British Airways owner IAG wants break up of Heathrow monopoly, with separate companies managing terminals

British Airways’ owner IAG (Willie Walsh) has called on government to break up Heathrow’s “monopoly” of infrastructure, suggesting to the CAA that other companies could run the different terminals to create competition and cheaper flights for consumers.  IAG, which is Heathrow’s largest customer, said the airport’s planned expansion could allow independent firms to create and run new terminals more effectively than Heathrow’s current owners, with lower costs to airlines – and better cost control. IAG is desperate for charges by Heathrow not to rise, to pay for its runway etc.  Walsh said: “Heathrow’s had it too good for too long and the government must confirm the CAA’s powers to introduce this type of competition. … This would cut costs, diversify funding and ensure developments are completed on time, leading to a win-win for customers.”  BA runs a terminal at JFK airport in New York and there are European examples at Frankfurt and Munich airports. Heathrow has a real problem, becoming ever more clear, with funding for its expansion plans. Chris Grayling has said Heathrow landing charges (already some of the world’s highest) “should be kept as close as possible to current levels.”  A vote is due to be held this summer in the Commons on the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS). 
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British Airways owner calls for breaking up Heathrow monopoly

Create competition to run terminals when third runway is built to keep airfares low, IAG tells government

By Gwyn Topham (Guardian)  @GwynTopham
Mon 5 Feb 2018

British Airways’ owner has called on government to break up Heathrow’s “monopoly” of infrastructure, suggesting that other companies could run the different terminals to create competition and cheaper flights for consumers.

IAG said the airport’s planned expansion could allow independent firms to create and run new terminals more effectively than Heathrow’s current owners, with lower costs to airlines.

The proposal from IAG, Heathrow’s dominant customer, to the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, is the latest salvo in its battle to ensure that charges remain low when a third runway is built. IAG argues that fares could be driven up by escalating expenses, but that breaking up Heathrow could lower this risk.

“Heathrow’s had it too good for too long and the government must confirm the CAA’s powers to introduce this type of competition,” said Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive. “This would cut costs, diversify funding and ensure developments are completed on time, leading to a win-win for customers.”

BA runs a terminal at JFK airport in New York, and Walsh said the proposal would ensure that Heathrow focused on cost control. “This is not rocket science. Most major US airports have terminals owned or leased by airlines and there are European examples at Frankfurt and Munich airports. There’s absolutely no reason why this cannot happen at Heathrow.”

The airline has urged the government to make explicit in its national policy statement approving a third runway that airport charges will be capped at current prices. While the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, has said landing charges “should be kept as close as possible to current levels”, the Airports Commission envisioned a steep rise in charges to pay for new infrastructure. Heathrow has since pledged to deliver its runway for £14.3bn.

A spokesperson for Heathrow said the airport was working hard to keep expansion costs down, but added: “Anyone who has had the misfortune of connecting through JFK airport will know this is not a passenger experience we should seek to replicate at Heathrow. At Munich and Frankfurt airports, only one airline dominates – again, something which is against the interests of our passengers.”

Meanwhile, another influential backer of expanding the airport said he would now prefer to build at Gatwick than pursue the current scheme. Jock Lowe, who promoted the Heathrow Hub runway plan shortlisted by the Airports Commission, had previously said that the most important thing was that Heathrow was enlarged. However, he said that the plans had failed to address operational concerns over taxiways and flight paths and would not deliver the promised capacity or respite from noise.

Lowe said: “I imagined Heathrow had better solutions to these issues. But they haven’t published a safety case or given any answers. I worry that at some point it will grind to a halt. There isn’t a solution to some of them – it’s whether government makes a decision with full knowledge of the problems.

“I’d do Gatwick. You can’t have expansion at any price. As it stands, without a safety review, it’s very difficult to back it.”

The Heathrow spokesperson said they were still consulting on designs, including of taxiways, but all would increase capacity safely. “We have unrivalled experience operating a major airport and we are completely confident that we can safely operate 740,000 annual flights with a third runway. This was confirmed independently by the Airports Commission after undertaking the most extensive, in-depth review of aviation in a generation.”

Heathrow’s third runway plans face more parliamentary scrutiny this week when the transport select committee questions Heathrow executives on Monday and Grayling on Wednesday.

A vote is due to be held this summer in the Commons on the national policy statement. Although Heathrow is confident that a majority of MPs would back expansion in a free vote, prominent Conservatives are likely to vote against, and Labour may yet decide to oppose it as a party, with the leadership vehemently anti-expansion.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/05/british-airways-owner-calls-for-breaking-up-heathrow-monopoly

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British Airways owner IAG calls for “Heathrow monopoly” to be broken up to boost competition and cut costs

By Rebecca Smith (City AM)
Monday 5th February 2018

Heathrow says it has become “increasingly confident” of meeting the government’s affordability challenge on expansion (Source: Heathrow)
The boss of British Airways owner IAG has today called for Heathrow’s “monopoly” to be broken up so its terminals can be run by third parties in order to stimulate competition.

The airport’s biggest customer has been vocal in its criticisms of plans for a third runway at Heathrow, with IAG chief executive Willie Walsh saying last month a detailed breakdown of costs was needed to ensure customers are not “ripped off”.

Now, in a new submission to the Civil Aviation Authority, IAG said that Heathrow’s expansion provides an opportunity for independent companies to design, build and run commercial facilities like terminals. It added that competition would also ensure customer charges do not rise to pay for new infrastructure.

IAG said it would also generate better financing options for new infrastructure providing greater transparency and lower risk.

Walsh said today:

Heathrow’s had it too good for too long and the government must confirm the CAA’s powers to introduce this type of competition. This would cut costs, diversify funding and ensure developments are completed on time, leading to a win-win for customers.

The IAG boss said his proposal would also ensure Heathrow “continues to focus on cost control, something it has been reluctant to do in the past”.

Heathrow pointed to JFK airport, saying its terminals are operated by different airlines.

“Anyone who has had the misfortune of connecting through JFK airport will know this is not a passenger experience we should seek to replicate at Heathrow,” a spokesperson for the airport said, adding that it was “against the interests of our passengers” to have one dominant airline.

The airport has launched a consultation on its proposals, as it seeks to slash £2.5bn off expansion, taking the overall cost down to £14bn. Heathrow said it developed the plans in “close cooperation” with airlines and would ensure Heathrow expands with airport charges staying close to current levels.

The call comes with Heathrow bosses facing questions from MPs today over expansion plans for the airport, in the latest evidence session on the government’s airports national policy statement.

Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye and the airport’s executive director for expansion will appear before the Transport Select Committee today, with transport secretary Chris Grayling facing MPs on the matter on Wednesday.

http://www.cityam.com/280010/british-airways-owner-iag-calls-heathrow-monopoly-broken-up

 

Read moreTfL sounds alarm over public transport crowding from Heathrow expansion

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Wandsworth leader Ravi Govindia describes Heathrow runway proposals as ‘fatally flawed’

The leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia, has criticised Heathrow’s current consultation and hit out at its ‘fatally flawed’ scheme. Heathrow has a current consultation that is largely a PR exercise. No flight plans have been included in the first stage of the two-part consultation, which relates to physical changes on the ground. It is widely agreed (except by Heathrow and the DfT) that no sensible, informed decision cannot be made on a 3rd runway until the details of future flight paths are made clear – there is currently no information. The second consultation will deal with airspace. Four councils, Richmond, Wandsworth, Hillingdon, and Windsor and Maidenhead, have been campaigning against the expansion since it was proposed. Ravi Govindia said: “I find the fact that Heathrow seem to think this is a done deal absolutely appalling. We know that this scheme is fatally flawed and if it went ahead would have a serious impact on our local environment and the health of our residents. I urge everyone who opposes this expansion to make their voices heard and get involved in this consultation process.”  But it is important that those opposing the runway state that clearly. Otherwise their responses can be used by Heathrow as evidence that people support some variants of the scheme, over others – implying acceptance and agreement.
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‘Fatally flawed’ – Wandsworth Council leader slams Heathrow proposals

By Grainne Cuffe (Wandsworth Guardian)
5.2 2018

The leader of Wandsworth Council has blasted Heathrow and hit out at its ‘fatally flawed’ scheme.

A consultation period is currently open for people to put their views on the airports major expansion proposals.

The airport unveiled a number of new proposals last month such as tunnelling the M25, the location of expanding terminal facilities and three options for the length of the new runway varying between 3,200 metres and 3,500 metres.

The third runway was due to cost £16.8 billion, but Heathrow claims it could cut that figure by £2.5 billion.

According to one option, the M25 could be lowered by seven metres to create a tunnel between junction 14 and 15, with the runway over it.

Heathrow claims its target is to operate “zero carbon airport infrastructure” by 2050, but Twickenham MP Sir Vince Cable told the Commons that the damage to air quality from expanding Heathrow was a matter of “human health and mortality”.

