Unfortunately the story below was an April Fools joke.
Howewer, the number of homes to be demolished (783), the number of homes Heathrow has had to offer to buy (3,750), the shortage of land to build houses in areas around Heathrow, are all accurate and true. So is the absence of any plan to move those who will have their homes compulsorily purchased to alternative sites, let alone to move people as a community.
Harmondsworth and Longford residents, who are facing the bulldozers if Heathrow’s north-west runway goes ahead, could be offered new homes on Sunbury Golf Course. Heathrow Airport Ltd are understood to have been in negotiation for the compulsory purchase of the golf centre site, that includes a popular 6,000-yard course. MPs and local authorities around Heathrow have expressed concern about the housing crisis in London and the South East, and the necessity to re-house those currently living in the 783 homes that will be destroyed. In addition Heathrow has offered to buy up 3,750 houses that will become almost uninhabitable due to the noise and air pollution. These people also need to be found new homes. Heathrow bosses have been looking at possible solutions, wishing to be fair to local communities and foster community cohesion.They have therefore been in covert discussions with neighbouring councils during the past 6 months, to find suitable sites for the relocation of the villagers. Spelthorne Council, a strong supporter of a Heathrow 3rd runway, has played an important behind-the-scenes role in this search. Sunbury Golf Course site provides the ideal location. The planning process for this major project is expected to be fast-tracked so that initial work can begin this autumn.
Heathrow in secret plan to compulsory purchase Sunbury Golf Course for housing
1.4.2015 (SHE – Stop Heathrow Expansion)
April Fools joke …. sadly Heathrow is not being this proactive … nor is there any such attractive solution …
Harmondsworth and Longford residents facing the Heathrow bulldozers could be offered new homes on Sunbury Golf Course if a secret plan goes ahead. Heathrow Airport Ltd are understood to have held negotiations with the Secretary of State, on compulsory purchase of the golf centre site that includes a popular 6,000-yard course.
MPs and local authorities around Heathrow have expressed concern that the housing crisis in London and the South East has become a major election issue and could mean that expansion at Heathrow in undeliverable.
The Airports Commission, which has been given the task of assessing the rival runway plans of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, will make its recommendation this summer on where a new south east runway should be built. The announcement is expected by the end of June., The Commission considers that a minimum of 783 homes would be destroyed if Heathrow builds the proposed north west runway, although anti-expansion campaigners claim that the initial figure will be 289 higher.
Harmondsworth village centre
In December 2014, immediately prior to Sir Howard Davies holding a consultation event in Sipson, Heathrow announced that it would offer to buy up to 3,750 properties in villages to the north of airport, which are likely to be severely affected by aircraft noise and pollution. The village of Longford would be completely destroyed, while Harmondsworth would be reduced to a few homes, a church and an historical barn.
The remaining villages of Sipson and Harlington would be severely affected by noise and pollution. Heathrow says it will buy these homes from current residents and fit soundproofing before, before renting them out to airport workers at market value. This happened, but without the soundproofing, to 238 homes in Sipson and Harmondsworth that were purchased by the airport in 2010.
Discussions are now taking place to see if the occupants of the homes to be compulsorily purchased could be re-housed within the M25.
Fearing that the Airports Commission has concerns about the impact on community cohesion of the mass demolitions and the lack of suitable affordable housing in the area for those displaced, Heathrow bosses have been looking at possible solutions. Heathrow has expressed its wish to be fair to local communities,and have raised the issue of community cohesion.
The impact on community cohesion, caused by the mass demolitions and the lack of suitable affordable housing in the areas for those displaced, were raised in submissions to the Airports Commission consultation, that ended on 3rd February. Heathrow bosses have been looking at possible solutions and now acknowledge it will be necessary to create entirely new villages within nearby boroughs, to accommodate those displaced.
April Fools joke …. sadly Heathrow is not being this proactive … nor is there any such attractive solution …
Heathrow has been in covert discussions with neighbouring councils during the past 6 months, to find suitable sites for the relocation of the villagers. While some areas south of Heathrow have been ruled out due to planned changes in the road network to accommodate the increased traffic from the extended coach station and freight depot, Laleham, Ashford and Shepperton are thought to be still under consideration. Surrey Future, a group that brings together Surrey’s local authorities and business leaders, has already revealed that it has been working with the Airports Commission to find solutions that will lead to a recommendation favouring Heathrow expansion.
Spelthorne Council, a strong supporter of a Heathrow 3rd runway, has played an important behind-the-scenes role in this search. It is believed that council officials suggested Heathrow’s current publicity slogan, “Those living around us are behind us” as a means of countering any resistance to development plans.
Spelthorne is currently consulting on the borough’s housing strategy, which includes a warning that in a borough that because it is 17% water and 65% Green Belt, no site is totally safe from housing development. The borough needs to build at least 160 homes a year until 2026, even without the need to rehouse those displaced by building another Heathrow runway. The Airports Commission states that the lure of new airport-related jobs will bring 70,000 people into the area, who Spelthorne hopes to welcome.
After deciding that Sunbury Golf Course site provides the ideal location to satisfy angry residents forced to relocate from the Heathrow Villages, Spelthorne Conservative Councillors have formed a partnership with designers employed by the Chinese Sovereign Wealth Fund, co-owners of Heathrow. They have been working in secret to build a replica copy of Harmondsworth and Longford to illustrate to the Secretary of State the feasibility and desirability of the plans. And to make the new residents feel more at home.
A source working within the partnership, who asked not be named, said “Heathrow will be making a substantial profit for its shareholders once a third runway is built so spending £5 billion on housing in Spelthorne is no problem. We aim to focus on the positives like more jobs in hospitality and construction, faster roads and more flights to India and China. Everyone will be a winner, even those losing their communities and old buildings will get a new purpose-built estate. There could be funding from the EU Infrastructure Asset Investment Trust to help with the cost, so that will reduce the cost to British taxpayers”.
The planning process for this major project is expected to be fast-tracked so that initial work can begin this autumn. The Sunbury Golf Clubhouse will be commandeered to house some of the senior project management team who will also oversee the brick by brick dismantling and rebuilding of key buildings from Harmondsworth and Longford. This could include St Mary the Virgin church in Harmondsworth, where the Great Tithe Barn has just undergone adaptations to enable it to be moved to the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum if necessary.
Sunbury Golf Course Clubhouse
April Fools joke …. sadly Heathrow is not being this proactive … nor is there any such attractive solution …
Recruitment teams will travel to Eastern Europe to recruit some of the 10,000 construction workers who will be needed for the first phase of demolition and redevelopment. They will be housed in 2,000 Portacabins at Laleham Cricket Club, which will be renamed Heathrow Workers’ City. This will provide a welcome boost for the local economy, especially Staines Shopping Centre.
An anonymous source at Spelthorne Borough Council said, “We feel privileged to be paving the way for a fourth runway to make Heathrow better AND bigger. Frankly, when Heathrow turns up with wheelbarrows full of cash from its Chinese and Qatari owners it’s impossible to say no. In a few years time everyone will have forgotten the golf course and the old duffers who used it, they’ll have a whole new development, that’s progress. Heathrow is promising to end youth unemployment with apprenticeships to teach them how to serve food, sell duty-free goods and make hotel beds. Kevin Harman, speaking on behalf of the Heathrow Hub option, told us that there will be plenty of work in security because there is a lot of money in terrorism. Honestly, I’m not joking. He said that at a public meeting when he said there’d be more jobs.”
