plan was short-listed by the Government-backed Airports Commission, which will recommend next year where to build extra runway capacity in the south east of England.

Stripping out the contribution of last year’s sale of Stansted to Manchester Airports Group and other exception items, Heathrow’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose 23.1pc to a record £1.4bn which, Mr Matthews pointed out, is “just a touch bigger” than the £1.3bn invested in improving the airport’s facilities last year.

In June, Heathrow will open a new Terminal 2 building which will be home to 26 airlines.

Heathrow has reportedly received an offer from Ferrovial to buy its three remaining regional airports, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton.

Mr Matthews declined to comment on the sale process other than to say that “ultimately shareholders will decide whether they want to keep those airports or not”.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10657989/Heathrow-cutting-200-jobs-to-meet-draconian-CAA-ruling.html


 

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See also report by Optimal Economics in 2011:

This states:
“Heathrow Airport is one of the largest employment sites in London with over 76,600 people working within the Airport boundary creating gross value added (GVA) of almost £3.3 billion.
A further 7,700 people are employed in the local area (Hillingdon, Hounslow, Spelthorne, Ealing and Slough) in activities which are directly related to the Airport but who work outside the Airport boundary.
GVA of £0.3 billion is supported by these jobs.
2. There are further indirect and induced jobs supported in the local area, London and elsewhere in the UK through the purchases of goods and services and through the expenditures of employees. Table 1 provides a summary of the total employment and 
GVA supported by the Airport.
3. A total of 114,000 jobs and GVA of £5.3 billion is supported in the local area by the operation of Heathrow Airport. These jobs represent approximately 22% of total employment in the local area. That is, one in five jobs in the local area is dependent on the Airport.
4. In London, some 136,600 jobs and GVA of £7 billion are supported by Heathrow. Heathrow related employment and GVA accounts for approximately 3.4% of total jobs in
London and 2.6% of GVA.
5. Across the UK as a whole, Heathrow supports almost 206,000 jobs and GVA of almost £9.7 billion. That is, Heathrow related GVA accounts for 0.8% of UK GVA. This is a
considerable contribution to the UK economy from a single employment site.”

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The airport sustains approximately 76,600 jobs directly and around 116,000 indirectly in the immediate area (source of the data unclear).
Companies have a legal duty to publish, in their annual reports, the average number of employees (full time equivalents) during the financial year.  Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) employees are actually employed by a holding company, BAA Airports Ltd but, even so, the HAL annual accounts state the average number of employees at Heathrow.
HAL’s 2013 accounts have not yet been filed with Companies House but for 2012 the number was 5,278 (compared to 5,265 in 2011 and 5,148 in 2010).These numbers are, of course, only those directly employed by BAA/HAL.  Many more people are employed directly on site and indirectly and, in July 2013, HAL produced an estimate of 114,000 local jobs supported by Heathrow of which 76,600 were directly employed on the Heathrow site. http://www.heathrowairport.com/static/Heathrow/Downloads/PDF/a-new-approach_LHR.pdf
The actual numbers employed at Heathrow are complicated by the fact that “Heathrow Airport Ltd”  now says: “The Company has no direct employees. The staff are employed by LHR Airports Limited, a fellow subsidiary entity of the Heathrow Airport Holdings Group.”
The Heathrow Airport Ltd accounts contain employment costs, but state that: “Employment costs include recharges from LHR Airports Limited for employee services to the Group‟s business.”  link

The
Heathrow (SP) Limited Results for the year ended 31 December 2013
is at http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/imagelibrary/downloadmedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=2064&SizeId=-1

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‘Unclear whether government, Mayor or local authorities would pay EU air quality fines for London