He said: “Heathrow is a far more damaging option than the alternatives: it is more polluting, it is noisier and it is the most expensive.”

No flight plans have been included in the first stage of the two-part consultation, which relates to physical changes on the ground, and many believe an informed decision cannot be made until they are put forward.

The second stage will deal with airspace.

But the proposed runway has been met with condemnation from councils, residents, and environmental campaigners.

Although Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said the airport was “determined to reduce its environmental impacts” by cutting emissions and bringing in “cleaner, quieter” aircrafts, some people are not convinced.

Four councils, Richmond, Wandsworth, Hillingdon, and Windsor and Maidenhead, have been campaigning against the expansion since it was proposed.

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “I find the fact that Heathrow seem to think this is a done deal absolutely appalling. We know that this scheme is fatally flawed and if it went ahead would have a serious impact on our local environment and the health of our residents.

“I urge everyone who opposes this expansion to make their voices heard and get involved in this consultation process. The Gatwick option has great merit, we need to make sure that is the message that rings through loud and clear.”

Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s executive director of expansion, said: “When the government announced its support for Heathrow expansion it made a clear commitment to keeping Britain open for business.

“We want an expanded Heathrow to be the world’s best airport, ensuring that our country and its future generations have the infrastructure they need to thrive.

“We need feedback to help deliver this opportunity responsibly and to create a long-term legacy both at a local and national level. Heathrow is consulting to ensure that we deliver benefits for our passengers, businesses across the country but also, importantly, for those neighbours closest to us.”

The consultation is open until March 28. Go to heathrowconsultation.com to have your say.

If the scheme is approved, Heathrow will submit a planning application after consulting local communities on detailed proposals.

The airport hopes to begin construction in early 2021, with the runway completed by the end of 2025.

What are Heathrow’s arguments for the expansion?

• Heathrow says its runways are operating at 98 per cent capacity and that airlines have not been able to grow as a result

• It argues Britain is losing out to European competitors in the “global race” for foreign investment and trade

• Heathrow claims the new runway will add up to £211 billion in economic growth while creating 180,000 jobs

• It says passengers and UK businesses will have access to up to 40 new long-haul destinations along with new domestic routes

• Heathrow intends to make improvements to its rail connections and claims this could increase the number of passengers using public transport to get to the airport by 60 per cent

What issues do people have with the proposed expansion?

• The airport has allocated a compulsory purchase zone, which involves 750, to the surrounding area

• Heathrow promises to pay 25 per cent more than the market rate, but homes have already lost value due to the proposed expansion

• Noise and air pollution from the construction are major concerns

• The build will be on greenbelt land

• The cost of the expansion

• Some believe Gatwick would be a better choice and would cost significantly less at £7.4 billion

http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/15920107.__39_Fatally_flawed__39____Wandsworth_Council_leader_slams_Heathrow_proposals/

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See earlier on the consultation:

Advice on how to respond to Heathrow consultation – be absolutely sure to state you oppose any 3rd runway plan (Cllr Malcolm Beer)

Heathrow has a consultation out at present, which closes on 29th March. It is not a proper consultation about the runway, as the government has not yet even given the airport permission to build a 3rd runway. The consultation is intended to give the impression that the runway is definitely happening, and that people can have a bit of a say in how the development is done. Writing in the local paper, the Slough & South Bucks Express, long standing Councillor Malcolm Beer gives advice on how to deal with the consultation. He says, it is absolutely essential that respondents state in the first box of the Consultation Response Form whether they support or oppose the expansion with their main reasons.  The preferences which you might give should be expressly stated as being relevant only in the unfortunate event of the 3rd runway proposal being approved, to avoid being added to the number of supporters.  This is very important as some believe they were included in the number of supporters, with the very biased, airport-funded “Back Heathrow” Campaign which completely wrongly and misleadingly stated that the airport would have to close if it could not expand.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow criticised by key London councils for jumping the gun, with its inadequate consultation, on Government 3rd runway decision

The latest consultation from Heathrow is ‘jumping the gun’ – according to Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead councils.  The Leaders of 3 councils have slammed Heathrow for holding a consultation when the Government are yet to make a decision on whether or not the airport should be expanded at all.  Parliamentary scrutiny on the Governments proposals is still underway, with a vote by MPs due later this year. As part of this process, tens of thousands of people have already had their say, making it clear that expansion at Heathrow is not deliverable. The Leaders argue that any expansion of the airport would have a devastating impact on West London  – causing immense damage to the environment and people’s health, tear communities apart, see an unacceptable rise in noise and air pollution, and potentially cost taxpayers £15bn.  The latest Heathrow consultation fails to recognise any of this well documented feedback. Confusingly, this latest consultation is also seeking residents’ initial views on how airspace and flight paths should be designed in the future (concentrated or less concentrated…)  The councils view is that the noise burden is too high now and all efforts should be made to minimise the number of people impacted by noise. Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “I find the fact that Heathrow seem to think this is a done deal absolutely appalling.”

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Advice on how to respond to Heathrow consultation – be absolutely sure to state you oppose any 3rd runway plan

Heathrow has a consultation out at present, which closes on 29th March. It is not a proper consultation about the runway, as the government has not yet even given the airport permission to build a 3rd runway. The consultation is intended to give the impression that the runway is definitely happening, and that people can have a bit of a say in how the development is done. Writing in the local paper, the Slough & South Bucks Express, long standing councillor Malcolm Beer gives advice on how to deal with the consultation. He says, it is absolutely essential that respondents state in the first box of the Consultation Response Form whether they support or oppose the expansion with their main reasons.  The preferences which you might give should be expressly stated as being relevant only in the unfortunate event of the 3rd runway proposal being approved, to avoid being added to the number of supporters.  This is very important as some believe they were included in the number of supporters, with the very biased, airport-funded “Back Heathrow” Campaign which completely wrongly and misleadingly stated that the airport would have to close if it could not expand.
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Vital you have your say on airport plans (title of the letter in the Slough paper)

Letter by Cllr Malcolm Beer

in the Slough and South Bucks Express

30th January 2018

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https://www.sloughexpress.co.uk/news/your-views/126853/vital-you-have-your-say-on-airport-plans.html

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OWRA (Old Windsor Residents Assn) Newsletter Jan 2018

Heathrow

Please read this and Emphasise NO Third Runway in Heathrow Consultations

Old Windsor Residents Association is not opposed to Heathrow as it is the catalyst in the prosperity of the whole area, BUT it strongly opposes the third runway plans with 260,000 (54%) more flights and 40,000 more local employees and their families.  This will escalate business, housing, school and health service demands and costs, increase road traffic, pollution and overhead noise.

# Heathrow’s publicity campaign is now intense as the Government’s decision date in the coming months draws close to confirm or cease its qualified support to permit Runway 3.

# Please visit one of Heathrow’s informal non statutory display and information drop-in consultations.   The next is at Windsor Youth Centre Friday 2nd February (off top of Alma Road, a short walk from the Hospital bus stop), followed by Maidenhead Sportsable Thursday 8th (Braywick), Englefield Green Village Centre Wednesday 14th February (Victoria Street) (all from midday to 8 pm), and Wraysbury Village Hall Saturday 3rd March (10 am to 4 pm).

# The “What do you think” forms or other responses about preferred alternative runway, road and flight path options will probably be used to try to convince Parliament to allow another runway as well the final Development Consent Order (DCO) if a planning submission is allowed.  You are urged to start and finish by writing that you oppose it and the preferences only apply if expansion is allowed. This is important as other consultations may have counted all replies as supportive.

# Responses close 23.55 pm 29th March and although it is OK to give Heathrow your views and concerns, it is far more important to inform our MP, Ministers and local Councils very soon.

# The claimed world class mitigations are very unlikely to give any noise insulation or part funding to Old Windsor residents, and noise free periods (“respite”) will be halved to only 4 hours per day.

# Nobody knows where a total of 180,000 more employees families and 3,500 residents of the communities wiped out for the runway will be housed.  An Airports Commission report said 70,400 more houses would be needed, 5,000 in each Borough around Heathow, but there is already a crisis need for over 14,000 (21%) more homes in our Borough.  Far more logical to build in the North.

# The promise of 50 to 60% of many more passengers and employees travelling by bus or train to cut pollution is unrealistic as current efforts with fewer people have never reached more than 40%.  The proposed SW Rail link would cause traffic chaos as more trains too long for station platforms would increase level crossing closed times.  Doubling airport freight will add road traffic problems.

Restriction of traffic by charging for use of public roads all around Heathrow is an outrage.

# Only 10,000 apprenticeships, or 4,000 as recently stated, seems far too few to run this complex safety, security and service focussed industry. The introduction of at least one runway in high frequency “Mixed Mode” operation (with simultaneous landings and take offs to equalise the movements on 3 runways) will increase the current average risk of 40 aborted landings a month.

# It is unlikely the troubled construction industry could quickly do the huge work on the M25, A4 and London end of the M4, building so many new buildings before demolishing original ones, the runways and terminals as well as the millions of new dwellings promised by the Government.