A golfer, Conservative voter and retired airline worker who is close to the Sunbury Golf Club Committee stated that he’d been persuaded to wave goodbye to the club by the promise of jobs, jobs and more jobs. He quipped “Heathrow replacing beauty with concrete is par for the course.”
Sidney Sciurus, who considers himself a typical Back Heathrow supporter said, “If you build blocks of flats you could solve the housing problem and make way for even more runways. I love the new quiet planes. People who complain about being woken up at 4am should get double glazing. It’s nuts to stand in the way of Heathrow’s foreign owners just because they don’t have to live here with the extra pollution.
He continued, “I live far enough away that it doesn’t affect me so the sooner they dig up Sunbury Golf Club the better. No ifs, no buts, bring on the bulldozers!
April Fools joke …. sadly Heathrow is not being this proactive … nor is there any such attractive solution …
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Stobart Air, the aviation subsidiary of airport-owner Stobart Group, has applied for start-up aid from the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund. It has asked for funding support for daily services from Carlisle to Southend, Belfast and Dublin to begin in April 2016. In January the Government announced that small airports, that handle fewer than 5 million passengers a year, were encouraged to bid for a share of the £56 million over 3 years to subsidise new routes. The three routes from Carlisle are among 19 under consideration for the latest tranche of aid. Others wanting the aid include Norwich to Paris and Southampton to Lyon with Flybe, and Oxford to Edinburgh with Links Air. Stobart should find out in May if its bids have cleared the first hurdle, and by July if they have been successful. A £12 million redevelopment of Carlisle Airport is under way and should be complete by this September. Stobart is building a freight distribution centre and resurfacing the runway. Previous attempts over many decades to launch scheduled flights from Carlisle have ended in failure. Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The range and ambition of the bids shows how smaller airports can transform their local areas with new connections and trade links.”
Passenger services may start from Carlisle Airport next April
31.3.2015 (News & Star)
by Julian Whittle
Scheduled passenger flights from Carlisle Airport could take off in a year’s time.
Stobart Air, the aviation subsidiary of airport-owner Stobart Group, has applied for start-up aid from the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund.
It is asking for support for daily services from Carlisle to London Southend, Belfast and Dublin to begin in April 2016.
Funding of £56 million is available over three years to subsidise new routes from regional airports that handle fewer than 5m passengers a year.[More details below].
The three routes from Carlisle are among 19 under consideration for the latest tranche of aid.
Others include Norwich to Paris and Southampton to Lyon with Flybe, and Oxford to Edinburgh with Links Air.
Stobart should find out in May if its bids have cleared the first hurdle, and by July if they have been successful.
Nobody from the company was prepared to comment.
Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The range and ambition of the bids shows how smaller airports can transform their local areas with new connections and trade links.
“This announcement builds on the Government’s commitment to ensuring smaller airports grow, boosting both local and national economies.”
The Regional Air Connectivity Fund was launched in June 2013 and has already supported routes from Dundee and Newquay into London.
Stobart proposed daily flights to Dublin and twice-daily flights to London Southend as part of its planning application for the redevelopment of Carlisle Airport.
The Belfast route is an addition to those plans.
A £12m redevelopment of Carlisle Airport is underway and should be complete by September. Stobart is building a freight distribution centre and resurfacing the runway.
Previous attempts to launch scheduled flights from Carlisle have ended in failure.
Air Ecosse started flights to Scotland and London in 1982 and, the following year, to the Isle of Man.
The Manx route was axed after one year and in 1985 Air Ecosse pulled out altogether.
Its daily flights to Heathrow were transferred to EuroAir, which withdrew two years later.
Viking began flights to Jersey in 1985 but went into receivership in 1987.
That same year, Air Furness briefly revived Isle of Man flights.
Nothing then happened until 1993 when New Air restarted a London service with flights to Stansted – only for the firm to go into receivership within two months.
Almost immediately Lakeside Northwest started a London service.
It ran up huge losses and collapsed by the end of the year.
Geordie Air Travel announced a service to London Docklands in 1994, only to call it off – blaming lack of custom – before the first flight departed.
The following year Lewis Holidays, which had promised flights to Jersey, pulled out a week before the service was due to begin.
Government receives 19 bids for regional airport funding
By Tom Newcombe
The government has published the details of 19 bids it received during the first application stage for funding from the Regional Air Connectivity Fund.
The funding is available for brand new routes for regional airports which handle fewer than 5 million passengers a year.
The Regional Air Connectivity Fund was announced by the government in June 2013. The fund is used to maintain regional air connections. The government doubled the size of the fund to £20 million per year in the 2014 Budget.
Among the 19 bids which have been received during the initial application stage include:
Daily Flybe route between Norwich and Paris Charles de Gaulle (proposed to start April 1, 2016)
Double daily Flybe route between Norwich and Dublin (proposed to start April 1, 2016)
Daily Stobart Air route between Carlisle and Belfast (proposed to start April 1, 2016)
Daily weekday Bmi Regional route between Doncaster Sheffield and Frankfurt (proposed to start April 1, 2016)
The final short-list of airports that have met the criteria will be made in early May. Those successful routes will then move forward to the “strategic and economic appraisal stage”, with successful bids being announced in July 2015.
The Regional Air Connectivity Fund has a total of £56 million available to cover 3 years of financial support for start-up aid.
Previous beneficiaries of the funding include Flybe’s Newquay to Gatwick airport route, which chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander referred to as being “vital for Cornwall’s businesses, tourist industry and residents”.
Regional airports asked to bid for up to £56 million funding for new routes over next 3 years
By Department for Transport and Robert Goodwill
22 January 2015
Airports and airlines are being urged to bid for government funding of up to £17.5 million in the next year to help launch new routes.
This ‘start up aid’ will be made available from the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, which was announced by the government in June 2013 and is open to airports with fewer than 5 million passengers per year. This fund has already been partly distributed to support strategic routes to London from Newquay and Dundee but is now being extended to bids for more routes.
The £56 million is available to cover 3 years of financial support for start-up aid, with £17.5 million being made available to bids in 2015/16 and around £20 million a year for each of the remaining years. The aid will create new routes, boosting connectivity, increasing trade and supporting jobs in the regions. [Not to mention boosting outbound tourism. AW note].
Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said:
Smaller airports are vital to local economies and ensuring they thrive is a key part of our long term economic plan.
I want to encourage the industry to apply to expand their routes, to generate UK growth and jobs, as well as boosting our trade links with countries all over the world.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:
I created the Regional Air Connectivity Fund because, as a Highlander, I appreciate the immense value of regional air routes to people living in remote communities across the UK.
This fund has already supported valuable services like Newquay’s London route, which has a return of 2.5 for every pound invested, making it great value for taxpayers too. I hope this further funding will help other areas sustain economically important connections too.
To apply for the funding, airports and airlines will have to provide evidence to show their proposed route will generate local benefits and represents value for money. See the guidance for airports on how to apply.
The initial application stage will run for five weeks, closing on Wednesday 25 February. Ministers will announce a shortlist of bids in March 2015. A list of successful bidders will then be published in June.