Air quality experts and politicians have reacted to the EU’s decision to pursue legal action against the UK government for breaching limits for NO2 in 16 of 43 zones in the country and failing to reduce concentrations by the 2010 deadline.  There are questions whether the UK government or local authorities would pay the £300 million fines that could be levied. If the government passes the fines on to local authorities, this will be harsh and counter-productive to good local air quality management, which is already struggling for resources at local level. With improvements to car engines, some reduction in NO2 is expected in coming years:  “by around 2030 the Euro 6 [vehicle emissions standards] and subsequent standards will have brought compliance just about everywhere with NO2.” An expert commentted: “…you are not going to improve NOx and NO2 unless you really target road transport in cities and towns. Nothing else is really going to deliver.” London was singled out as having the highest levels of NO2 emissions of any city in Europe.  Murad Qureshi thought at least a sizeable part of a possible EU fine would have to be paid by the Mayor of London. Air quality is poor around Heathrow.
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‘Unclear’ who would pay UK air quality fines, say experts

February 21, 2014 (Air Quality News)

Air quality experts and politicians react to the EU’s legal action over the UK’s failure to meet air quality standards, which could result in £300m fines each year

Air quality experts and politicians have reacted to the EU’s decision to take the UK to court over its failure to meet standards for nitrogen dioxide, but have questioned whether it would be the UK government or local authorities paying the £300 million fines that could be levied as a result.

Yesterday (February 20), the European Commission announced that it was pursuing legal action against the UK government for breaching limits for nitrogen dioxide in 16 of 43 zones in the country and failing to reduce concentrations by the 2010 deadline (see airqualitynews.com story).

Emissions from road and traffic pollution is largely to blame for the UK’s failure to comply with EU standards for nitrogen dioxide

As a result, the UK could face EU fines of up to £300 million for every year that it fails to comply with the air quality standards.

Roger Barrowcliffe, chair of the Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) – a membership organisation for air quality professionals – said it was currently unclear who would have to pay such a fine – but that as a result of Local Air Quality Management legislation giving more responsibility to councils, it could be local authorities footing some of the bill.

However, he told airqualitynews.com: “Should the government pass them on to local authorities, this will be very harsh and counterproductive to good local air quality management, which is struggling for resources at local level in any event.”

Mr Barrowcliffe also said he was “surprised” it had taken so long for the Commission to take the decision, but that the government really needed to target road transport emissions if the UK is going to reach compliance for nitrogen dioxide.

And, he was also unimpressed with the Commission’s new package of air quality policies launched in December (see airqualitynews.com story), which he described as “anaemic”.

Euro 6

Mr Barrowcliffe said: “Will the EU’s legal action against the UK make a difference? This gets to the heart of the matter in my view. There is a reasonable basis for thinking that by around 2030 the Euro 6 [vehicle emissions standards] and subsequent standards will have brought compliance just about everywhere with nitrogen dioxide. It is clearly a problem that will be solved in time. It depends whether it is worth the EU spending more money to get there faster.”

He added that the next five years were “really crucial” for nitrogen dioxide emissions as “we will have a much clearer idea of whether the Euro 6 emission standards have delivered.”

However, he did have some sympathy for politicians in charge of air quality. He said: “Is government doing enough? Clearly not because if you define success as lowering concentrations fast enough to meet the limits then no one is doing enough. However, if you put yourself in their position what levers have you got to improve the situation?

“It takes political muscle to put in place LEZs. I think obviously it is clear to most people that you are not going to improve NOx and NO2 unless you really target road transport in cities and towns. Nothing else is really going to deliver. You don’t need to be in air quality management to understand that.”

Mr Barrowcliffe commented: “It will be interesting as we come towards the general election next year how this plays out, if at all, in the political arena.”

Green Party

Green Party MEP for South East England and air quality campaigner, Keith Taylor, had little sympathy for the UK government meanwhile.

Speaking to airqualitynews.com, he said: “I think what we have to remember is that the UK played their part in actually setting the standards back in the late 1990s. Since then they have not really improved things in any meaningful way, and that is a matter of very deep regret for the near 30,000 people a year who are dying because of poor air quality. We should not have set up the standards if we were not prepared to meet them.”