# The claim of around £60billion financial benefit to the nation is peanuts as it is spread over 60 years and does not account for the enormous counter costs and disruptions.   Will Heathrow pay for all of the above or continue to demand that up to £20billion of our taxes pays for the off airport road and rail alterations and upgrades?  It cannot promise more flights to the regions as the airlines choose their destinations.  Expansion would not be necessary if more than 76% of seats were used.

# Has the Government ignored that a three runway Heathrow while others have only one runway would threaten their viability and renew the monopoly which a previous Government Monopolies Commission dismantled to ensure much needed competition?

# Some of us have already objected to a Ham Island “borrow pit” to get gravel to raise the runway over the M25 and then fill with waste.  We will work with residents to protect its special facilities.

# Can promises that a fourth runway would never be sought be trusted after previous ones that T4 would be the last and another runway would never be needed after T5?  If is almost certain a call for another runway will arise if R3 is allowed as Heathrow now say capacity will be reached by 2028, not 2040.  Don’t forget it put Southern R4 plans to the Commission which would be south of Wraysbury and end so close to Old Windsor that some houses would be inhabitable.

Malcolm Beer.

 

Thee was no space for ………………..

# Heathrow’s promise of huge benefits to businesses and residents with more flights to regional airports is not realistic as the airlines determine where they fly to, not the airport.   The number of such connections has reduced in recent years, probably due to the growing logical preference for direct flights as their numbers grow and avoid the hassle of time consuming hub interchange flights.

# All of this emphasises that Heathrow is not the right place for increased airport facilities and a North Midlands location would be a far better location to promote GB plc instead of shortsightedly exacerbating the universally harmful North / South Economic and Social Divide.

# There is no doubt that Back Heathrow Campaign’s threat that the airport would have to close if it does not extend is untrue, but it may not make as much profit as it would like if it had a monopoly.

 

 

OWRA Newsletter Jan 2018 Heathrow

 

 

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PCS union reiterates its view that Heathrow job claims cannot be trusted, and 3rd runway would be too damaging

Tahir Latif, of the PCS (Commercial and Public Services Union) had a letter in the Evening Standard, reiterating his union’s view on Heathrow. Responding to a letter from Sam Gurney, of the TUC, backing the runway because of potential job gains, Tahir said: “Sam Gurney’s support of a 3rd runway at Heathrow glosses over many issues. There are serious doubts over the jobs claims in terms of the number, quality, duration and conditions, and similar concerns about where and to whom the economic benefits would accrue. Unions that oppose the runway are as keen to protect their members’ jobs as the TUC but recognise the massive environmental impact that will result from 250,000-plus additional flights per year. Instead of inflicting large-scale environmental damage, we need to demand job creation that retrieves the UK and London from its wretched environmental performance — not worsens it.”  In the past the PCS has said they oppose the 3rd runway as there is little real evidence supporting the extravagant promises made about jobs. Although the PCS wants to “protect Heathrow jobs whether or not the airport expands, the environmental impact of a 3rd runway would be too serious. PCS advocates sustainable transport and the creation of new jobs in that growing sector.”
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#esnewsviews

Third runway will only benefit few

London Evening Standard
2 Feb 2018

By Tahir Latif (Aviation Group President of PCS – Public and Commercial Services Union)

Sam Gurney’s [Trades Union Congress’s (TUC) new south east regional secretary] support of a third runway at Heathrow [Letters, January 26] glosses over many issues. There are serious doubts over the jobs claims in terms of the number, quality, duration and conditions, and similar concerns about where and to whom the economic benefits would accrue.

Unions that oppose the runway are as keen to protect their members’ jobs as the TUC but recognise the massive environmental impact that will result from 250,000-plus additional flights per year. Instead of inflicting large-scale environmental damage, we need to demand job creation that retrieves the UK and London from its wretched environmental performance — not worsens it.

 

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/london-evening-standard-west-end-final-b/20180202/282368335088935

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See earlier: 

 

Tahir Latif who represents Heathrow workers in the Public & Commercial Services Union(PCS)  was on the panel. The union opposes expansion, saying that there is little real evidence supporting the extravagant promises made about jobs. Tahir noted that it was ‘complex’ for the Aviation Group of PCS to oppose expansion, but said

“although we want to protect Heathrow jobs whether or not the airport expands, the environmental impact of a 3rd runway would be too serious. PCS advocates sustainable transport and the creation of new jobs in that growing sector.”

 

from:

 

Union Representing Heathrow Staff Rejects Third Runway

BASHR3 public meeting in Hounslow shown on BBC Sunday Politics

BASHR3 Hounslow meeting

Marking one year since the government’s decision to “accept the recommendation of the Airports Commission” to expand Heathrow, BASH held a public meeting in Hounslow town centre. The well-attended evening was filmed by the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme and is available to watch onlineduring November (Heathrow starts 21 minutes in with Hounslow at 23).

Tahir Latif who represents Heathrow workers in the Public & Commercial Services Union(PCS)  was on the panel. The union opposes expansion, saying that there is little real evidence supporting the extravagant promises made about jobs. Tahir noted that it was ‘complex’ for the Aviation Group of PCS to oppose expansion, but said

“although we want to protect Heathrow jobs whether or not the airport expands, the environmental impact of a 3rd runway would be too serious. PCS advocates sustainable transport and the creation of new jobs in that growing sector.”

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford & Isleworth and a founding member of BASH, was also on the panel.  She made clear that the campaign was not anti-Heathrow but wanted the airport to be better not bigger.

“Of course the local economy needs Heathrow, but there are many other growing industries locally that are not dependent on it and in fact have to compete with it.  A bigger Heathrow would also mean more traffic congestion, which has major economic as well as health costs.”

She added that what Heathrow actually needs to do is to strive to be a better place to work, with better working conditions for all, and to be a better neighbour.  This point was passionately supported by members of the audience  living in Hounslow who described the constant, distressing effect of aircraft noise on their lives.

John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, informed the audience that the Government has just launched a further round of public consultations, this time on Air Quality and updated Passenger Number Forecasts, because some of the conclusions of Sir Howard Davies’s 2015 Airports Commission have proved inaccurate.  His view was that air pollution around the airport is unlikely to reach acceptable levels by the time the 3rd runway is due to open. Details of the new consultation can be found online.

October 30, 2017

http://www.brentfordtw8.com/default.asp?section=info&page=bashrunway3007.htm

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Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) has problems and may go over-budget, not helped by Heathrow only paying £70m (not £230m)

The management of Crossrail have issued a major alert that the £14.8 billion line (the Elizabeth Line) might not open on time and is at risk of blowing its budget. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said problems with software on new trains and an electrical explosion in east London, when engineers tried to switch on the high-voltage power, have caused “real, serious challenges.”  Stations such as Bond Street, Paddington, Liverpool Street, Woolwich and Whitechapel — where there have been major construction problems — are behind schedule. Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan admitted the line was “very close” to exceeding its budget. Costs are increasing rapidly in the rush to try and open on time. The line will link Reading and Heathrow with Shenfield and Abbey Wood once fully opened by the end of 2019.  The central section of the line, between Paddington and Abbey Wood is due to open in December 2018. Heathrow was initially asked to contribute £230 million. But it managed to argue that it would only derive small additional benefit as it was “full”. (In reality, Heathrow has a lot of extra terminal capacity and its number of passengers rises annually, even with no 3rd runway. Heathrow had 75.7m passengers in 2017 compared to 72.3m in 2013.) So the taxpayer is having to shoulder the financial costs, which Heathrow should have paid.
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Crossrail chiefs warn that £14bn Elizabeth line could blow its budget and open late

by ROSS LYDALL (Evening Standard)

31.1.2018

Crossrail chiefs have issued a major alert that the £14.8 billion line might not open on time and is at risk of blowing its budget.

Problems with software on new trains and an electrical explosion in east London, which occurred when engineers tried to switch on the high-voltage power, have caused “real, serious challenges”, Mayor Sadiq Khan was told.

Mr Khan faces the embarrassment of not having the project — renamed the Elizabeth line — ready for the Queen to open before she heads to Sandringham for Christmas. Concerns have been raised about the impact on plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street.

Stations such as Bond Street, Paddington, Liverpool Street, Woolwich and Whitechapel — where there have been major construction problems — are behind schedule.

Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan, in a bleak assessment to the Transport for London board yesterday, said there were “a lot of balls in the air” and admitted the line was “very close” to exceeding its budget. show all

Costs are increasing rapidly as bosses “scramble” to complete the project, which will link Reading and Heathrow with Shenfield and Abbey Wood once fully opened by the end of 2019.

The central section of the line, between Paddington and Abbey Wood via two new tunnels under central London, is due to open in December.

The explosion at Pudding Mill Lane in November caused three months of delays. “It got switched on — and exploded,” Sir Terry said.

“We eventually found out it had been designed incorrectly.”