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CAGNE, the local group set up in 2014 at Gatwick, in response to the trial of new, concentrated flight paths, has written to the Airports Commission, to complain about the activities of Gatwick Airport. Local groups have persistently complained that senior airport staff have declined invitations to attend meetings of communities around the airport. The airport is aware of the huge amount of local opposition. Instead, Gatwick has focused its advertising money and its PR on the London area. It has also contacted a large number of councils, in areas closer to Heathrow (where a Heathrow runway would be opposed) to try to get them to support a Gatwick runway instead. CAGNE points out that the Airports Commission’s own work, in its Appraisal Framework, expects runway scheme promoters will show “evidence of sustained and meaningful engagement with local and community stakeholders including highlighting any changes of features of scheme designs arising as a result of this engagement.” The Commission also expects the runway promoters to work on managing their “engagement with communities throughout the lifespan of the proposed project, including the period after any new infrastructure is delivered.” CAGNE has little confidence, considering the poor record of Gatwick airport so far, in its future engagement with local people.
CAGNE has made an official complaint to the Airports Commission
30.3.2015 (CAGNE – Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)
CAGNE, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions, has made an official complaint to the Airports Commission about the “unethical” actions of Gatwick’s PR team.
Email exchanges between representatives of Gatwick’s PR team and local parish councils in the Heathrow area expose Gatwick’s efforts to encourage local authorities around Heathrow to campaign for Gatwick.
Commenting on the complaint, Pavey explained:
“Gatwick has deliberately avoided open consultation with its most important stakeholders – local residents.
“We’ve now discovered that all this time they’ve actively encouraged Heathrow’s local authorities to support a second runway. It’s unethical and must be challenged.
“The fact remains that 12 local authorities and 8 local area MPs around Gatwick do not support their plans. It’s no wonder, given that a second runway would destroy the tranquillity of Sussex, not to mention Gatwick’s complete disregard of local concerns.”
Given the deliberate lack of consultation by Gatwick executives with its own neighbours in Sussex, CAGNE believe the resourcing of a number of full time staff to consult with Heathrow locals is unethical and is in open defiance of the Commission’s appraisal framework.
CAGNE’s letter to the Commission states that: “The Commission believes that it is important for local communities most affected by airport development to be properly engaged and consulted. The Commission wishes to examine how scheme promoters intend to manage their engagement with communities throughout the lifespan of the proposed project, including the period after any new infrastructure is delivered.” [Section 16.3 Airports Commission Appraisal Framework. April 2014. Page 119. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/300223/airports-commission-appraisal-framework.pdf ]
The first time concerned residents in Sussex were able to ask questions of executives from Gatwick was at the Airports Commission public consultation day on 16th December.
The issue of the resourcing of Gatwick staff to consult with Heathrow communities was raised at the last GATCOM (Gatwick’s consultative committee) meeting. Gatwick executive, Charles Kirwan-Taylor, suggested this is standard practice and that Heathrow would have done the same.
However, none of the Gatwick area councils at that meeting have received such a communication from Heathrow executives encouraging them to vote for expansion at Heathrow instead of Gatwick.
The fact that Gatwick is spending millions of pounds in advertising and posters in London and around Heathrow, but none locally, reinforces the view Gatwick have not consulted or engaged properly with local residents or councils. They are not providing any of the facts such as how a 2nd runway would cost the Government billions of ££s of taxpayers’ money for social, as well as transport, infrastructure. The issue of the cost to the taxpayer is a key factor that the local authorities and MPs have recognised. However, Gatwick is selective with its figures and avoided the issue of cost to the public purse.
The Airports Commission Appraisal Framework also said one of the expected outputs of the assessment was:
“Evidence of sustained and meaningful engagement with local and community stakeholders including highlighting any changes of features of scheme designs arising as a result of this engagement.” Page 122 on Appraisal Framework
Letter from CAGNE to the Airports Commission
18th March 2015
Sir Howard Davies
20 Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT
Dear Sir Howard
CAGNE would like to make a formal complaint about the actions of Gatwick Airport’s Public Relations executive relating to the attached email sent to residents and councils around Heathrow. It is now quite clear that many Commission submissions made from councils in West London have been led and worded by Gatwick.
Given the deliberate lack of consultation by Gatwick executives with its own neighbours in Sussex and Kent, the resourcing of a number of full time staff to consult with Heathrow locals is unethical and is in open defiance of your Commission’s appraisal framework.
It states that “The Commission believes that it is important for local communities most affected by airport development to be properly engaged and consulted. The Commission wishes to examine how scheme promoters intend to manage their engagement with communities throughout the lifespan of the proposed project, including the period after any new infrastructure is delivered.” [Section 16.3 Airports Commission Appraisal Framework. April 2014. Page 119. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/300223/airports-commission-appraisal-framework.pdf ]
As you are aware, the first time concerned residents in Sussex and Kent were able to ask questions of executives from Gatwick was at the Airports Commission public consultation. Since that time, Gatwick have resumed their policy of obfuscation relating to the expansion plans of the airport and the effect on our communities.
The resourcing of Gatwick staff to consult with Heathrow communities was raised at the last GATCOM meeting and Gatwick executive, Charles Kirwan Taylor, suggested this is standard practice and that Heathrow would have done the same.
None of the councils at that meeting have received such a communication from Heathrow executives encouraging them to vote for expansion at Heathrow instead of Gatwick.
The fact that Gatwick is spending millions of pounds in advertising and posters around Heathrow and none locally, reinforces the fact Gatwick have not consulted or engaged with local residents or councils.
By ignoring this key part of the appraisal framework, it is no surprise that 12 local authorities, 8 MPs, airlines, big business and residents groups that surround Gatwick all oppose expansion would suggest we have been totally ignored by Gatwick management.
On this basis alone, the submission by Gatwick as a short-listed option for the Airports Commission should be withdrawn.
Chair of CAGNE
cc Prime Minister David Cameron
Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin
Rt Hon Francis Maude MP
Crispin Blunt MP
Nick Herbert MP
Sir Nicholas Soames MP
Charles Hendry MP
Sam Gyimah MP
Sir John Stanley MP
Sir Paul Beresford MP
Henry Smith MP
George Osborne MP
Text of email from Gatwick airport to local councils around Heathrow to get them to back a Gatwick runway.
From: Russell Guthrie [mailto:Russell.Guthrie@gatwickairport.com]
Sent: 15 January 2015 14:12
To: ………….. X Y Z
Subject: Supporting Gatwick
Dear parish council and residents association
I hope you don’t mind the unsolicited email, but I have been prompted to write to you after being contacted by several other parish councils and residents associations in the Heathrow area recently. All of them expressed concern about the effect of Heathrow’s third runway plan and asked whether there was anything their members could do to support a new runway at Gatwick.
The simple answer is yes – there are two things your members could do if they choose. I have highlighted both methods below and, assuming you think the cause is worthwhile, I wondered if you would be willing to ‘cascade’ this information to all your members via email or any other method at your disposal?
The first way to support Gatwick is by responding to the Airports Commission’s consultation telling them why you oppose a third runway at Heathrow. The consultation closes on Tuesday 3 February so there is not a great deal of time left to do this. I have set out how to respond online, via email and by post below, and have also attached a summary of why we think Gatwick has the stronger case to build a new runway. These may help people fill out the consultation form more quickly and easily, although respondents do not have to answer every question on the form.
The second way to support Gatwick is to register your support. The Airports Commission will be made aware of total number of people supporting Gatwick, so it is important that as many people as possible register their support.
