Many people are very concerned about the safety implications of adding another runway, especially at Heathrow, where hundreds of thousands of people are over flown. It has now been shown that though the Airports Commission (AC) did have a study done by the Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL), in May 2015, it downplayed its findings. The Standard says that confidential documents and emails it obtained showed the AC, which backed a third runway, got the title of an independent study on aircraft crashes changed to remove the word “crash”. Unsurprisingly and obviously, adding another 50% more planes at Heathrow, or 100% more at Gatwick would increase the risk of a crash. The Standard says the AC rejected “risk maps” showing the increased likelihood of an aircraft crash around London airports if expansion went ahead. Instead the AC’s Final Report said “ the changes to the background crash rate are minimal, regardless of whether or not expansion takes place at the airports.” It failed to mention the HSL conclusions that the likelihood of a crash on take-off or landing increased by up to 60% with a 3-runway Heathrow and doubled under one scenario with a 2-runway Gatwick. Daniel Moylan said the cover-up was “truly shocking.” People living under approach routes (higher risk than take-offs) should know their risks. The future flight paths are not yet know, so those living under them are unaware of the risk. The dangers of drones, laser beams and terrorism are not included – nor the risk to those on the ground.
This is the link to the report done for the Airports Commission by the Health & Safety Laboratory, in May 2015. Published by the Commission on 1.7.2015
Image below shows some emails indicating the Airports Commission did not want the word “crash” in the report’s title, or maps indicating crash risk.
Britain’s Airports Commission was today accused of a “cover-up” over plane crash dangers to Londoners from a third runway at Heathrow.
The panel came under fire after it emerged that it rejected “risk maps” showing the increased likelihood of an aircraft crash around London airports if expansion went ahead.
Confidential documents and emails obtained by the Standard also showed the commission, which backed a third runway, got the title of an independent study on aircraft crashes changed to remove the word “crash”.
In its final report, the panel included findings from the Health and Safety Laboratory study stating that the background rate for crashes would be virtually unchanged with another runway.
But it failed to mention the HSL conclusions that the likelihood of a crash on take-off or landing increased by up to 60 per cent with a three-runway Heathrow and doubled under one scenario with a second Gatwick runway.
Highlighting concerns about “contradictions” in the commission’s conclusions, Wimbledon Tory MP Stephen Hammond said: “[It] looks like a cover-up of the crash risk. Londoners need to have all the facts about the safety of the proposed expansion out in the open.” The Mayor’s aviation adviser, Daniel Moylan, said the emails were “truly shocking”.
The row over possible plane crashes, which are very rare, erupted ahead of Cabinet ministers meeting on Thursday to discuss airport expansion.
One option they are understood to be considering is delaying a decision until after the mayoral election in May, and ordering more work on air quality.
Tory mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, who has vowed to resign if the Government backs a third runway, signalled he may not quit if the Government asks Heathrow and Gatwick to “prove their plans can be reconciled with legal air quality commitments”.
Some Cabinet ministers are believed to still be pushing for a firm “direction” of support for a bigger Heathrow. The airports panel commissioned a report by the HSL into crash rates if Heathrow or Gatwick expanded.
The HSL experts offered to draw up contour maps, or a “heat” map showing transition from “cool” low risk to “hot” high risk of plane crash likelihoods. But this appeared to have sparked alarm at the commission.
An email from one official, whose named has been redacted, to the HSL on February 17, 2015, states: “Having discussed with colleagues… we are extremely reluctant to use risking mapping as an output.”
The maps would have shown which local communities were more likely to be affected by any aircraft crash. But Londoners were not given this information — and have also not been told by Heathrow which areas could be flown over by planes using a third runway. A confidential draft of the HSL report, dated May 6, 2015, also showed the title as “Assessment of the aircraft crash likelihood around Heathrow and Gatwick airports, with and without runway expansion.” An email from a commission official on May 19 asks for the title to be changed to “Module 14. Operational Efficiency: Crash Risk Analysis”. The next day, an email from the commission to the HSL asks for the word “crash” to be changed to “ground”.