Asked whether he thought the legal action would help improve air quality in the UK, Mr Taylor said: “If the government won’t comply because it is the right thing to do, then perhaps they will if they face a £300 million fine each year.”

But, he added: “I do not want the EU to have to fine the UK, especially because the public have already paid the price in terms of health – it would add insult to injury.

“Quite how they want to discharge the fine I don’t know. There was talk of the fines being paid by the local council which would be totally irresponsible.”

London Assembly

London in particular was singled out as having the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions of any city in Europe, and is not expected to comply with EU standards until 2025 – 15 years later than the EU target of 2010.

Labour London Assembly member Murad Qureshi – who also chairs the Assembly’s health and environment committee – told airqualitynews.com that he thought at least a sizeable part of a possible EU fine would have to be paid by the Mayor of London, “whoever that will be at the time”.

He said: “I would much rather we responded to the public health issue than the fear of facing a £300 million fine. Air pollution is a silent killer of thousands of people and I would like to think that was the reason for dealing with this problem.”

Mr Qureshi said it could potentially be a big political issue at the upcoming EU elections in May 2014.

He said: “The right may say that this is unwarranted from the EU, while those on the left may welcome this environmental intervention. It could be seen as an issue of sovereignty, but the EU really has been leading the way on environmental issues for many years now.”

http://www.airqualitynews.com/2014/02/21/unclear-who-would-pay-uk-air-quality-fines-say-experts/

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Earlier:

European Commission launches legal action against UK over failure to reduce air pollution

Date added: February 20, 2014

The European Commission has launched legal proceedings over levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in many British cities. There has been a long-running legal battle between London and Brussels over the 16 urban centres in the UK that will not be able to meet binding air quality standards by 2015, despite being granted a 5-year extension following the original 2010 deadline for compliance with the rules. 15 of the affected zones will not meet the standards until 2020 and parts of London are unlikely to meet NO2 standards until 2025, a full 15 years later than the original deadline. The EC has now started the legal case, which is likely to result in hefty fines of many millions of ££s which should have the effect of accelerating efforts to tackle air pollution. The zones included Greater London and the South East. The legal case has been precipitated by the environmental campaign group ClientEarth. The UK has some of the highest levels of NO2 in Europe. The UK government now has 2 months to respond to the EC’s legal action. The Heathrow area has bad air quality levels, due partly to the planes but with an even higher proportion from the intense road traffic, especially diesel vehicles, that the airport attracts.

Click here to view full story…

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ANASE study on attitudes to aircraft noise to be updated to show real impact of Heathrow flight paths

The Sunday Times reports that on 26th February the researchers who worked on the ANASE (Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England) study of the effect of aircraft noise will publish an updated report. The 2007 ANASE was an expensive and extensive study, looking at what levels of aircraft noise annoyed people being overflown.  It found that, contrary to the “prevailing wisdom” the widely used 57 decibel contour was not the actual threshold of community annoyance. In reality, much lower noise levels caused annoyance, and also upset and disturbed people. The research suggests that significant annoyance starts at about 50dB.  The reality is that many areas (including Putney, Battersea, East Sheen, Barnes and Ealing), which are not included in the 57dB contour are badly affected by aircraft noise.The ANASE study was shelved, partly due to methodological criticisms. Now it is being updated and published by councils opposed to an increased number of flights over London, if Heathrow was to be allowed another runway.  Researchers say subsequent European research into aircraft noise backs its initial ANASE  findings. 
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Heathrow noise ‘really annoys 1m’

23.2.2014 (Sunday Times)

Full Sunday Times article at:

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/National/article1379028.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2014_02_22

MORE than 1m people may be affected by the noise of planes taking off and landing at Heathrow — almost four times the number claimed by the government.

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Opponents of plans to build a third runway at Heathrow will seize on the findings next week as they urge the Airports Commission, which is assessing possible new runways, to reject expansion.

…….

Under this measure, adopted in 1990 but based on research carried out in 1982, about 258,500 people are said to be affected by noise around Heathrow. However, residents in London areas outside the 57dB zone, including Putney, Battersea, East Sheen, Barnes and Ealing, have long complained that they, too, suffer from the noise of airliners overhead.