Should you wish to respond to the consultation, please make your voice heard before 3 February by emailing the Airports Commission at email@example.com, by filling in their online survey or by writing to: …. address given …)
How do I register my support for Gatwick? Simply fill in your name and email address on the website linked to below: http://www.gatwickobviously.com/mailing-list-sign-up/standard
Why is Gatwick the right location for a new runway? See attached document. (not attached here).
My Colleague Hannah Staunton, Head of Community Engagement at Gatwick Airport can answer any questions you might have & can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Media Campaigns Manager
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Heathrow airport has two different versions of its massive poster near Terminal 5. They have the same text, with claims of the alleged economic benefits to the UK of a new runway. One poster says “Expand Heathrow and you grow the economy by £100 billion.” And other nearby says “Expand Heathrow and you grow the economy by up to £211 billion.” They cannot both be right. Is this merely a matter of picking wildly different figures out of the air? Heathrow airport responded that: “£100bn was our conservative estimate. When the Airports Commission analysed it they estimated up to £211bn across UK.” What the massive posters fail to say it these purported benefit are not for one year. They are over a 60 year period, 2026 to 2086. ie. not a huge amount per year, (£2 – 3 billion maximum, on a generous estimate) bearing in mind the huge tourism deficit (perhaps £10 – £13 billion per year); or the loss to the Treasury as air travel pays no VAT and no fuel duty, (amounting to perhaps £10 billion per year). But the Airports Commission estimate of £211 billion economic benefit from a new NW Heathrow runway comes with many caveats – by the Commission itself. They say the “results should be interpreted with caution, given the innovative methodology used…” So more that are difficult to substantiate.
Two huge Heathrow adverts, spotted today by an observant passer by near Terminal 5 on 28th March 2015. They are Heathrow claims about the amount of economic growth that it might bring to the UK if it gets a 3rd runway.
One says it will expand the economy by “£100 billion.” The other identical poster says it will be “up to £211 billion.”
That is actually quite a large difference …. not an insignificant difference … Over £100 billion.
As a local wit commented: “Heathrow cut their UK economy forecast by more than 50% but fail to inform the Davies Commission.”
Heathrow airport, commenting on these two nearby posters up, with entirely different claims about alleged benefits of a new runway, (£100 billion or up to £211 billion) says that: “£100bn was our conservative estimate. When the Airports Commission analysed it they estimated up to £211bn across UK.”
That benefit is over a 60 year period, 2026 to 2086.
Sixty years. . ie. not a huge amount of benefit per year, (£2 – 3 billion maximum, on a generous estimate) bearing in mind the huge tourism deficit (perhaps £10 – £13 billion per year; or the loss to the Treasury as air travel pays no VAT and no fuel duty, amounting to perhaps £10 billion per year).
But the Airports Commission estimate of £211 billion economic benefit from a new NW Heathrow runway comes with many caveats – by the Commission itself. They say the “results should be interpreted with caution.”
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Heathrow airport set up and funds a body called the “National Connectivity Task Force” (NCTF). This produced a report in March, looking at regional connectivity – and putting arguments that suit Heathrow. (Gatwick airport, unsurprisingly strongly disagrees with it). As well as saying how important links to regional airports are from Heathrow, though these have progressively been cut as long haul flights are more profitable, the NCTF report says RAF Northolt airport, just a few miles north of Heathrow, should be used as an extension to Heathrow, for smaller planes to regional airports. As this news broke about the same time as the Germanwings plane tragedy, it did not get press attention. What Heathrow wants is to have Northolt brought into service, as an interim measure, before it can get a new runway. If Gatwick was chosen for a runway, Heathrow could use Northolt for domestic flights it has been promising regional airports, in order to get their backing for a Heathrow runway. Heathrow says the Northolt runway could not be used at the same time as a Heathrow north-west runway. RAF Northolt does not comply with the safety standards required for a civilian airport. Its runway ends just short of the busy A40.
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The election campaign starts in earnest on 30th March, and voters are not to be given proper information on what their MPs and parliamentary candidates think about a new runway, or whether they back one at Heathrow or Gatwick. Or neither. The government deliberately told the Airports Commission it should not report till after this general election. The Lib Dems have confirmed they do not back either runway (though individual MPs appear to back a Gatwick runway). The official line by Conservatives is that they will be waiting for the Commission’s recommendation (expected by the end of June). Labour has also said this and Ed Balls announced that Labour would quickly set up an Infrastructure Commission, to get things like a new runway approved quickly. Now an article in the Independent, sourced largely from the lobby group “Let Britain Fly” and the right wing Conservative 1922 committee, wants a rapid decision after the election, for at least one more runway. This ignores the fact that the Airports Commission’s own work shows this cannot be built, without threatening the UK’s carbon target. The Commission’s analysis has left much to still be considered. It would not be possible to agree on a runway, till a great deal more work has been done by government, on carbon, noise, air quality, cost to the taxpayer, extent of economic benefit and local social and health impacts. Among other things.
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Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has refused London City Airport’s plan to expand on noise grounds. In a letter he has instructed Newham Council, who had approved the application, to refuse it. The Mayor says the application does not “adequately mitigate and manage its adverse noise impacts.” Newham’s decision was always dependent on the Mayor’s approval. London City Airport wanted permission to build new taxiways to permit larger planes to use the airport. It also wanted more car parking spaces. The decision will be a bitter blow to the airport as it will now no longer be able to bring in the larger planes it wanted to serve new destinations. John Stewart, chair of HACAN East, which campaigned against the expansion plans, said “The airport is paying the price for being so cavalier about noise. Quite simply, Boris did not believe its claims that it was dealing adequately with noise. We salute his decision”. The decision appears to be final, and it is unclear whether London City Airport can appeal to the Secretary of State. They may do so.
Boris turns down London City Airport expansion plans on noise grounds
26.3.2015 (HACAN East)
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has refused London City Airport’s plan to expand on noise grounds. In a letter he has instructed Newham Council, who had approved the application, to refuse it (1). Newham’s decision was always dependent on the Mayor’s approval.
London City Airport wanted permission to build new taxiways to permit larger planes to use the airport. It also wanted more car parking spaces. The decision will be a bitter blow to the airport as it will now no longer be able to bring in the larger planes it wanted to serve new destinations.
John Stewart, chair of HACAN East, which campaigned against the expansion plans, said “The airport is paying the price for being so cavalier about noise. Quite simply, Boris did not believe its claims that it was dealing adequately with noise. We salute his decision”
The text of the letter to Newham Council, Development Control.
London City Airport: Mayor rejects expansion plan
The council had said noise would be limited by flight restrictions, a noise barrier and soundproofing nearby homes
A £220m bid to expand London City Airport has been turned down by the mayor after more than 1,000 people objected to it.
Boris Johnson has instructed Newham Council to refuse the application on noise grounds.
The airport sought permission to create more parking spaces and build new taxiways for larger planes.
Planning permission was granted by the council in February but was subject to the mayor’s approval.
The council had said permission included conditions to help limit the noise disturbance, such as imposing flight restrictions, erecting a noise barrier and funding soundproofing packages for residents.
However a spokesman for the mayor said he believed the scheme would have lead to an “unacceptable increase in noise for East Londoners” without benefitting the city.
He said the mayor was also unwilling to expose East London to an increase in noise on the basis that he had already argued it would be unacceptable for West London if Heathrow Airport were expanded.
The mayor believed the “only long-term option” to balance the airport capacity issue with residents’ quality of life, was to build a new hub to the east of of the city, he added.