Engineers last night failed in their third attempt to switch on the power. The first test trains will now not start running on the new tracks until next month at the earliest.

Crossrail chiefs are set to switch to “Plan B” in May, when Heathrow Connect services are incorporated. The Connect trains will have to remain in service as signalling problems are likely to prevent Crossrail trains getting all the way to the airport.

Sir Terry said he was “very confident” the line, on which construction began in 2009, would be able to open by the end of December. He said: “We are very close on the funding envelope, and we’re certainly going to have to continue to work together to make sure we get this railway running this year.

“I don’t know what more we can do. When we’ve had problems we’ve scratched our head and tried to find the best people in the world. We have either got them, or, if we haven’t got them, we have gone and got them.

“It was always going to be a very difficult time but the team is still very confident they can get there.”

Mark Wild, London Underground managing director who oversees Crossrail, said: “We can still do it, but it’s very, very hard and complex and it brings with it cost pressures as well.”

Mr Khan curtailed discussion of the problems during the public section of the TfL board and ordered that they be held in private.

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See earlier:

Heathrow and Crossrail in legal dispute over how much TfL would have to pay to use 5 miles of track

Crossrail (the Elizabeth line) is a £15 billion train line designed to cross London from west to east, bringing relief for commuters, but it seems it may not now stop at Heathrow because of a legal row with the airport’s owners over fees. Heathrow has its lucrative Heathrow Express service runs partly on a 5-mile stretch of track, built and paid for (over £1 billion) by the airport. The Crossrail link into Heathrow would run on this section of track. It is an expensive (£25 per ticket) route, and Heathrow’s foreign owners want to recoup past spending on the private train line with an “investment recovery charge” of £570 for every train that uses the track, plus extra fees of about £107 per train.  But the Elizabeth line, by contrast, will be in line with the fares that apply across the rest of the capital’s transport network. The opening of the new Crossrail service to Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 is expected to throw the financial sustainability of the existing Heathrow Express into question, though Heathrow insists it would continue to run alongside the Elizabeth Line. Heathrow’s owners are now in dispute with the Office of Rail and Road, which sets track access charges, over the amount that TfL, which runs the Elizabeth Line, will need to pay to use the track. The hearings were held earlier this year and a High Court judgment is expected within weeks.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/05/heathrow-and-crossrail-in-legal-dispute-over-how-much-tfl-would-have-to-pay-to-use-5-miles-of-track/

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Taxpayers to cover Heathrow’s £160 million contribution to Crossrail – CAA claims Heathrow doesn’t need more passengers coming by rail

Plans for the £14.8 billion Crossrail line across London originally envisaged – in 2008 – a £230 million contribution from Heathrow, to reflect the benefit it is expected to gain from the link to central London, Maidenhead, and Brentwood. But now it emerges that the taxpayer must cover a £160 million shortfall, which Heathrow will now not pay. Now Heathrow will only pay £70 million.  [Heathrow is pushing hard for a 3rd runway – surely if it got that, it would  need all the rail  passengers from Crossrail that it can get]. The CAA has said that with the airport already running at or near capacity, (it is not at capacity for terminal space, only runway space) Crossrail would deliver no net benefit in terms of additional passengers. After the CAA set aside a provisional pot of £100 million to pay towards Crossrail, the DfT lowered its proposal to £137 million, and now down to £70 million. The National Audit Office said the shortfall means that the DfT’s contribution to the project will rise from £4.8 billion to almost £5 billion; but this remains inside the £5.2 billion set aside in case it failed to secure sufficient funding from private sources. Crossrail is now half built and is due to open by December 2019. It will run from Maidenhead, via Heathrow, out to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/01/19584/

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TfL Surface Access Analysis of Heathrow possible 3rd runway warns of congestion and over-crowding that would be caused to surface transport

Transport for London (TfL) has raised concerns over the impact Heathrow expansion will have on the capital’s transport network, warning over significant crowding. In its surface access analysis (Jan 2018) TfL says a 3 runway Heathrow is expected to result in an extra 170,000 daily passenger and staff trips compared to now. While Heathrow has “pledged” that there would be no new airport related traffic on the roads compared to today, that can only mean a higher % of passengers using public transport. TfL has raised concerns over the feasibility of this – and what it will mean for London’s public transport. In order to achieve no rise in highway trips, TfL says around 65-70% of trips would need to be on public transport. That would work out as a 210% increase on journeys at present.  TfL believes a 3-runway Heathrow would probably generate 90,000 extra vehicle trips along with another 100,000 extra public transport trips each day. That is likely to mean bad over-crowding of roads for non-airport users. In the morning peak for travel, there would be a 3 – 5% rise in average highway journey times across west London as far in as Westminster. For rail passengers it would mean “significant levels of crowding” on the Elizabeth Line, Piccadilly Line and Windsor lines.
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The Technical Note from TfL (Transport for London) is at 

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/tfl-surface-access-analysis-note-17-01-15.pdf

The TfL assessment includes trips relating to freight and induced economic activity. The NPS [Government’s Airports National Policy Statement] does not explicitly include assumptions relating to freight traffic demand, therefore TfL has adopted the assumptions and methodology used by the AC, namely that freight traffic demand grows in proportion to passenger demand.

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TfL sounds alarm over public transport crowding from Heathrow expansion

By Rebecca Smith (City AM)
29.1.2018

Transport for London (TfL) has raised concerns over the impact Heathrow expansion will have on the capital’s transport network, warning over significant crowding.

In surface access analysis compiled this month, London’s transport body said Heathrow expansion is expected to result in an extra 170,000 daily passenger and staff trips compared to today.

The airport has pledged that there will be no new airport traffic on the roads compared to today, while the government has said Heathrow will need to set specific mode share targets to get more than half of airport users onto public transport.

But TfL has raised concerns over the feasibility of this – and what it will mean for London’s public transport.

In order to achieve no rise in highway trips, TfL says around 65-70% of trips would need to be on public transport. That would work out as a 210% increase on journeys at present.

TfL’s analysis of the surface access implications of Heathrow expansion draws upon what has been published by the airport, the Department for Transport (DfT), the Airports Commission and the Civil Aviation Authority.

It looked at the schemes currently committed as well as those assumed, though not committed or funded by the national policy statement, and said a three-runway Heathrow would likely generate 90,000 extra vehicle trips along with another 100,000 extra public transport trips each day.

Significant levels of crowding

This would have a knock-on effect on travel for non-airport users. In the morning peak for travel, there would be a 3 – 5% rise in average highway journey times across west London as far in as Westminster, and for rail users, this will mean “significant levels of crowding” on the Elizabeth Line, Piccadilly Line and Windsor lines.

Airport-related traffic makes up as much as 9% and 16% of all traffic in Hounslow and Hillingdon respectively, with TfL forecasting this to rise following expansion.

Its analysis also found that new public transport infrastructure by itself is not sufficient to secure no rise in highway trips. “To achieve this additionally requires the airport to introduce a significant road user access charge or local congestion charging scheme,” TfL says.

Raising parking charges alone, even to over £100, has little effect according to TfL analysis, as many of those choosing to park at Heathrow have “a high willingness to pay”, with those who do shift often opting for taxis.

Rise in jobs leading to rising transport pressures

The transport body has also flagged the omission of the impact of new jobs. Part of the economic case underpinning the decision for Heathrow expansion points to the substantial number of jobs that would be created, many in London. TfL says this would lead to “further pressures” on the transport network, but neither the Airports Commission nor the NPS have attempted to quantify this.

London mayor Sadiq Khan is a vocal opponent of Heathrow expansion, and in a letter to transport secretary Chris Grayling last month, he warned there was “a real risk” that “the taxpayer is forced into underwriting, if not subsidising the whole project”.

A Heathrow spokesperson said:

“Our proposal to expand Heathrow will be entirely privately funded with no public funds required to deliver the airport infrastructure. Our plans to significantly improve rail, bus and coach connections will enable tens of millions of additional journeys by passengers and colleagues to be by public transport when travelling to the airport.

“We are also consulting on whether an emissions-based charge could be another way to reduce road journeys and support our sustainable transport plans,” they added.

A spokesperson for the DfT said:

“Heathrow has made a pledge that there will be no increase in airport-related traffic on the roads.

Our expectations on costs and surface access – including targets around public transport use – are clearly set out in the revised draft airports national policy statement. Applications for development consent will need to set out how they would meet these requirements.”