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The Anase report was first commissioned by the Labour government in 2001 and published in 2007, although ministers were quick to distance themselves from its findings.

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Ravi Govindia, the leader of Wandsworth council, called on Davies to stop “clinging” on to the 57dB measure. “To continue with this benchmark would be a gross injustice to flightpath communities and politically untenable. It would be wide open to legal challenge,” he said.

Full Sunday Times article at:

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/National/article1379028.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2014_02_22

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Huge protest in centre of Nantes against new airport – forceful police resistance; some rioting, violence and injuries

A huge protest took place in Nantes on 22nd February, against the planned new replacement airport to be built at Notre Dame des Landes, some miles to the north. The organisers estimated some 50 – 60,000 protesters, who came in from supportive groups from regions all across France. There are reported to have been 65 coach loads of protesters who travelled to Nantes to take part, and 520 tractors, brought by supportive farmers from surrounding areas. The protests were put down with considerable force by the police, using water canon, rubber bullets and tear gas. The issue has become very political in France. With elections coming up this  year, the Prime Minister (and former Mayor of Nantes and ardent backer of the new airport) is thought unlikely to back down from pressing for the airport. However, it is not thought likely that there will be forceful evictions of the farmers and activists who are occupying the land allocated for the airport, called the ZAD – Zone à Défendre as it would be unpopular. An opinion poll found 56% of those surveyed were against the new airport. The courts have ruled it can go ahead, but there are appeals on ground of the law on water and on biodiversity.   And blog.  Comment from a Nantes resident.
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Construction of the new airport at Notre Dame des Landes is due to start this year but has not yet begun, and the airport opening target date has been pushed back from 2017 to at least 2019.

Protest against airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes degenerates

22.2.2014  (Le Monde)

Imperfect translation into English : 

Original French at http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2014/02/22/notre-dame-des-landes-les-opposants-retournent-dans-la-rue-a-nantes_4371530_3244.html

La manifestation des opposants à l'aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes a dégénéré samedi 22 février à Nantes.

It is 17.00 hours and in Nantes, and Olivier Niol , 45, tries to maneuver his big green tractor to leave the Franklin Roosevelt during in the center of the city. The cloud of tear has almost reached him and he struggled to open his eyes.

A few dozen yards behind him, groups of protesters and riot police respond with stones , bottles and flares on one side and to the police , decided to clear the city center, tear gas concussion and a water cannon. Before the farmer’s tractor, which has come from Morbihan where he raises poultry , stands at the same time , the closing meeting of the manifestation of opponents airport Notre-Dame -des- Landes ( NDDL ) which brought together tens of thousands of people.

“The party is ruined , the organizers are overwhelmed by the radical fringe on which they rely since the beginning of this movement ,” the prefecture of Loire-Atlantique denounces.  She reported eight people wounded on the side of law enforcement , all hospitalized and dozens of men bruised and ten arrests. Journalists have also been violently attacked by opponents . No report on the number of people injured on the protesters side was available on Saturday night.

A dozen businesses were severely damaged. Crackers are also attacked a police station, an agency of the Vinci group , dealer airport project , but also street furniture or catenary SNCF to block the movement of trains. At least two construction equipment but also a barricade and a car were also burned.

The clashes left four wounded among the police .

 

The clashes left four wounded among the police.

 

GOVERNMENT WANTS TO ” GO TO FORCE “

The opposition to this project , dear to Prime Minister Jean- Marc Ayrault, former mayor of Nantes, and supported by the government, it is all at the same time : the will to fight with the police and CRS of a government that wants “force through ” this project according to critics ; and the political and legal battle to block any runway opening .

On Saturday in the streets of Nantes on Saturday, there were associatives , farmers, leftist militants ( Left Front, ZIP, etc.). , Environmentalists, trade unionists and anti-capitalist , often more extreme , as among a section of those who occupy the ZAD , the activity area deferred that has become the area to defend.