London City Airport said it was “perplexed and disappointed” by the mayor’s decision.
It said expansion would have increased London’s airport capacity, created up to 1,500 jobs, and attracted a further £750m for the UK economy.
John Stewart, chairman of HACAN East that campaigned against the expansion plans, said the group “salutes” the mayor’s decision.
“The airport is paying the price for being so cavalier about noise,” he said.
Boris Johnson ditches £200m London City Airport expansion plans
Ditched: CGI plans for the £200m City Airport expansion
26.3.2015 (Evening Standard)
By Sebastian Mann
Boris Johnson today pulled the plug on plans to double the capacity of London City Airport, saying expansion would “blight the lives of thousands of people”.The Mayor of London said granting permission for the £200million scheme – including a 50 per cent increase in take-offs and landings – would lead to an “unacceptable” increase in noise, and stood by his call for the construction of a so-called Boris Island hub airport to the east of London.
His decision, welcomed by campaigners, drew accusations of “blatant electioneering” from the Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, whose council waved through expansion proposals last month.
A Mayor of London spokesman today said: “The mayor has long argued that Heathrow Airport cannot be expanded due to the increased noise it would lead to in west London and he is not willing to expose east London to additional noise either.
“The Mayor continues to believe that a new hub airport to the east of London is the only long-term option that will provide enough aviation capacity – without detriment to the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of people in London and the southeast.”
Newham Council’s directly elected mayor Sir Robin said Mr Johnson’s decision was political and would cost the borough 2,000 jobs.
“Boris Johnson is guilty of blatant electioneering,” he said.
“He is clearly more interested in chasing election votes in Uxbridge than securing vital jobs and investment in east London.
“The cost of that electioneering is 2,000 jobs in Newham alone, £750m every year for the UK economy and the loss of environmental improvements.”
Expansion: the plans were touted as a major boost for the capital
The attack prompted Mr Johnson to fire back: “Robin Wales doesn’t speak for the people of East London.
“Perhaps he’d like to explain why it’s acceptable to support proposals that would have blighted the lives of thousands of Londoners if this proposal had gone ahead.”
Expansion proposals included an increase in the number of take-offs and landings at the airport from 70,000 a year to 111,000, almost doubling the number of passengers to six million annually by 2023.
Under the plans, the terminal would also be extended and seven new stands for aircraft introduced.
But in a letter sent to Newham Council today Mr Johnson directed the local authority to refuse the airport’s planning application.
Last month, City Airport’s chief executive Declan Collier said expansion would be a major boost to London’s economy and would provide an urgent increase in air capacity the capital “desperately” needs.
He said: “Expansion will allow us to increase the flight capacity over the next few years that London so badly needs now.”
Alan Haughton, from anti-expansion campaign group Stop City Airport, today said: “I am delighted by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s refusal of these plans that would have seen thousands of residents entering a new London City Airport noise contour.
“The impacts of noise on residents should not be underestimated nor ignored as it has a direct impact on their quality of life – something that the Labour Council of Newham did not fully respect when they gave their approval.
“No other East London Council supported this application and thousands of residents objected.”
A separate application to build a six-storey four-star hotel on the City Airport site has been left to the council to determine.
30.3.2015 (Stop City Airport Masterplan)
We are in unchartered waters.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has instructed Newham Council to refuse the London City Airport (LCY) planning application to massively expand the airport due to the impacts on this vastly growing part of East London. The noise would impact many other boroughs including Tower Hamlets and Greenwich.
The planning application has been a long drawn out process. Campaigners have forced consultation after consultation due to a number of errors in the process. Newham Council and the Greater London Authority (GLA) have also requested more and more information. What the Airport hoped would have been done and dusted over a few months in 2013 has dragged on for nearly two years to 2015.
This is now the point where Airport owners Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) should walk away. GIP, owners of London City Airport and Gatwick should quietly fire a few of the LCY executives, the current London City Airport Consultative Committee (LCACC) should be disbanded with a new more cohesive and balanced consultative committee and any thought of legal challenges should be dropped. Time is not on their side.
Gatwick, Boris Johnson and the Airports Commission.
Gatwick is the jewel in Global Infrastructure Partners Aviation Crown. It’s where the big money is. The most sweat-able asset.
I have heard from a number of sources that GIP Gatwick are hoping for a killer blow in its war with Heathrow. The blow comes in the form of Boris Johnson. They are hoping he will come out and support a second runway at Gatwick.
The most likely scenario is that come May 2015 Boris Johnson will be Mayor and an MP. A number of his City Hall colleagues look likely to be there too. A yes to a Gatwick second runway from his lips could change everything. Hell, he could even be Minister for Transport if the Tories win re-election. Or even Secretary of State.
Do you really want to be challenging a Mayor and MP sitting in the House of Commons when the Davies Commission will be reporting its findings? He’s the only ace up their sleeve they have left.
London City Airport have a number of routes they can explore but they have two main options, either go for a judicial review or an appeal to the Secretary of State.
In the case of a judicial review (JR) they would have to launch it almost immediately against Boris Johnson. They have up to three months to do so but there is no guarantee it would be heard. For a JR to be heard the airport would have to prove that Boris did not follow due process. Incredibly difficult from all that I have seen during this application. If, on the off chance, they did get it heard, there is no guarantee of a win at the end of that long drawn out process. If they did succeed in overturning the decision, other campaigners like myself supported by large environmental groups would step in with our own challenge. We have been gratefully receiving advice through this whole process. We have learned from 2009. We have set the stage. It is going to get messy.
Secondly an Appeal to the Secretary of State. GIP/LCY would have up to six months to launch bringing us up to September / October with again no guarantee of a win. Plus SOS Appeals also get messy. Very messy. Vocal campaigners like myself will get a chance to input. We may even get a public enquiry. This is not what GIP should want, with the Davies Commission report sitting in the laps of MP’s.
Any challenge now by LCY risks it’s owners GIP and Gatwick look untrustworthy when it comes to noise and residents. A view opposite to the one they have spend they have spent millions of pounds cultivating.
If you cannot trust LCY on noise you cannot trust Gatwick. It is that simple. To take on Boris now would be driven by blind stupidity and greed.
London City Airport will likely take the most obvious route. Go away, lick it’s wounds, put a new team in place and come back with a new planning application in the future.
And we will be here waiting, fighting.
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Sky News reports that the Board of Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) has been in discussions recently about buying the intellectual property rights held by the company putting forward the “Heathrow Hub” runway proposal. While Heathrow airport wants to build a north west runway, the Heathrow Hub idea is to extend the northern runway to the west, making it double length. The company behind the Heathrow Hub idea is “Runway Innovations”and in the past Heathrow has been moderately dismissive of their proposals. However, it is understood that though Heathrow’s Board would not yet pursue a deal with Runway Innovations, it could reconsider its position if the Airports Commission recommended Heathrow Hub’s proposal – rather than their own. A source believed Runway Innovations had been seeking at least £50m, though the figure may be lower. It was unclear if this included land options that could be developed to provide new rail facilities if the Heathrow Hub option is selected. The company’s land options are north west of Heathrow, where a rail intersection forms part of the Hub’s plan. Work on the Heathrow Hub proposal has been funded by 4 rich individuals with links to London’s financial sector. It has always been their plan to sell the intellectual property of their plans, for a substantial sum.
Heathrow Snubs Runway Rival’s Approach Path
The board of Britain’s biggest airport has been holding secret talks about a multimillion pound swoop to acquire a rival runway expansion concept at Heathrow.