It is understood that as part of the statutory planning process, Heathrow would be required to undertake a detailed transport assessment to scrutinise the impact of expansion plans.

http://www.cityam.com/279584/tfl-sounds-alarm-over-public-transport-crowding-heathrow

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The cruel realities of Heathrow blight – residents whose homes may be demolished for Heathrow runway

Villagers living in a small road close to Heathrow were this week coming to terms with the threat of having all their homes compulsorily purchased to make way for the proposed Heathrow expansion. Residents of Elbow Meadow off Bath Road, Colnbrook received letters late last week from Heathrow, after the launch of their (premature and presumptuous) consultation. They were warned that their 13 homes may have to go to allow the M25 to be realigned 150 metres to the west of the airport.  Possible rebuilding of the A3044 road would affect that part of the village too. The area is already seriously affected by planes low overhead, being close to the western end of the northern runway. Some residents are resigned to having to move. Others are not. One resident said:  “There used to be 36 shops in the village. We were a village where people knew each other. They vanished one by one and now there is just one. It is the Heathrow blight – many see Colnbrook as a dormitory village.” Another has already tried to move, but said: “We did try to move earlier. The house has been on the market but the three offers were all well below the house’s value made by people who knew about the Heathrow threat.” The cruel realities of living near Heathrow, with its blight.
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Residents whose homes may be demolished for Heathrow expansion voice outrage

By Francis Batt @BattFrancis

29.1.2018 (Slough Observer)

VILLAGERS living in a small road were this week coming to terms with the threat of having all their homes compulsorily purchased to make way for the proposed Heathrow expansion.

Residents of Elbow Meadow off Bath Road, Colnbrook received letters late last week warning that their 13 homes may have to go to allow the M25 to be realigned 150 metres to the west of the airport – a £2.6 billion compensation package is being committed.

Elbow Meadow is about half a mile from the main village of Colnbrook and much nearer the runway.

Heathrow has been part of residents’ lives for years.

Planes fly so low over their homes as they head down to the runway that the names of the airlines are clearly visible, creating an deafening roar loud enough to drown out conversation or television.

Marjorie Edwards, 86, has lived in her house with its beautifully cultivated back garden since 1958 when she and her late husband had it built.

He worked for the Ford car company in Langley.  She said: “We wanted somewhere he could cycle or drive to.”

But the relentless growth of Heathrow changed things.

She said: “The air quality has been badly affected. My husband became very ill and the doctor told him he lived in the wrong place. He died of pneumonia.”

But she does not want to leave her home after so many years and her view on Heathrow expansion is clear.

“I just wish they would do it somewhere else.  “Heathrow has ruined this village.”

Her good friends Keith Ayres, 79 and his wife Kathleen live at the Brands Hill end of Colnbrook almost a mile further away from the airport.

But possible rebuilding of the A3044 road would affect that part of the village too.

The Ayres family once ran the family building firm in the village and Mr Ayres has lived there his whole life.

He said: “There used to be 36 shops in the village. We were a village where people knew each other. They vanished one by one and now there is just one. It is the Heathrow blight – many see Colnbrook as a dormitory village.”

Neil Smith, 61 and his wife Anne have lived in Elbow Meadow for more than 30 years.

He worked at John Guest Plumbing Systems, West Drayton as a quality engineer.

He said: “I don’t really mind if they do compulsorily purchase us, I would not really miss it.  This village has changed so much over the years.

“But I do feel sorry for people who feel differently.”

One resident who did not wish to be named said he was concerned about his daughter’s forthcoming exams if the family had to move away from her school next year.

He said: “We did try to move earlier. The house has been on the market but the three offers were all well below the house’s value made by people who knew about the Heathrow threat.”

The new Heathrow consultation runs until March 28 and a final decision will be made by MPs later this year on the third-runway development. Visit www.heathrowconsultation.com for more information.

http://www.sloughobserver.co.uk/news/15903034.Residents_whose_homes_may_be_demolished_for_Heathrow_expansion_voice_outrage/

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See earlier: 

Letters from Heathrow target residents under threat

24.10.2017 (Stop Heathrow Expansion website)

As if living under threat of having your home destroyed for a third runway isn’t bad enough, you are also subjected to correspondence being pushed through your letterbox that suggests the bulldozers are poised to crush your property.

Last weekend, the latest unsolicited letters to land on villagers’ doormats were marked with a red statement saying: “IMPORTANT – HEATHROW COMPULSORY PURCHASE – To the property owner”.

Inside the envelope was a letter “To the Homeowner”, which, under the heading “Heathrow Expansion” started: “As you may be aware, your property is within the area identified for the proposed Heathrow expansion plans which are likely to be subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) in the near future.”

For a start, the government has NOT given the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow. Far from looking likely that houses with be compulsory purchased, it is looking likely that a third runway is undeliverable, (The Tories are talking about borrowing money to build homes to ease the housing crisis so they will struggle to justify borrowing the £17bn needed for third runway transport infrastructure. Meanwhile, Labour is looking at the four tests that it says would have to be satisfied before the party could support a third runway. There seems little or no prospect of those tests being passed.)

Having deliberately made the recipient of the letter fearful that they will be forced to sell their property and move out “in the near future”, you would have thought that the sender would have sent the letter ONLY to properties in the CPO zone designated by Heathrow. In fact, people OUTSIDE that CPO zone got the letter too. It beggars belief that anyone would so casually inform people that their home has been earmarked for imminent destruction without having done some rudimental research.

Many residents were soon up in arms at receiving the letter and worried about vulnerable residents who might mistake this marketing junk mail for something more official that required a response. Telephone numbers and an email address were on the letter and when SHE was informed of the letter we contacted the sender – Robert Clifford, Director of Aitchison Rafferty.

For some reason, the contents of the letter don’t state that Aitchison Rafferty is a firm of Chartered Surveyors and Town Planners, you have to work that out from logos and small print at the bottom or go to their website. The company’s letter head refers to them as Property Consultants. So what are the services they are offering and what are they getting out of it?

Now if you want to seek advice from a company that doesn’t even check whether you are in the CPO area or not before sending you a letter stating that you are (and someone has already contacted to us to say this is reason enough to avoid the company), that is entirely up to you.

Firms like Aitchison Rafferty know that they can earn money from the Compulsory Purchase Order Process. They hope that residents will sign up with them because the fees that companies receive for CPO advice will come from Heathrow rather than the homeowner. That way this company, like others, can say “our services are effectively free of charge”.

If you sign up with them they will contact Heathrow and say they are acting on your behalf. They will look at a valuation of your property and will act for you in any negotiations. Their claim is that they can get you the best price for your home. If you are thinking of selling, you may wish to engage the services of a surveyor or solicitor to look into the options in your case.

Beware of ambulance chasers. Do some research and check that they have experience of dealing with individuals who have been threatened with a CPO. Find out what they have achieved for others. If you are not planning to sell, do you want to go down this route? Look for websites that offer advice and not simply those that are basically looking to make money for themselves or their associates.

Our villages do not have a library so it is almost impossible for many people, especially the elderly, to access the internet or research materials. We generally have to rely on our communities to spread the word.

Do not be panicked by these letters, which are clearly designed to push you in one direction – towards their company. They are marketing letters.

WE ARE FIGHTING AGAINST HEATHROW EXPANSION AND EXPECT TO WIN AGAIN – JOIN US!   http://stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/home/

We now hear that huge numbers of people in the CPO area have not received the marketing letter while, as we mentioned, others outside the CPO area got the letters that say they are inside. Without doubt, Aitchison Rafferty has not looked into our situation at the sharp end of Heathrow expansion. These letters, whether they are acted upon or not, put further uncertainty into the minds of people who are already having their life decisions affected.

The scattergun approach of such mail shots is no way to help our villagers.

http://stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/news/2017/10/23/letters-target-residents-under-threat
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Heathrow criticised by key London councils for jumping the gun on Government expansion decision

The latest consultation from Heathrow is ‘jumping the gun’ – according to Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead councils.  The Leaders of 3 councils have slammed Heathrow for holding a consultation when the Government are yet to make a decision on whether or not the airport should be expanded at all.  Parliamentary scrutiny on the Governments proposals is still underway, with a vote by MPs due later this year. As part of this process, tens of thousands of people have already had their say, making it clear that expansion at Heathrow is not deliverable. The Leaders argue that any expansion of the airport would have a devastating impact on West London  – causing immense damage to the environment and people’s health, tear communities apart, see an unacceptable rise in noise and air pollution, and potentially cost taxpayers £15bn.  The latest Heathrow consultation fails to recognise any of this well documented feedback. Confusingly, this latest consultation is also seeking residents’ initial views on how airspace and flight paths should be designed in the future (concentrated or less concentrated…)  The councils view is that the noise burden is too high now and all efforts should be made to minimise the number of people impacted by noise. Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “I find the fact that Heathrow seem to think this is a done deal absolutely appalling.”
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Heathrow criticised for jumping the gun on Government expansion decision

25 January 2018 (Richmond Council press release)

The latest consultation from Heathrow is ‘jumping the gun’ – according to Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils.

The consultation, which was launched by the airport last week, invites the public to put forward their views on various factors of the expansion scheme.

These include the design of the terminals and whether to bridge over or tunnel under the M25 to improve access. The consultation also looks at whether flights should be concentrated over a single area or spread out over several sites.

However, the Leaders of three councils have slammed Heathrow for holding a consultation when the Government are yet to make a decision on whether or not the airport should be expanded at all.