Read: Notre-Dame-des-Landes: opponents of the airport still mobilized

 

Police and gendarmes have used tear gas and water cannons against the activists.

 

20 000 and 60 000 TS MANIFESTAN

At the dispersion, it is difficult to assess the exact number of participants since the event was quickly cut into several pieces. The side of the prefecture, it was announced “around 20,000 protesters with nearly 1,000 demonstrators radicals ready for the battle that could not be controlled by the organizers “ .

The organizers themselves, claiming between 50,000 and 60,000 protesters and 520 tractors. Is more than 17 November 2012,  when 30,000 people marched to reoccupy the grove north of Nantes and against police violence.  “This is the biggest mobilization of the movement” , say the representatives of the ” coordination “of all associations opposed to the project, (ACIPA) and” Buddy “, farmers near the Confédération Paysanne and anti-capitalist living in the ZAD.  “This day is a success and the various components of the fight remain united on the area”  they said on Saturday night, in a joint statement. 

 

According to the prefecture, the event attracted around 20,000 protesters.

 

“With 65 coaches coming from 200 regional opposition groups that exist throughout France , we see that the front of solidarity has widened rejoices Julien Durand of ACIPA (inter Citizen Association of the populations concerned by the draft Airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes). And according to am IFOP opinion poll released today, a majority of French (56%) did not support the transfer of the current airport of Nantes Atlantique, to the new site that must be built in the grove at Notre Dame des Landes.. We do not really see how politically, the government can can persist . 

It is also what Olivier Niol believes, driving his tractor. “More and more farmers are opposed.  The farmer who lent me his tractor to come to Nantes – mine gave up the ghost before arriving – is not committed to the Confédération Paysanne, but he is tired that of the decline in farmland,  says this robust poultry farmer.  I do not see why the government would not back down on this issue, as they have given way several times to the right.  The government is losing the vote of the  left wing small peasant farmers.

FILE EMINENTLY POLICY

In the parade in Nantes, Saturday, Feb. 22.

 

THE CASE IS EMINENTLY POLITICAL

In the parade in Nantes, Saturday, Feb. 22 .

The case – beyond legal hazards  of the Court, were filed by opponents early in February against the orders of the prefecture on the law concerning water  and the law on protected species taken in late December – is eminently political . In the protest, many people wanted  the two heads of the executive.. “No to Ayraultport of Notre Dame des Landes ,” reads the slogans everywhere.

If the proximity of municipal elections suggests a break and no probability of intervention against the zadistes and occupants of some six farms which are still operating in the area of future construction, as well as twenty houses still occupied by individuals, whose vigilance is unabated .

“I do not believe the works will start there in the coming months ,”  says José Bové MEP Europe -Ecologie -Les Verts .  They cannot move the protected species, there are elections : any attempt by Jean- Marc Ayrault to send in the forces on the ground would meet stronger opposition even than in November 2012 . The political risk is too great. ”  The government will not back down because this is absurd , also ensures the co-chair of the Left Party , Jean -Luc Mélenchon . All surveys showed the damage this airport would cause would be for nothing. Why do you want to do it in these conditions? ”

 

Peasant mobilization was strong in Nantes, where the procession was attended by 530 tractors.


“YES VEGETABLES, NOT IN ASPHALT”

In the event, some brocardent, kindly Greens suspects remain in the government majority. “Europe-Ecologie Yellow” , denounced on a sign, Jean-Marie, a teacher came from Rennes . Driving as a big green tractor, Thomas Rabu, 35, came from the region Ancenis with fifty colleagues. “They need to realize they will not feedbitumen “ says the young sheep farmer. Throughout the procession, largely good-natured and enlivened by many clowns benefits, it is a leitmotif. “Yes vegetables, not bitumen. 