The HSL study was published on the Airports Commission website. The commission stressed its final report had been subject to extensive analysis and consultation. A spokesman said: “The final Airports Commission report and the business case underpinning its recommendation took the points raised in this [HSL] report into account.”
Heathrow crash risk ‘raised by third runway’
By NICHOLAS CECIL (Evening Standard)
A third runway at Heathrow could increase the likelihood of a plane crashing on take-off or landing by up to 60 per cent, the Standard reveals today.
The shock finding is in a review commissioned from the Health and Safety Laboratory by the Airports Commission. But the commission did not mention this heightened danger in its final report which backed a bigger Heathrow.
The revelation, which comes ahead of a crunch meeting of Cabinet ministers on whether to expand Gatwick or Heathrow, stunned campaigners against a third runway. City Hall accused the commission of “burying” the higher crash rate for an area within 10km (6.2 miles) from the airport.
Communities within this distance include Hounslow, Feltham and Twickenham to the east and Windsor to the west, and possibly even Windsor Castle and Richmond.
Tory mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has vowed to resign as MP for Richmond Park if David Cameron backs Heathrow expansion.
The risk of a Heathrow crash is still very small. The research found the likelihood of a crash at a three-runway Heathrow would be around one every 16 years, compared to roughly one in every 26 years without expansion.
The commission’s July report said the HSL had concluded “that the changes to the background crash rate are minimal” whether another runway is built or not.
But this rate measured the likelihood of a crash at least 10km from Heathrow or Gatwick. HSL experts analysed crash rates within 10km of an airfield, normally a take-off or landing.
They modelled possible changes between 2013 and 2050 and found for Heathrow the highest crash rate would be with an additional north-west runway. Their report added: “The scenario for Heathrow with the highest crash rates represents an increase of 60 per cent in the crash rate compared to 2013.”
For Gatwick the crash rate is more than doubled with a second runway, but risks are still lower than Heathrow.
Boris Johnson’s aviation adviser Daniel Moylan said: “The risk of a plane crashing into London is mercifully low but it is very strange that the Airports Commission has buried this proof that it will be higher with a third runway than without.”
A commission spokesman said evidence in its report “was subject to extensive analysis and consultation”, and Heathrow said it was “one of the safest airports in the world”.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening, MP for Putney, has warned that expanding Heathrow would increase the risk of a plane crash on London. She was accused of “scaremongering of the worst type” but now appears to have been vindicated.
Some of the comments on these articles:
A crash is one thing, terrorists deliberately crashing a plane into Central London, or even into a packed football or rugby stadium is quite another. Did the Commission seek advice from the security services on the wisdom of otherwise of flying more places over a tightly packed city of 9 million? And if not, why not?
This does not take account of terrorism, or laser beams being pointed at plane cockpits damaging the vision of pilots, or of the increasing number of drones. All those significantly increase the risk of an accident.
This is the link to the report done for the Airports Commission by the Health & Safety Laboratory, in May 2015. Published by the Commission on 1.7.2015
The report’s Executive Summary states:
“The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) were asked by the Airports Commission to assess the likelihood of an aircraft crash in the vicinity of Heathrow and Gatwick airports. The Airports Commission were interested in the change in the likelihood of an aircraft crash in the year 2050 for expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick compared to there being no expansion at either airport. Two proposed expansion plans at Heathrow and one proposed plan at Gatwick are under consideration for possible future expansion. Three different growth scenarios for the future of each airport have also been considered as part of this analysis.
An aircraft crash is defined as an uncontrolled landing or mid-air break-up leading to serious damage to the aircraft and/or at least one fatality. Due to the way the accidents are recorded, the fatality relates to people on board the aircraft, not to those on the ground. The likelihood of an aircraft crash, therefore, does not indicate the risk of death to a person on the ground should a crash occur. This is likely to be several orders of magnitude lower than the aircraft crash rates. This is due to a number of factors including the size of the crash location, the population within the location, the possible shielding effects from buildings, and other mitigating factors that will reduce the likelihood of a fatality occurring to a person on the ground from any aircraft crash calculated in this analysis.