Parliamentary scrutiny on the Governments proposals is still underway, with a vote by MPs due to happen later this year. As part of this process, tens of thousands of people have already had their say, making it clear that expansion at Heathrow is not deliverable.

The Leaders argue that any expansion of the airport would have a devastating impact on West London. Expansion would cause immense damage to the environment and people’s health, tear communities apart, see an unacceptable rise in noise and air pollution, and all this at a potential cost to taxpayers of £15bn.

The latest Heathrow consultation fails to recognise any of this well documented feedback.

Confusingly, this latest consultation is also seeking residents’ initial views on how airspace and flight paths should be designed in the future This is the first of several consultations, and presents scenarios on how severely communities might be affected.

The councils view is that the noise burden is too high now and all efforts should be made to minimize the number of people impacted by noise. In addition, there appears to be no intention to provide any clarity over new flight paths, until after any Planning process has been concluded. This means that residents will only understand the true impact of a third runway on their lives, when a decision has been made.

Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“Heathrow are yet again consulting on vague proposals, and MPs will have to vote before anyone really knows how a proposed expansion would impact West London. Even the prospect of a congestion charge to drive to Heathrow, which is speculated to be £40 for each trip at a minimum, is glossed over.

“Yet even by the Government’s own figures released recently, expansion at Gatwick brings more long term economic benefit, is cheaper, will require far less public subsidy, and of course has less impact on noise, air quality, congestion, and is a lower safety risk. All the evidence points to Gatwick.

“Residents should make it known that the information provided by Heathrow is not good enough.

“I’ve grown even more confident that in the end it will be Gatwick, not Heathrow.”

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said:

“I find the fact that Heathrow seem to think this is a done deal absolutely appalling. We know that this scheme is fatally flawed and if it went ahead would have a serious impact on our local environment and the health of our residents.

“I urge everyone who opposes this expansion to make their voices heard and get involved in this consultation process. The Gatwick option has great merit, we need to make sure that is the message that rings through loud and clear.”

Cllr Simon Dudley, Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, said:

“We have made clear and repeated representations about airport expansion on behalf of residents – and we have called for Heathrow to be up front in their plans, and will continue to do so.

“While we are concerned about the timing of this consultation and the information put in front of residents, we are keen they make their views known.”

https://www.richmond.gov.uk/council/news/press_office/older_news/january_2018/heathrow_criticised_for_jumping_the_gun

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See earlier:

Alistair Osborne writing in the Times: “Heathrow on flight path to nowhere”

Commenting on the frankly ridiculous “consultation” put out by Heathrow, Alistair Osborne – writing in the Times – puts some of the criticisms beautifully. For example, he says: “After half a century on the job … Heathrow still doesn’t even know where to put its new runway. The best it can offer is three options, with “length varying from between 3,200 and 3,500 metres”. …Heathrow has “emerging proposals” but “In fact, so many crucial details are still up in the air that it’s hard to spot what the ten-week consultation is consulting on.” … “Apart from the multiple choice runway location, there are three possible sites for a new terminal, a smorgasbord of potential taxiways and some gobbledegook about “realigning” the M25. Having noticed that the “M25 is one of the busiest roads in the UK”, Heathrow says it “will ensure that our proposals do not result in disruption”.” …”Two other crucial issues — illegal air quality and noise — get no more than platitudes.” … “If it is not yet possible to map the detailed impact on local communities, what is the point of consulting right now?” As details of flight paths, noise and air pollution will only emerge AFTER MPs vote this summer on the NPS: “As consultation processes go, it’s all a bit of a sham.”

Click here to view full story…

Important points demonstrating how the Heathrow 3rd runway is far from certain, at Westminster Hall debate

On Wednesday 24th January, Vince Cable MP secured a debate in Westminster Hall, on the issue of the 3rd Heathrow runway plans and Heathrow’s current consultation on their expansion hopes. Some of the MPs who spoke were Ruth Cadbury, Zac Goldsmith, Andy Slaughter, Karl Turner and Stephen Pound. They expressed serious reservations on issues of cost to the taxpayer, cost of surface access transport improvements, increased noise, uncertain air pollution, uncertain CO2 emissions, uncertain economic benefits and uncertain links to regional airports. Quotes from the MP contributions are shown below. Just a couple include: Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) (Con) – “one problem with the consultation is that we know that hundreds of thousands of new people will be affected by noise, but we do not know which hundreds of thousands, because the Government and Heathrow have yet to tell us where the new flight paths will be, which renders the entire consultation process entirely disingenuous, if not dishonest? It is a bit like saying, “We’re going to put a new incinerator in your constituency, and we’d like to ask people their opinion, but we’re not going to say where it’ll be put.” Surely the entire basis of the consultation’s legitimacy has a question mark hanging over it.”  And Andy Slaughter – “Getting these glossy pamphlets through the door, as one does on a regular basis from Heathrow, sends the subliminal message, “This is a done deal. Get used to it. Get what you can out of it by way of mitigation.” It simply is not good enough.”

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow premature “consultation” demonstrates NOT how inevitable the 3rd runway is, but just how absent any details are

The Heathrow consultation (17th January to 28th March) is vague in the extreme. It purports to be a consultation about how the airport should expand with a 3rd runway. But no government permissions for this has even been given yet, with a vote in Parliament and several legal challenges to be undergone before there is any certainty there will be any 3rd Heathrow runway. The consultation’s main purpose appears to be to give the impression to politicians, business people, the public, the affected communities etc that the runway is a “done deal” and is definitely going ahead; Heathrow is just sorting out some details. That is NOT the case. As the consultation makes manifestly clear, rather than sticking to details of the recommendations of the Airports Commission (on noise increases, night flight curfew periods, location of runway, means of getting over the M25 and so much else) Heathrow is not sticking to this, but trying out other options – which were never part of the Commission’s scrutiny.  Far from making the runway look inevitable, the numerous areas in which there is no certainty of Heathrow’s plans demonstrate immense weaknesses. The consultation is aimed at trying to make the runway planning appear sensitive to public opinion. It is in fact far more underhand than that, and highly unlikely that consultation responses – other than endorsing what Heathrow wants – would even be given more than passing consideration.

Click here to view full story…

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Alistair Osborne writing in the Times: “Heathrow on flight path to nowhere”

Commenting on the frankly ridiculous “consultation” put out by Heathrow, Alistair Osborne – writing in the Times – puts some of the criticisms beautifully. For example, he says: “After half a century on the job … Heathrow still doesn’t even know where to put its new runway. The best it can offer is three options, with “length varying from between 3,200 and 3,500 metres”. …Heathrow has “emerging proposals” but “In fact, so many crucial details are still up in the air that it’s hard to spot what the ten-week consultation is consulting on.” … “Apart from the multiple choice runway location, there are three possible sites for a new terminal, a smorgasbord of potential taxiways and some gobbledegook about “realigning” the M25. Having noticed that the “M25 is one of the busiest roads in the UK”, Heathrow says it “will ensure that our proposals do not result in disruption”.” …”Two other crucial issues — illegal air quality and noise — get no more than platitudes.” … “If it is not yet possible to map the detailed impact on local communities, what is the point of consulting right now?” As details of flight paths, noise and air pollution will only emerge AFTER MPs vote this summer on the NPS: “As consultation processes go, it’s all a bit of a sham.”

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Heathrow on flight path to nowhere

27.1.2018

We’re having another go now. And guess what? After half a century on the job and enough documents to fill a fleet of A380s, Heathrow still doesn’t even know where to put its new runway. The best it can offer is three options, with “length varying from between 3,200 and 3,500 metres”. Moreover, that’s just the most glaring key fact missing from Heathrow’s latest consultation paper, the 70-pager apparently giving you the “opportunity to have your say to help shape the emerging proposals”.

Yes, “emerging”. In fact, so many crucial details are still up in the air that it’s hard to spot what the ten-week consultation is consulting on — a point driven home by Wednesday’s parliamentary debate, secured by Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, MP for Twickenham.

Apart from the multiple choice runway location, there are three possible sites for a new terminal, a smorgasbord of potential taxiways and some gobbledegook about “realigning” the M25. Having noticed that the “M25 is one of the busiest roads in the UK”, Heathrow says it “will ensure that our proposals do not result in disruption”.

So how does it square that with this? “Our current thinking is to reposition the M25 carriageway by approximately 150 metres to the west, lower it by approximately seven metres into a tunnel and raise the runway height by three to five metres so that it passes over the M25 between J14a and J15.” Nothing disruptive about any of that.

What about costs? Heathrow has magically got the cost of the runway down from an initial £17.6 billion to £14 billion. But it’s not just Sir Vince who’s troubled by Transport for London’s estimate that rail and road links to handle an extra 60 million passengers a year, plus tons more freight, will cost £18 billion. “Where that will come from is one of the big unanswered questions,” he told MPs. Heathrow is offering only £1 billion towards it, even if it disputes TfL’s figures.