Peasant mobilization, in the opening day of the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris , is strong. Jean-François Guitton, a leader of Pal 44 (Collective of professional agricultural organizations outraged by the airport project) came from Saint-Gildas-des-Bois, to manifest . Dairy farmer with 80 cows, also member of the Confédération Paysanne, very present in the procession, he explains that “the FNSEA is against the airport project, but can not s’ display with Conf ‘and environmentalists “ . For him, “it was necessary to mark a strong political move before the municipal because beyond NDDL, too many candidates have projects artificial soil for larger areas of activity or construct housing “ .

“OPPONENTS SEVERE MINORITY”

Participants, in turn, fired bullets at the police and attacked a police station as well as an agency of the Vinci group.

 

Beyond the fighting, would have preferred to avoid the organizers, the balance is positive according to them. “Government can not s’ stubborn and want to move in strength , says Françoise Verchère, collective CEDPA (Collective elected doubting the relevance of the airport). mobilization is not weakening and it must take into account. 

A prefecture in Nantes, the green light is expected for the transfer of protected species. “All appeals opponents were lost by them , says Mickaël Doré, sub-prefect in charge of the case. crystallizes many different oppositions . This is the first time we will build a new airport for twenty years. We will consider all environmental aspects of this issue. But there is no question that a minority of violent opposition opposes a project democratically decided. 

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Comment from a resident of Nantes:

Some of the media coverage of the protests have given a distorted account, with mentions of “pillaging anarchists” and “individuals who are very violent”. This fits in with the whole right wing media discourse of “Nantes saccagé” (~”sacked” as in Troy).

I was there on Saturday, and I fear some of the media coverage is misleading. It is true that Vinci, Nantes Métropole and Police Nationale Offices were damaged and spraypainted, and fires started at bus shelters, at a municipal building site, and one, very theatrical, barricade, but all of the shopping streets behind the police line were entirely unmolested.

This created a rather surreal atmosphere, with street battles going on at only a few tens of metres from
a) peacefully chatting demonstrators (the vast majority 30,000 against maybe 100 hotheads/agent provocateurs/’black bloc’) and
b) Nantes’ usual Saturday shopping crowd, who were entirely unmolested unless they got a gust of tear gas, which the police here let off with unnecessary abandon.

…. and two film clips of peaceful protesters below.


 YouTube film clips:

  1. Peaceful protesters

    1 min video clip shows a peaceful part of the Nantes demo – just people walking, drumming, costumes. Not violent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Huvv7G2AlAU#t=55 …

    2 min video taken from a high window of part of Nantes demo showing peaceful protest & police tear gas throw at them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C15ZRsLAbg#t=61 …

  2.  

    Contrasting with (1 min 10) short film clip of the protester violence and the police response with water canons etc;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIgNvAHIVmw

 


 

 

Jean-Marc Ayrault and Manuel Valls condemns the violence

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault “condemns in the strongest terms the violent acts committed by a thousand radical demonstrators,” according to a statement released by Matignon. “In a democracy, the right to challenge and protest against a project is legitimate. But such violence is unacceptable, and nothing could justify ” added Mr. Ayrault, former mayor of Nantes, favorable. “He commends the work of the prefect and the police” at the violence.

For its part, the Interior Minister Manuel Valls has challenged the ultra-left and “Black Blocs” , ” very violent ” , who “engaged in abuses and intolerable violence: Molotov cocktails, bolts, paving thrown on the police, destroying shop windows, vandalizing a number of shops, street furniture and the entrance of a police station ” . Manuel Valls expressed his fear that “isolated groups continue this urban guerrilla” . (AFP)

http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2014/02/22/notre-dame-des-landes-les-opposants-retournent-dans-la-rue-a-nantes_4371530_3244.html


 

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Press release from the organisers of the anti- airport demonstration on Feb. 22nd

The event today has witnessed unparalleled mobilization.

520 tractors coming from all neighboring districts have been counted,  twice as many as on March 24, 2012 in Nantes. This marks a massive involvement of the small farmer world . Vigilant tractors are ready to intervene on the zad (ZAD is Zone a Defendre).