Sky News has learnt that directors of Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) discussed in recent days a suggestion that it should acquire the intellectual property rights held by Runway Innovations, an independent group which wants to extend – and then divide in two – the airport’s existing northern runway.
People close to the discussions said that HAH decided at a board meeting last week that it would not pursue a deal at this time with Runway Innovations, which is also known as Heathrow Hub and which is fronted by Jock Lowe, a former British Airways Concorde pilot.
HAH responded to the Runway Innovations proposal in a letter sent on Friday, a source added, which said that it believed the best option for expanding Heathrow remained its own plan for a new, and entirely separate, third runway.
One source close to the situation said that Runway Innovations had been seeking at least £50m from HAH to buy it out, although it was unclear whether this included land options that could be developed to provide new rail facilities if the Heathrow Hub option is selected.
A person close to HAH, which counts some of the world’s wealthiest sovereign funds among its shareholders, said the price of acquiring the rights to Runway Innovations’ plans was substantially lower than £50m.
They added, however, that it could reconsider its opposition to buying its rival’s idea if the Airports Commission decides to recommend Heathrow Hub as its preferred mode of growing London’s creaking airport capacity.
Directors of HAH are said to believe that the noise respite afforded to local residents would be diminished under its rival’s plan, something Runway Innovations is understood to dispute.
A spokesman for Runway Innovations told Sky News: “We will continue to maintain a close and cordial relationship with Heathrow as we share a belief that it is the right place for airport expansion in the UK and superior to Gatwick in all respects.”
A spokesman for HAH declined to comment on its talks with Runway Innovations.
More about the Heathrow Hub proposal at http://www.heathrowhub.com/
John Holland-Kaye told the Mail he was” ‘relaxed’ about which option is eventually chosen, but added: ‘If the Government says it will be the Heathrow Hub, we’d be happy. But if it is between Gatwick and Heathrow, then the answer has to be Heathrow.’” Link
Heathrow Hub vies with established players in Britain’s airport debate
(Reuters) – A former Concorde pilot is at the centre of Britain’s long-running debate over airport expansion, with an idea he first had in 1988 that he believes offers a way out of a political quagmire.
Heathrow Hub is based on William “Jock” Lowe’s idea to extend the runways at London’s Heathrow airport, the world’s third busiest by passenger numbers, thereby adding capacity for more planes without building a new runway, an issue which has proved controversial in the past.
Lowe is one of an office-less team of four who spent 20,000 pounds to patent the Heathrow runway extension idea, then spent countless hours developing it into a full-blown submission that is now one of three options shortlisted for airport expansion.
The Heathrow Hub proposal, which is not backed by Heathrow Airport proper, comes in at 12 billion pounds ($20 billion), 5 billion pounds cheaper than the Heathrow alternative. It could be built two years earlier, by 2023, and its backers say it will avoid affecting any new areas with noise.
What’s not to like? Should it be selected, Heathrow Hub would be the first airport in the world to have an extra long runway where planes take off on one half and land on the other, prompting safety concerns.
Lowe said the worries were unfounded. The proposal has been backed up by safety reports and Heathrow Hub would not be too different from how Madrid’s airport operates. There, planes take off and land on runways with little separation at an angle.
What made 70-year old Lowe given up his retirement?
“I got annoyed and frustrated at the rubbish that was being talked about,” he said in an interview on Thursday.
His top complaint was that the plans being mooted for new airport capacity were not in his opinion politically deliverable.
London Mayor Boris Johnson proposes building a new airport east of the city on the Isle of Grain, at a cost of up to 112 billion pounds. The government-appointed commission will decide whether to shortlist it by the end of 2014.
Lowe believes the much-publicised idea of an alternative to Heathrow has begun to work in the airport’s favour, with a shift in local opinion underway.
“He’s (Johnson) actually woken up the local authorities and the people around Heathrow to the fact that it might close,” he said. “Their stance was no expansion, but the alternative is no airport there.”
Work on the Heathrow Hub proposal has been funded by four rich individuals with links to London’s financial sector, including former JP Morgan banker Ian Hannam, who on Wednesday lost an appeal against a fine for market abuse.
The potential 12 billion-pound Heathrow Hub project could be primarily funded by private investors, not the state, the team and their backers believe. They could be in for a windfall of their own if their scheme is recommended by the commission.
“We’re the proposer, not the developer,” Lowe said. If they win, they’d sell the intellectual property rights to Heathrow Airport, he said.
“None of us went into this to make huge, huge sums. There would be, I’m sure, the basis for a very reasonable and friendly discussion with Heathrow Airport.”
Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited is co-owned by Spanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial, its largest shareholder with a 25 percent share. Partners include Qatar Holding, ChinaInvestment Corp. and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Larry King)
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Heathrow has increasingly cut the number of flights to UK regional airports, as it has become more uneconomic for the airlines to run them – and long haul international routes are more profitable. But Heathrow is aware that it needs to get the backing of regional airports, in order to lobby to be allowed a 3rd runway. Heathrow therefore suggested the setting up of a National Connectivity Task Force. In order to boost flights to the regions, Heathrow now says that – only IF it gets a new runway – it will spend £10 million on for the development of 5 new domestic routes, for 3 years. These would include Newquay, Humberside and Liverpool. That would be in addition to the 4 extra routes that easyJet has said it wants to operate if there is a Heathrow runway, to Inverness, Belfast International, the Isle of Man and Jersey. There are currently 6 domestic routes from Heathrow (Leeds Bradford, Belfast City, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Newcastle). Heathrow also said it would launch a review of its airport charges in the coming weeks to focus on making domestic flights more commercially attractive (cheaper) to airlines. The results of this consultation, which is not dependent upon getting a new runway, will be effective from January 2016.
Heathrow commits to increasing domestic flights in bid for expansion
Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, has pledged to open new domestic routes if its plan for a third runway are approved
By Lauren Davidson (Telegraph)
23 March 2015
Heathrow has pledged to create more flights to regional airports in the UK if it wins its hotly-contested bid for expansion and has set aside £10m for the development of new domestic routes.
The West London airport said the multi-million pound conditional commitment would be able to fund five new local flight paths for three years, in addition to the four extra routes that easyJet has announced it would look to operate if a Heathrow expansion is confirmed.
Heathrow also said it would launch a review of its airport charges in the coming weeks to focus on making domestic flights more commercially attractive to airlines.
The results of the consultation, which is not dependent upon expansion, will be effective from January 2016.
Passengers can currently fly between Heathrow and seven domestic locations – including Leeds Bradford, Belfast City, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Newcastle – which means that several European airports have more connections to UK destinations than London’s largest airport does.
Amsterdam Schiphol serves almost four times as many British airports as Heathrow does, with connections to 27 destinations, while Paris Charles de Gaulle operates 16 UK routes.
Heathrow, which is currently operating at full capacity, has suggested its new routes could include Newquay, Humberside and Liverpool, while easyJet has said it would look to fly to Inverness, Belfast International, the Isle of Man and Jersey.
The announcement is the latest move in an ongoing battle between Gatwick and its larger rival for an expansion deal that would most likely see a new runway built at either location to serve demand for increased airport capacity in the London area.
Independent analysis from the Airports Commission has shown that an expanded Heathrow could add £214bn to GDP and create almost 180,000 jobs, while a second runway at Gatwick could boost the economy to the tune of £127bn and add around 50,000 jobs.