A methodology to calculate the aircraft crash likelihood was developed following a review of the literature and an analysis of the available data. This involved calculating a background crash rate for five different categories of aircraft (light aircraft, helicopters, small transport aircraft, large transport aircraft and military aircraft) and calculating an airfield specific crash rate for these aircraft types at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
The calculations were carried out to assess the crash likelihood for the two airports in the year 2013 and for a number of different scenarios in the year 2050. A trend analysis was performed on the data to determine if the number of crashes had increased or decreased over time. A 95% confidence interval was calculated in all cases.
The results indicate that the changes to the background crash rate are minimal, regardless of whether or not expansion takes place at the airports. It was also found that there had been a downward trend in the number of crashes from the data for the light aircraft, helicopters and military aircraft categories. No trend could be seen in the small transport aircraft category. The data for the large transport aircraft category was too sparse to perform a trend analysis.
The maximum airfield related crash rate in 2050 for Heathrow after airport expansion is lower than the rate that was presented to the Terminal 5 Inquiry. In 2000, the crash rate was predicted to be 1 every 14 years both with and without Terminal 5. This is equivalent to a rate of 7 × 10-2 per year and is over 10% higher than the highest forecast of 6 × 10-2 per year in this report. The maximum crash rates for Gatwick airport are lower than for Heathrow.
The airfield related crash rates have been split by take-offs and landings and by direction from the airport i.e. west or east. A narrative description has been given of the areas surrounding the airports to discuss where the crash rate is highest in the vicinity of the airports. The background crash rate applies to areas that are greater than 10 km (~5 nautical miles) from the airports. A proportion of the take-off and landing crash rates, or the west and east crash rates, apply within a radius of 10 km from the airports.”
Its Conclusion states: (Page 19)
The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) were asked by the Airports Commission to assess the likelihood of an aircraft crash in the vicinity of Heathrow and Gatwick airports. The Airports Commission were interested in the relative likelihoods of an aircraft crash in the year 2050 from potential expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick compared to there being no expansion at either airport. The aircraft crash likelihoods for three different growth scenarios for each airport for the year 2050 were compared with no expansion taking place at either airport.
HSL reviewed literature, detailed in Appendix A, to identify a methodology and potential data to use in the assessment. The chosen methodology is described in detail in Appendix B. Additional data for the calculations was provided by the Airports Commission and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
A background crash rate was calculated for the year 2013 (the latest year for which full data is available) and for the year 2050. The background rate applies to areas beyond a 10 km (~5 nautical miles) radius from the airports. The results indicate that there is only a small change in the background rate when the number of movements is increased at either airport. On average, a crash could be expected once every 20,000 years, approximately over any given square kilometre in England.
An airfield related crash rate, specific to either Heathrow or Gatwick airport, has been derived for the years 2013 and 2050. The results show that the maximum airfield related crash rate for Heathrow airport is lower than the rate predicted as part of the Terminal 5 Inquiry (Vandermeer, 2000). The airfield related crash rates for Gatwick airport are lower than for Heathrow.
The airfield related crash rates have been apportioned according to take-offs and landings, and according to the location relative to the airport i.e. west or east. The crash rates for landings are higher than for take-offs and the rates to the east of the airports are higher than to the west. This is true for both Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
A narrative description of where the crash rate is highest in the areas around the airports has been given, considering the impacts of flight paths and holding stacks, as it has not been possible to model these explicitly.
Confidence intervals have been given for the results calculated for all the scenarios modelled for both 2013 and 2050. These confidence intervals provide an indication of the uncertainty surrounding the calculations. The large variation in the values between the upper and lower bounds of the intervals are a reflection of the lack of data used in the derivation of the crash rates. Crashes, for large transport aircraft in particular, are rare, making the calculation of a representative crash rate difficult. The statistical methods used, however, together with the 95% confidence intervals, allow some confidence to be placed on the results produced.