Two other crucial issues — illegal air quality and noise — get no more than platitudes. And partly because of one vast hole in the consultation. Because the location of the runway isn’t fixed, no one knows where the new flight paths will be. As Ruth Cadbury, Labour MP for Brentford and Isleworth, put it in the debate: “What is clear in the Heathrow consultation is what is not clear; so little is said . . . If it is not yet possible to map the detailed impact on local communities, what is the point of consulting right now?”

Indeed, 50 years on, Heathrow still reckons it’s at such an “early stage in the process” that “it is not possible to know the exact location of flight paths” — something it admits “may be frustrating”. It’ll only pin that down after a “wider programme of airspace modernisation”. And all followed by another consultation.

Yet that will come only after MPs vote later this year on the Airports National Policy Statement, the poll that determines whether the third runway goes ahead. As consultation processes go, it’s all a bit of a sham.

alistair.osborne@thetimes.co.uk

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heathrow-on-flight-path-to-nowhere-dr0bgfmjc

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See also:

Important points demonstrating how the Heathrow 3rd runway is far from certain, at Westminster Hall debate

On Wednesday 24th January, Vince Cable MP secured a debate in Westminster Hall, on the issue of the 3rd Heathrow runway plans and Heathrow’s current consultation on their expansion hopes. Some of the MPs who spoke were Ruth Cadbury, Zac Goldsmith, Andy Slaughter, Karl Turner and Stephen Pound. They expressed serious reservations on issues of cost to the taxpayer, cost of surface access transport improvements, increased noise, uncertain air pollution, uncertain CO2 emissions, uncertain economic benefits and uncertain links to regional airports. Quotes from the MP contributions are shown below. Just a couple include: Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) (Con) – “one problem with the consultation is that we know that hundreds of thousands of new people will be affected by noise, but we do not know which hundreds of thousands, because the Government and Heathrow have yet to tell us where the new flight paths will be, which renders the entire consultation process entirely disingenuous, if not dishonest? It is a bit like saying, “We’re going to put a new incinerator in your constituency, and we’d like to ask people their opinion, but we’re not going to say where it’ll be put.” Surely the entire basis of the consultation’s legitimacy has a question mark hanging over it.”  And Andy Slaughter – “Getting these glossy pamphlets through the door, as one does on a regular basis from Heathrow, sends the subliminal message, “This is a done deal. Get used to it. Get what you can out of it by way of mitigation.” It simply is not good enough.”

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Heathrow premature “consultation” demonstrates NOT how inevitable the 3rd runway is, but just how absent any details are

The Heathrow consultation (17th January to 28th March) is vague in the extreme. It purports to be a consultation about how the airport should expand with a 3rd runway. But no government permissions for this has even been given yet, with a vote in Parliament and several legal challenges to be undergone before there is any certainty there will be any 3rd Heathrow runway. The consultation’s main purpose appears to be to give the impression to politicians, business people, the public, the affected communities etc that the runway is a “done deal” and is definitely going ahead; Heathrow is just sorting out some details. That is NOT the case. As the consultation makes manifestly clear, rather than sticking to details of the recommendations of the Airports Commission (on noise increases, night flight curfew periods, location of runway, means of getting over the M25 and so much else) Heathrow is not sticking to this, but trying out other options – which were never part of the Commission’s scrutiny.  Far from making the runway look inevitable, the numerous areas in which there is no certainty of Heathrow’s plans demonstrate immense weaknesses. The consultation is aimed at trying to make the runway planning appear sensitive to public opinion. It is in fact far more underhand than that, and highly unlikely that consultation responses – other than endorsing what Heathrow wants – would even be given more than passing consideration.

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Heathrow “consultation” largely an exercise in spin – but scary for those whose homes might be demolished

Heathrow put out a consultation on its runway hopes, on 17th January. It is very premature, as it is still months before the government even has a vote on whether to approve a 3rd runway. However, Heathrow is running this “consultation” exercise, partly as a way to give the impression that the runway is a “done deal” and all that remains is to sort out details. In reality, there is little of substance in the consultation, that is in part just a PR exercise. However, it has got people worried and anxious. One reason is the scale of the number of properties to be demolished for the grandiose plans, for the A4, M25, terminal buildings, as well as the runway itself. One of the proposals (remember, nothing is agreed, and this is just the airport trying to persuade people the runway is inevitable – it is NOT) is that 13 homes in Elbow Meadow, Colnbrook, may have to be removed as part of the realignment of the M25 150 metres to the west of the airport.  In addition, two of three options to expand terminal infrastructure would see further land grabs needed around Colnbrook with Poyle and Richings Park. And so on.  Changes to the plans mean the airport scheme is not the one the Airports Commission gave its blessing to. A key factor is the location of flight paths, but there is absolutely NO information about those. The consultation is therefore largely a sham, without vital details that would be necessary in a meaningful consultation.

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Heathrow consultation: their suggestions of how to deal with M25, tunnel, bridge, altered junctions etc

As part of its consultation on its proposed 3rd runway, Heathrow has a section on what it hopes is done with the M25, so the runway can go over it.  This is a very expensive and complicate operation, and Heathrow is keen to cut the cost. The proposed runway will cross the M25 between Junctions 14 and 15 (J14 and J15) and will affect the operation of J14 and J14a, but not J15.  Other than moving the motorway a long way west, the options are tunnelling or bridging. Heathrow says: “Our current thinking is to re-position the M25 carriageway approximately 150 metres to the west, lower it by approximately 7 metres into a tunnel and raise the runway height by 3 to 5 metres so that it passes over the M25 between J14a and J15. The motorway will then re-join its current route. ...We believe this approach is the most deliverable as it would allow construction to proceed while the existing M25 motorway remains in operation. This minimises impacts to road users and has the least overall impacts on communities during construction and long-term operation.”  And they say the 3rd runway will mean more traffic will want to pass through junctions 14 and 14A, so they will need to be expanded. Illustrations show some different options.

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Important points demonstrating how the Heathrow 3rd runway is far from certain, at Westminster Hall debate

On Wednesday 24th January, Vince Cable MP secured a debate in Westminster Hall, on the issue of the 3rd Heathrow runway plans and Heathrow’s current consultation on their expansion hopes. Some of the MPs who spoke were Ruth Cadbury, Zac Goldsmith, Andy Slaughter, Karl Turner and Stephen Pound. They expressed serious reservations on issues of cost to the taxpayer, cost of surface access transport improvements, increased noise, uncertain air pollution, uncertain CO2 emissions, uncertain economic benefits and uncertain links to regional airports. Quotes from the MP contributions are shown below. Just a couple include: Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) (Con) – “one problem with the consultation is that we know that hundreds of thousands of new people will be affected by noise, but we do not know which hundreds of thousands, because the Government and Heathrow have yet to tell us where the new flight paths will be, which renders the entire consultation process entirely disingenuous, if not dishonest? It is a bit like saying, “We’re going to put a new incinerator in your constituency, and we’d like to ask people their opinion, but we’re not going to say where it’ll be put.” Surely the entire basis of the consultation’s legitimacy has a question mark hanging over it.”  And Andy Slaughter – “Getting these glossy pamphlets through the door, as one does on a regular basis from Heathrow, sends the subliminal message, “This is a done deal. Get used to it. Get what you can out of it by way of mitigation.” It simply is not good enough.”
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The debate can be seen on Parliament TV at

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/feb28239-53d5-4ba2-ac88-3a11af8c7d10

It starts at 16.30 and ends at 17.30.


The full transcript of the debate can be seen on Hansard at

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-01-24/debates/43680C9E-16A2-4E67-A576-C211759275F2/HeathrowAirportPublicConsultation

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So many important points were made in the debate. Below are just a few, in case people do not have the time – or inclination – to read the whole debate.

 

Vince Cable (Twickenham) (Lib Dem) – “One important step is how we are to see the consultation that Heathrow airport itself is now engaging in. It is important for our constituents to understand that what Heathrow airport is proposing seems substantially different from what the Government are proposing.”

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Stephen Pound (Ealing North) (Lab) – “I wonder whether, among the data of the passenger and transport movements to and from the airport, there has been a disaggregation that identifies the cargo and freight movements—specifically because the economy of Northern Ireland is almost entirely dependent on cargo freight movements into Heathrow airport….”

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Sir Vince Cable – “I cannot answer the hon. Gentleman’s question, but I hope the Minister will be able to.” [The Minister, Jesse Norman, did not address this question].

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Sir Vince Cable – “we are potentially talking about large Government subsidy if the airport is to avoid a very large increase in landing charges or funding from sources that we cannot yet identify. Is there a level of subsidy and Government funding that is unacceptable? We have new evidence, which is emerging all the time and is becoming progressively less favourable to the case for Heathrow, so I will leave this question with the Minister: how open-minded are the Government to that new evidence, and how will they progress the project?”

[The Minister was not able to reply to this question].