The chief executive of Heathrow pointed out that more than half these impacts would affect UK regions outside of London and the South East, with some 108,000 jobs and £88.5bn in economic benefits — out of a conservative estimate of a £147.2bn growth — landing in other UK regions.
The ability of either airport to boost connections with passengers outside of London will be crucial to the success of its expansion bid.
“Manufacturers are clear, despite the shortlist being two airports in the South East, this is a decision that will need to be taken in the national interest,” a spokesperson for the manufacturers’ association EEF said. “Export-intensive manufacturers right across the country rate aviation as critical to their business operations, with [our] surveys and engagement with members indicating a preference for Heathrow over Gatwick.”
Saad Hammad, chief executive of Flybe – the UK’s largest regional airline, which does not currently serve any routes connecting to Heathrow – said that he “welcomes the commitment of Heathrow to enhance regional connectivity both within current runway capacity constraints and in the event of new runway development.”
Commending Heathrow for “taking practical steps to be more inclusive,” Mr Hammad added: “Our national hub in the South East must address the needs of all the nations and regions of the UK not just those living within the boundary of the M25.”
The number of regional connections from Heathrow has fallen from 18 in 1990 to just seven today. Liverpools link to Heathrow was cancelled over 2 decades ago.
Heathrow unveils £10m fund to boost regional connectivity
Heathrow has unveiled a package of commitments for new routes, increased frequencies and funding for regional airports.
The measures, conditional on expansion, include a £10 million Heathrow Route Development Fund which aims to boost connectivity on domestic routes from Heathrow.
The changes will be partly funded by airport charges, which will be reviewed as Heathrow aims to keep certain domestic services “commercially attractive” to airlines from January 2016. [Why that date??]
The measures follow commitments made by the National Connectivity Task Force, set up in May 2014, with a remit to recommend how connectivity between the UK’s nations and regions and the major airports in the south east can be enhanced.
Four new routes outlined by Heathrow have already been earmarked by Easyjet – Inverness, Belfast International, Isle of Man and Jersey. Earlier this year Easyjet backed the airport for expansion over Gatwick.
Heathrow said the other three airports which could benefit from the Development Fund are Liverpool, Newquay and Humberside.
Flybe CEO Saad Hammad welcomed the announcement stating the national hub must address the needs of the whole country not “just those living within the M25”.
“Flybe welcomes the commitment of Heathrow to enhance regional connectivity both within current runway capacity constraints and in the event of new runway development.
“Key to this is an airport pricing regime that encourages regional connectivity alongside guaranteed slot availability for regional connecting services. We are delighted that Heathrow has listened to the issues faced by the UK regions and is taking practical steps to be more inclusive.”
Regional airport access must be priority in runway decision
Regional airport access for the entire UK must be a key consideration for the Airports Commission when the decision on future runway capacity in the south east is decided this summer, a task force has said.
The National Connectivity Task Force announced its findings in a report entitled “Air Connectivity Matters – Linking the Nations and Regions of Britain to London and the World”.
London Heathrow suggested setting up the task force in its submission to the Airports Commission in May last year.
However, chair Lord John Shipley insisted the task force was completely independent as no member was paid and it reported directly to the commission.
Addressing an audience of policy-makers, aviation and travel industry representatives and regional and business leaders in London yesterday, Shipley said the runway decision represents a “major rethink” of policy which has “prioritised international air access” over domestic services to Gatwick and Heathrow.
“The effect of the repeated failure of government to make strategically important decisions about runway capacity in the south east over the last quarter of a century and then see them through, is a heavily congested and impaired market which forces UK regions to rely on overseas hubs for their global connectivity.
“The existing UK policy can no longer be defended when there is the prospect of over 250,000 additional take-off and landing slots being released when a new runway opens. Moreover, a failure to act now and adopt some relatively straightforward and low cost interim solutions, would be completely at odds with broader government policy priorities on economic growth and rebalancing,” he added.
However, Gatwick airport, which is campaigning for a second runway and is in opposition to LHR’s desire for a third runway, today claimed the report was biased.
A statement from LGW described it as “an exercise in manufacturing an outcome to support Heathrow’s third runway ambitions”.
The Task Force was established last autumn to focus on the case for enhanced regional air connectivity.
Heathrow in hub pledge to Liverpool John Lennon Airport
By Neil Hodgson (Liverpool Echo)
Charges review and support package could see new link for city by 2016
Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) could be linked to Heathrow, the UK’s main hub airport, from next year.
A hub link, allowing business and leisure passengers to access global flights through a Heathrow link, could provide a huge boost to the Merseyside economy.
The London airport has announced a new package of commitments linked to its plans for expansion.
These include a review of its charges for domestic routes, to be implemented in January 2016.
And it said if it gets the green light to expand capacity it would launch a £10m route development fund to provide start-up support for five new routes between airports like LJLA and Heathrow, where needed, to encourage airlines to set up links.
Because Heathrow has been full for the past 10 years many airlines have been forced to use available capacity for their long-haul flights, at the expense of domestic routes.
As a result, the number of regional connections from Heathrow has fallen from 18 in 1990 to just seven today.
Liverpool’s connection to Heathrow was cancelled more than two decades ago.
As part of its commitment to encourage more domestic links, Heathrow has also pledged to partner with UK airports, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), chambers of commerce, and national and regional governments to jointly approach airlines to establish new domestic routes through Heathrow.
Business and political leaders across Liverpool are backing Heathrow’s plans for expansion.
They include Andrew Cornish, LJLA chief executive, Merseytravel chief executive David Brown, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson MP and chair of the Transport Select Committee Louise Ellman, and fellow Labour MP George Howarth.
Independent research by Quod, commissioned by Heathrow, and based on economic analysis by the Airports Commission, shows how an expanded Heathrow will benefit the North West, with the region expected to receive up to £12.5bn in economic growth and 15,300 new jobs.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “We’re ready to connect Liverpool to global growth.
“We have been listening to businesses, politicians and now to the National Connectivity Task Force, and today’s announcement shows that we have a plan to deliver what Britain needs.“
LJLA chief executive Andrew Cornish said: “For too long Liverpool has been cut off from the nation’s hub airport.
“Expansion at Heathrow, alongside the commitments that have been made today, will boost our chances of securing a vital link through Heathrow to emerging and established growth markets around the world.
“Airports are key economic drivers for the UK’s regions and it’s time we were given permission to unleash our full potential.
“An expanded Heathrow will mean more jobs and stronger growth for Liverpool and its surrounds and ensure our community is connected to opportunities around the world.”
And Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce chief executive Jenny Stewart, who sat on the National Connectivity Task Force, added: “Expansion at Heathrow would give investors around the world the chance to access Liverpool and strengthen our businesses ability to compete for global growth.
“This plan could deliver more jobs for our region, boost our economy and ensure Liverpool continues to grow as an attractive place to live and work.”