The risk to people on the ground from an aircraft crash has not been considered as this study was to calculate the likelihood of an aircraft crash only, where an aircraft crash is defined as an uncontrolled landing or mid-air break-up leading to serious damage to the aircraft and/or at least one fatality. The fatality relates to people on board the aircraft, not to people on the ground, due to how the data is recorded. The aircraft crash likelihoods calculated in this study do not consider how an aircraft crash could lead to fatalities on the ground. This would require additional data and a number of further assumptions and modelling to determine impact areas, harm criteria and human vulnerability, and other factors to calculate the risk of a fatality to a person on the ground from an aircraft crash. Taking all of the additional elements into 20 consideration means that the risk of a fatality on the ground is likely to be orders of magnitude lower than the aircraft crash rates calculated and described in this report.”
What the Airports Commission actually said:
This is what the Airports Commission actually said, in its final report, on the issue of safety:
The objectives under the Operational Efficiency module are:
• to ensure individual airport and airports system efficiency;
• to build flexibility into scheme designs;
• to meet present industry safety and security standards; and
• to maintain and where possible enhance current safety performance with a view to future changes and potential improvements in standards.
The CAA’s Preliminary Safety Review of all three schemes found a number of issues
for more detailed investigation and resolution. More work would be needed on all
three schemes to resolve issues around missed approach procedures and obstacle
limitation surfaces, which define the generally permitted height for structures in the
vicinity of the runway, but this is not unusual for schemes at the assessed level of
development and none of these issues should be considered ‘show stoppers’.
12.24 The CAA did note the lack of precedent for the Heathrow Extended Northern
Runway concept and indicated that it would need more detailed development.
It was emphasised, however, that the CAA remained open-minded on the concept
and open to further engagement.
12.25 Following a review of consultation responses, the Commission asked the Health
and Safety Laboratory to review the scale of increase in crash risk associated with
each of the schemes. The review concluded “that the changes to the background
crash rate are minimal, regardless of whether or not expansion takes place at the
The Commission would expect detailed airspace designs to be agreed and safety-assured, following a final round of consultation, approximately 12 months before the opening date of the new runway
Airports Commission final report 1.7.2015
Read more »
At Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), where a new airport for Nantes is planned, there are due to be forced evictions of those who remain on the land, after a tribunal hearing on 10th December. At the moment 11 families and four farms located in the area of the airport wants to build. The protest group at NDDL have now written to the President of the Republic François Hollande, to ask him to prevent these expulsions. The expulsion order is by AGO (Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of Vinci) on behalf of the state. ACIPA says that therefore, the responsibility lies with the President. There was a month long hunger strike in May 2012, and to end that, an assurance was given that there would not be evictions. That was updated in 2014. ACIPA say the families believed the assurances by government, and they have therefore not made arrangements to leave. The families and the farmers face all their property and livestock being put into receivership if they will not leave. The government made successive promises that all legal remedies would be pursued to exhaustion, and appeals are still pending. ACIPA asks how the President will keep the trust of potential voters, if he does not keep his word. ACIPA want a meeting with the President, the waiving of expulsion orders, and a proper investigation into options to improve the existing Nantes airport. There will be a peaceful protest outside the tribunal on 10th December.
Less than perfect translation into English below.
Open Letter from ACIPA to the President of the French Republic, François Hollande.
December 7, 2015
At the moment 11 families and four farms located in the area of the airport said draft “Notre Dame des Landes” are assigned in summary expulsion on December 10, 2015 at 11:30, before the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nantes. The applicant is AGO (Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of Vinci) on behalf of the state. Thus, the responsibility for this act lies with you.
All these issues are concerned with the political agreement to end the hunger strike, passed to you on May 8, 2012, and updated by JM. Ayrault and M.Valls in 2014.