There were 63 coaches from all regions of France , twice as many as came for the human chain . This is evidence of a national mobilization and the connection between the struggle at Notre Dame des Landes and other struggles against large and imposed unnecessary projects (les grands projets inutiles et imposes)

There were between 50,000 and 60 000 people , more even than in the event that marked the reoccupation of 17 November 2012. This has been the largest movement of mobilization .

The parade was festive , creative and determined, with batukadas (? translation?) , salamanders, giant crested newts , animal masks to mark people’s refusal to allow the destruction of protected species and the so-called compensation measures.

Speeches and events were held until 18.00 hours in the Daviais square .

The prefecture had chosen to put Nantes under siege and prevent us from being visible in the city center. This is the first time that a demonstration has been banned from the Cours des 50 Otages.  A part of the procession passed through the Beaulieu island. Another tried to go through the route originally planned and faced violent police repression shot with rubber bullets , tear gas and stun grenades . This did not prevent the demonstrators  remaining en mass in the streets of Nantes until the end .

There are different ways for people to express themselves in this movement. The government is deaf to the anti- airport protest , so  it is not surprising that some anger is expressed . What could happen if there was  a new intervention in the zad ?

This day has been a success and the various components of the fight remain united on the ground. The opposition has only grown over  30 years. The government has no choice but to abandon the airport project !

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In the original French:

—– Communiqué des organisateurs de la manifestation anti-aéroport du 22 février.

La manifestation d’aujourd’hui a connu une mobilisation inégalée.

520 tracteurs, venus de tous les départements limitrophes ont été comptés, deux fois plus que le 24 mars 2012 à Nantes. Cela marque une implication massive du monde paysan. Les tracteurs vigilants sont prêts à intervenir sur la zad.

Il y avait 63 bus venus de toutes les régions de France, deux fois plus encore que lors de la chaîne humaine. C’est le signe d’une mobilisation nationale et de la connection entre Notre Dame des Landes et d’autres luttes contre les grands projets inutiles et imposés.

Il y avait entre 50 et 60 000 personnes, plus encore que lors de la manifestation de réoccupation du 17 novembre 2012. Il s’agit de la plus grosse mobilisation du mouvement.

Le défilé a été festif, créatif et déterminé, avec des batukadas, salamandres, tritons géants, masques d’animaux marquant le refus de la destruction des espèces protégées et des mesures dites de compensation.
Des prises de paroles et animations ont eu lieu jusqu’à 18h square Daviais.

La préfecture avait choisit de mettre Nantes en état de siège et de nous empêcher d’être visible dans le centre ville. C’est la première fois qu’on interdit à une manifestation d’emprunter le Cours des 50 Otages. Une partie du cortège est passée par l’île Beaulieu. Une autre a essayé de passer par le trajet initialement prévu et a fait face à une répression policière violente avec tir de flashball, gaz lacrymogènes et grenades assourdissantes. Cela n’a pas empêché les manifestants de rester en masse dans les rues de Nantes jusqu’à la fin.

Il existe différentes manières de s’exprimer dans ce mouvement. Le gouvernement est sourd à la contestation anti-aéroport, il n’est pas étonnant qu’une certaine colère s’exprime. Que pourrait-il se passer en cas de nouvelle intervention sur la zad ?

Cette journée est un succès et les différentes composantes de la lutte restent unies sur le terrain. L’opposition ne fait que croître depuis 30 ans. Le gouvernement n’a pas d’autre choix que d’abandonner le projet d’aéroport !

http://communiques-acipa.blogspot.fr/2014/02/communique-des-organisateurs-de-la.html

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French anti-airport protest turns violent

22.2.2014  (France 24)

Protesters opposed to plans to build a new airport in the French city of Nantes smashed shop windows Saturday and hurled paving stones at police, who answered with tear gas and water cannons.

The protesters are opposed to the airport as it is set to be built on protected swampland.