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The MP for Bracknell, Dr Phillip Lee called staff from NATS and the airport to a meeting at the House of Commons on Wednesday 18th March, to answer questions about flight path changes affecting his constituency. He asked Jane Johnston, head of corporate affairs at NATS, and Heathrow senior staff to explain the situation of increased aircraft noise, and Heathrow’s claim that they did not know there had been a change. Since the start of the “procedural change” to flights on the Compton route, there has been a huge degree of protest by affected residents, with thousands of complaints made. Heathrow repeatedly told people who complained about noise that “trials” ended on 12th November. Only now, four months later, has it emerged that these procedural changes continued, and NATS has no intention of reverting to the previous system, before June 2014. Dr Lee was told that NATS “didn’t make the connection” between the changes, and the increased complaints. The staff told Dr Lee they were simply following procedure. Dr Lee said: “This is a wholly outrageous and unacceptable situation. Given all the publicity that surrounded the additional noise caused by the flight path trials, I find it completely unbelievable that these changes in the procedures were simply overlooked by NATS as a possible cause for increased activity over residents’ homes.”
Bracknell MP’s rage at unannounced Heathrow flight path changes
21 March 2015 (Get Reading)
By Hugh Fort
Dr Phillip Lee called staff from NATS and the airport to a meeting at the House of Commons.
Bracknell’s MP has grilled airport bosses over why people were not consulted over changes which led to hundreds of complaints about aircraft noise. He summoned Jane Johnston, head of corporate affairs at Heathrow service provider NATS and bosses from Heathrow to an urgent meeting at the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Dr Phillip Lee is furious about the changes, which led to unannounced trials of new flightpaths over Bracknell Forest last year.
The changes led to complaints from people across Bracknell over the increased noise, even after the trials finished in November.
At the meeting, Dr Lee demanded to know who was responsible for what he calls an “incredible oversight”.
He was told NATS ‘didn’t make the connection’ between the changes, and the increased complaints.
The staff told Dr Lee they were simply following procedure.
Dr Lee: “I sincerely hope this was not a deliberate attempt to mislead the people affected”.
Afterwards, Dr Lee said: “This is a wholly outrageous and unacceptable situation. Given all the publicity that surrounded the additional noise caused by the flight path trials, I find it completely unbelievable that these changes in the procedures were simply overlooked by NATS as a possible cause for increased activity over residents’ homes.
“I sincerely hope that this was not a deliberate attempt to mislead the people affected.
“It is also unacceptable that procedures can be changed without any reference to those people who will be adversely affected.
“I will be raising this immediately with the Department for Transport and, if I am re-elected in May, I will fight to ensure that all proposed airspace and procedural changes are communicated appropriately to all concerned before they come in to effect.
“In the meantime, NATS should acknowledge the distress they are causing by carrying out an immediate review of their internal processes to identify how and why this astonishing oversight happened.”
“Absolutely clear communication needs to improve at all levels”
He added: “It is absolutely clear that communication needs to improve at all levels and between all organisations and stakeholders.
“However, it should be noted that Heathrow Airport Limited appear to have been misled just as much as everyone else by NATS’ failings.”
What we know:
– Hundreds of residents were affected by aircraft noise last year during trials of new flightpaths for Heathrow Airport
– Furious Dr Lee called staff to explain themselves at a meeting at the House of Commons
– If re-elected he will fight for people affected to be consulted over any future changes.
– NATS has apologised.
– Aircraft safety is NATS’ main priority
In response to Dr Lee’s criticism, a spokeswoman from NATS said: “NATS has apologised to Heathrow Airport Ltd for not highlighting an operational change to air traffic control which has affected some of the same communities that were affected by the airport’s airspace trials which ended last November.
“Following further complaints from residents, Heathrow asked NATS if there had been any other airspace changes and we confirmed there had been none, as a result of which Heathrow made public assurances to residents.
“Following further investigations, the earlier procedural change was then identified which has led to a change in flight patterns over some communities to the south and southwest of Heathrow.
“In June 2014, NATS changed the way air traffic controllers direct aircraft within an area of existing airspace.
“This change only applies when the airport is on easterly operations, and affects only the Compton route which accounts for around 16 per cent of departures, or six per cent of total departures.
“It involves directing aircraft through a ‘gate’ approximately seven miles wide in the Compton area at approximately 8000ft; this ‘gate’, previously 13 miles wide, allows NATS to improve air traffic management in the area, enhancing safety and efficiency.
“This new procedure involves NATS (NERL) in terminal control in Swanwick climbing aircraft more quickly out of Heathrow on the Compton route and more clearly separating them from Heathrow inbound streams that in the past they would have had to transit underneath at low level.
“There is a net safety benefit of doing this through greater systemisation of the airspace and a clearer separation of inbound and outbound flows of traffic.
“There is also a net benefit to the public as a whole, as these departures now climb more efficiently, reducing overall ground noise.
“The area involved is designated as a Radar Manoeuvring Area. NATS is therefore authorised to “vector” (direct) aircraft tactically in line with our obligations under our CAA licence to achieve safe, efficient and expeditious air traffic control. NATS is not required to consult on operational changes of this type as we are not moving, creating or changing routes or redesigning airways.
“Our first priority is safety, and we also seek to use existing controlled airspace in the most efficient way to provide expeditious service to users.
“The change is in line with the Government’s Aviation Policy Framework, which states ‘limit and, where possible, reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise’.
“We have therefore explained to Heathrow that we are not intending to revert to previous procedures.
“There is no suggestion that NATS did not follow the current agreed process.
“However, we have already taken steps to ensure more robust processes are in place to share relevant information with Heathrow so that they are aware of any changes that may be noticed by local residents.”
Windsor MP, Adam Afriye, says on NATS/flightpath fiasco, Heathrow has either been wilfully misleading or incompetent
Following sustained pressure from Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, Heathrow finally admitted changes to flight paths that have inflicted more flights and greater noise on residents in Ascot, Binfield, Bracknell Forest, Cheapside, Sunninghill, Warfield and other nearby areas. John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, wrote in a letter to Mr Afriyie: “I recognise that as an airport community we have let you down in this instance. We need to do better to be a good neighbour and I would like to unequivocally apologise to you and your constituents.” Commenting on the letter, Mr Afriyie said: “I am deeply concerned on behalf of the residents who have suffered from extra aircraft noise without so much as a warning…What beggars belief is Heathrow’s insulting accusation that residents were imagining the extra noise! … Heathrow must take the blame for misleading residents and being dismissive of their concerns. And I now call on Heathrow and NATS to release all flightpath data on arrivals, which Heathrow is yet to disclose to me….Heathrow has either been wilfully misleading or rather incompetent. Heathrow and NATS have serious questions to answer and must be held to account in Parliament.
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Heathrow says it did not know flight path changes were continuing – blames NATS for not telling them
Heathrow and NATS had flight path trials during summer 2014, which ended on 12th November, due to intense opposition. See details. But complaints have continued and people have been adamant that the trials have not ended. Heathrow has given assurance after assurance that the trials have ceased, implying people are imagining the noise – or have become over-sensitive to it. Now Heathrow and NATS have had to apologise. Heathrow says it did not know the trial affecting the “Compton” route to the south west and west of Heathrow had not ended, as NATS had not informed them. As NATS and Heathrow work closely together, that is very hard to believe. Even if it could be credible, it reveals a markedly dismissive attitude to the thousands of upset residents, who have complained week after week. The airport had made no apparent effort to establish the facts, for many months. The areas particularly affected by this change are Virginia Water, Ascot, Binfield and some parts of Bracknell, which are experiencing a concentrated flight path. John Holland-Kaye said: “Because of the assurances we received [from NATS], we in turn told residents in good faith that no changes had occurred. That is unacceptable and I unequivocally apologise to local residents.” However, NATS say they changed the route to improve the safe and efficient management of traffic departing from Heathrow and they are not planning to revert to previous procedures.
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