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Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth) (Lab) – “ I also thank the Library, which released this week an excellent summary of where we are and how we got there. It is neutral, dispassionate, but factual, and pulls together all the references that we need for such a debate. I also thank the No 3rd Runway Coalition for its help in briefing some of us for the debate.”

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Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) (Con) – “one problem with the consultation is that we know that hundreds of thousands of new people will be affected by noise, but we do not know which hundreds of thousands, because the Government and Heathrow have yet to tell us where the new flight paths will be, which renders the entire consultation process entirely disingenuous, if not dishonest? It is a bit like saying, “We’re going to put a new incinerator in your constituency, and we’d like to ask people their opinion, but we’re not going to say where it’ll be put.” Surely the entire basis of the consultation’s legitimacy has a question mark hanging over it.”

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Ruth Cadbury – “In the autumn, there was the Government consultation on the draft national policy statement on airports, and I felt sorry for DFT staff in that consultation, because the answer to so many of the questions that local residents asked them were, “I’m sorry; I don’t know,” or “I’m sorry; we don’t have that information yet.” I see the same thing happening with Heathrow airport staff in the newly relaunched consultation. ”

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Ruth Cadbury – “If it is not yet possible to map the detailed impact on local communities, what is the point of consulting right now?

“What my constituents want to know is this. First, where is the approach path to the third runway? There is no reason why that cannot be mapped now, because the runway is there. We are within 6 miles of the airport, and all flights will be locked into final approach; it is basic physics. So why cannot we be told where the approach path is, how high the planes will be and how wide the approach path will be? We are not in one of the areas where there can be concentration or spreading out. We are so close to the airport that all planes have to be locked in, at least on approach. I think it is deliberate that we are not being told.”

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Ruth Cadbury – “What will the air quality implications be if there is no diesel scrappage scheme? How will a congestion charge affect the many local businesses and residents that need to travel around the airport even if they are not actually using it? What will the new transport infrastructure be? There have been many questions about that. And of course nationally we are all concerned about who will pay for this. There is no clarity on how the runway, terminal buildings and essential work will be paid for, and there is certainly no clarity or agreement on the essential traffic impacts.”

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Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab) – “Nothing in this consultation, as my constituency neighbour to the west, my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Ruth Cadbury), has just said, tells us about flight paths. That is the key point that people want to know. Without that, it becomes an almost vacuous exercise. Yet we are not to know the flight paths, we are told, until 2021, after all the major decisions are made. There is nothing in the consultation about who will pay—particularly, as has been mentioned, who will pay the estimated £18 billion for public transport.”

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Andy Slaughter – “Getting these glossy pamphlets through the door, as one does on a regular basis from Heathrow, sends the subliminal message, “This is a done deal. Get used to it. Get what you can out of it by way of mitigation.” It simply is not good enough.”

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Andy Slaughter – ” [We hoped] planned improvements—such as Crossrail and upgrading the Piccadilly line—to public transport in London, would improve quality of life and enable Londoners to go about their business better, but they will all be sacrificed to mitigating the additional burdens, inconveniences and health hazards that Heathrow intends to inflict on us. Why should that be the case? Why should Londoners have to pay financially, through their health and through the inconvenience in their daily lives for this white elephant project to go ahead?”

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Andy Slaughter – “We are serving a company that is 90% foreign-owned, that is debt-laden and that pays no tax other than the VAT it pays on the sales from shops—increasingly it is a business in that way. We have opposition from the airlines that are unwilling to pay the greatly enhanced landing charges that will be levied in order to pay for this white elephant project. Everybody seems to pay except the shareholders of Heathrow Airport Holdings.”

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Andy Slaughter – “I wait to hear with interest the speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull East (Karl Turner) on the Front Bench. Very wisely, the Labour Front Bench team has set a series of tests and not prejudged the issue. As time goes on, we will see that those tests will not be met.”

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Zac Goldsmith – “BA has announced that later this year it will be cutting half its routes between Leeds Bradford and Heathrow. Does that not show that the economics of domestic flights and domestic connections just does not stack up? The promises on greater connectivity between Scotland and Heathrow can be delivered only with the help of Government subsidy, and as far as I know there are no promises relating to that.”

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Karl Turner (Kingston upon Hull East) (Lab) – “he Labour party supports the expansion of airport capacity in the south-east, subject to our four tests being met. However, the Government’s draft airports national policy statement, published in October last year, and the responses to it have raised more questions than they have answered. The updated passenger demand forecasts show an increase in passenger growth, with a third runway at Heathrow to be full by 2028. The third runway will open in only 2026. That means that all take-off and landing spots will be full just two years after opening, which is a point made by the right hon. Gentleman. Does the Minister agree that that limits the potential benefits of increased airport capacity?”

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Karl Turner – “The NPS states that none of the cost of a third runway will fall on the taxpayer, and that it will be met by private funding. Yet it does not provide any evidence to support that. There is a reference to an independent assessment that has been carried out, but it has not been published. There seems no reason not to publish that assessment unless there is something to hide. Will the Minister agree to release that document?”

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Karl Turner – “The commitment that there will be no net increase in airport-related traffic is essential to ensuring that expansion is sustainable. Transport for London has estimated that to achieve that, between 65% and 69% of passengers would have to travel to the airport by public transport. The NPS sets an unambitious target of 50% by 2030, going up to 55% by 2042. TfL has said that that will lead to a substantial increase in vehicle trips on the already congested networks. Furthermore, the western rail access and southern rail access are essential for expansion, but TfL is concerned that the NPS gives no firm commitment on that. The Department for Transport has estimated that costs will be about £5 billion, but TfL puts the figure closer to £15 billion. The difference seems to be TfL costings for southern rail access.”

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Karl Turner – “Given the difference between the NPS and TfL estimates on both costing and public transport targets, and the fact that TfL is the highways authority and public transport authority that completely surrounds Heathrow, I find it absolutely astounding that it has been excluded from the service access steering group for Heathrow by the Department for Transport. Will the Minister explain that decision?”

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Karl Turner – “On air pollution, the Government have frankly been found wanting. They have failed to give local authorities the powers they need to protect air quality and failed to support sustainable transport. Those failures threaten not only public health, but future investment. Will the Minister take this opportunity to explain how he will ensure that legal levels of air quality will be achieved if Heathrow is expanded? What resources have he or the Government directed to that important task?”

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Karl Turner – “The revised NPS has increased the estimate for carbon emissions from the third runway, but it does not explain the national implications. Will that lead to the sacrificing of growth at regional airports or more challenging limits for other sectors? Can the Minister shed some more light on how the UK will meet carbon emissions targets with the expansion of Heathrow?”

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Karl Turner – “The noise assessment in the NPS uses indicative flight paths, and the actual flight paths will be published only after the decision on Heathrow’s development consent order application is made. There is no requirement for them to bear any resemblance to the flight paths published in the NPS. The revised NPS uses 2013 as a baseline, which allows the airport to bank technology changes when they should be used to alleviate the noise impacts of the airport. Given the importance of the issue, I would be grateful for the Minister’s thoughts on whether the noise assessment in the NPS gives an accurate account of the noise impacts.”

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Karl Turner – “any decision must be based on hard evidence with transparency. As we have seen today, many questions seem to remain unanswered.”

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5.19pm

Government spokesman:
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jesse Norman)
 [who has been in the job for just a month, and did not appear to be on top of his brief] – ” I emphasise that no final decision—indeed, no decision of any kind—has been taken on the matter. To that extent, to answer the right hon. Member for Twickenham, the Government are absolutely open to contrary arguments and considerations, within their stated preference.”

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Jesse Norman (on air quality) – “the Government have assessed the impact of the Heathrow north-west runway scheme on the air quality plan. Within that analysis, it appears to be compliant, and that is before taking account of any mitigation measures that Heathrow could apply. That is the basis on which the Government are proceeding.”

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Jesse Norman (on surface access costs) – ” The Government do not recognise TfL’s numbers, which appear to include schemes that are not directly related to Heathrow. The infrastructure contribution that the Government make will be related not to the airport, but to the other incidental benefits that transport has for users.”

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Jesse Norman (on flight paths) – “Finally, on the detail on flights, proposals to change the UK’s airspace need to follow the Civil Aviation Authority’s airspace change process, which is the regulatory process that the Government have adopted. It is not in the Government’s hands to vary that in this context. As with other aspects, we will follow due process.”

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Vince Cable – summing up – “As far as the responsiveness of the Government is concerned, I am gratified that the Minister said in his concluding remarks that they still have an open mind. Many past comments cast some doubt on that. I am also grateful that the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull East (Karl Turner) said that the Opposition are approaching the issue pragmatically and in terms of tests, and that they have not come to a final conclusion on it. Those responses give me some encouragement that there is a lot more to argue for.”

 

See the full transcript, and the full inadequacy of the Minister’s remarks (the standard platitudes), at 

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-01-24/debates/43680C9E-16A2-4E67-A576-C211759275F2/HeathrowAirportPublicConsultation

 

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