Thousands swarmed the picturesque western city’s central Petite Hollande square, the latest in a string of demonstrations against the pet project of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Local government estimates there were 20,000 protestors present while protest organisers estimate that there were closer to 50,000 people.

A short distance away from the main protest, about 1,000 radical environmentalists staged a more violent protest, smashing shop windows and trashing a post office and the local offices of Vinci, the contractor on the airport project in nearby Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

The demonstrators pulled up paving stones from the Nantes tramway and threw them at charging police, along with bottles, emergency flares and other projectiles.
Six police were wounded in the clashes and four protesters were arrested, officials said.

Police said the more mainstream protest organisers were “overwhelmed by the radical fringe they’ve relied on from the start”.

Ayrault, who was mayor of Nantes from 1989 to 2012, condemned the violence.

Violence ‘unacceptable’

“In a democracy, the right to oppose and protest against a project is legitimate, but such violence is unacceptable, and nothing can justify it,” he said.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls echoed his criticism and said the “ultra-left” and foreigners had turned the protest into “urban guerrilla warfare”.

The protest comes two months after local officials gave the final go-ahead for preliminary work on the 580-million-euro ($795-million) project, which was approved in 2008.

Construction is due to start this year but has not yet begun, and the airport opening target date has been pushed back from 2017 to at least 2019.

The airport is set to have an initial annual capacity of four million passengers. Supporters say it will provide a major boost to tourism in western France and on the Atlantic coast.

A poll published Saturday by French polling agency Ifop reported that the majority of French citizens (56%) are opposed to the airport’s construction.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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Police clash with pillaging anarchists in western France as airport protest degenerates

22.2.2014 (Star Tribune)

PARIS — Riot police moved into the western French city of Nantes on Saturday, clashing with hundreds of anarchists who broke shop windows, destroyed bus stops and pillaged the city center.

At least eight police officers were hospitalized after violent confrontations with up to 1,000 “radicals,” the prefecture of the Loire-Atlantique region said. Fourteen people were detained.

The rioters had joined an estimated 20,000 people protesting plans to build a regional airport. Officials did not say whether protesters were injured.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said the delinquents were from the “radicalized ultra-left” and were waging an “urban guerrilla” campaign.

“These are individuals who are very violent.” Valls said on iTele TV station.

Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the attackers, some wearing hoods and helmets. However, after night fall, approximately 200 were reportedly still roaming the Nantes city center.

There have been numerous, sometimes violent, demonstrations against the building of an airport in Notre Dame des Landes, a pet project of Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, a Nantes native. The anti-airport protests, mounted since 2009, have brought together an unlikely alliance of farmers, ecologists and anarchists — who call themselves ZADists, based on the French acronym for “development zone.” The farmers trying to save their land have depended on the ZADists to keep their protest alive.

It was unclear whether the ZADists were joined by even more radical elements. The interior minister referred to ultra-leftist groups also active in Germany, Italy and elsewhere.

The prime minister issued a firm condemnation of the violence, saying “nothing can justify it.”

http://www.startribune.com/world/246695681.html

 

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The Nantes protest and rioting against proposed airport –                blog by John Stewart

Date added: February 24, 2014

In a blog about the huge demonstration, part of which turned in to rioting, at Nantes against the proposed new airport, John Stewart looks at how this protest came about – and its relevance to other large infrastructure projects in Europe. The Nantes protest organisers say as many as 50,000 people attended, from supportive protest committees from areas across France. The politics of this airport project have taken on national interest and significance, and also linked into opposition to “Les Grands Projets Inutiles Imposes” (useless, imposed mega-projects). The people passionately fighting plans for a new airport in unspoiled French farming countryside are linked to those opposing HS2 and other schemes like a high-speed rail in Northern Italy and cyanide-mined gold extraction project in Romania. All these projects have managed to get support from very disparate sections of society. They all have real doubts about the economics or the necessity of the project; also they have land, homes, countryside or communities to defend; there is significant local opposition; and they also attract in outside opposition, from people with a variety of perspective as well as environmental.

Click here to view full story…

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