The consequences for the families – the very ones who believed in your word – are disastrous. AGO-VINCI calls for the immediate expulsion of all historical occupants and a disproportionate penalty and putting into receivership equipment and livestock if the parties do not leave the scene.
Because of your promise, they have not made an emergency plan and find themselves in full distress.
To give a new signal in order to advance the airport project is shocking when, as you said, France wants to be exemplary in the fight against global change, in the full COP21.
In addition, while many regions of France could take the worst political paths, it seems absurd and suicidal that this request for a hearing of judgement reached between the regional elections and the Pays de Loire. How, Mr President, after such a decision, would you be able to keep the trust of your potential voters?
Remember your successive promises to respect the truce linked to the existence of committed legal remedies, to “exhaustion” (First Instance, Court of Appeals and Council of State) before beginning work or expulsion. Appeals are still pending.
This new procedure hits at your promises as head of state. Can we count on your word, Mr. President? The ACIPA expected of you that you ask the AGO company, with which you are bound by the airport concession contract, to waive his deportation requests against the historical inhabitants of the site.
Then will you respond positively to the request of the opponents for a meeting with you (about a request made by quarantine them were in vain) for a real dialogue to finally be established and that alternatives to the project can be honestly considered.
Finally, the establishment of an independent expert on the optimization of the existing airport “Nantes Atlantique” would honor your services and our Republic.
Mr. President, it is in your power to avoid conflict and, hence, the dramas they might cause like at Sivens. We are certain that you are aware, and so we ask you to stop this process.
We are now waiting for your quick and favourable response to our requests.
Please accept, Mr. President, the expression of our deepest respect.
For the ACIPA: the co-chairs. Dominique Chabod Fresneau Anne-Marie Christian Grisollet
The original French
Lettre ouverte de l’ACIPA
à Monsieur le Président de la République Française,
Notre-Dame-des-Landes, le 7 décembre 2015
Monsieur le Président,
En ce moment 11 familles et 4 exploitations agricoles situées sur le secteur du projet d’aéroport dit de « Notre Dame des Landes » sont assignées en référé-expulsion le 10 décembre 2015 à 11h30, devant le Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nantes. Le demandeur est AGO (Aéroports du Grand Ouest, filiale de Vinci) pour le compte de l’État. Ainsi, la responsabilité de cet acte vous incombe.Tous ces dossiers sont concernés par l’accord politique de sortie de la grève de la fin, passé avec vous le 8 mai 2012, puis réactualisé par J-M. Ayrault et M.Valls en 2014.
Les conséquences pour les familles concernées – celles-là même qui croyaient en votre parole – sont désastreuses. AGO-VINCI réclame l’expulsion immédiate de tous les occupants historiques, ainsi qu’une astreinte disproportionnéeet la mise sous séquestre du matériel et du cheptel si les intéressés ne quittent pas les lieux. Du fait de votre promesse, elles n’ont pas prévu de plan de secours et se retrouvent en pleine détresse.
Nous vous rappelons vos promesses successivesde respecter la trêve liée à l’existence des recours juridiques engagés, jusqu’à « leur épuisement » (Première Instance, Cour d’Appel et Conseil d’État) avant tout début de travaux ou expulsion. Des recours sont toujours en attente de jugement.
Cette nouvelle procédure qui s’engage se heurte à vos promesses de chef d’État. Pouvons-nous compter sur votre parole, Monsieur le Président ?
L’ACIPA attend de vous que vous demandiez à la société AGO, avec qui vous êtes lié par le contrat de concession aéroportuaire, de se désister de ses demandes d’expulsion des habitants historiques du site.
Puis que vous répondiez favorablement à la demande des opposants de vous rencontrer (environ une quarantaine de demande formulées par ces derniers sont restées vaines) pour qu’un dialogue réel s’instaure enfin et que les alternatives à ce projet puissent être honnêtement considérées.
Enfin, la mise en place d’une expertise indépendante sur l’optimisation de l’aéroport actuel « Nantes-Atlantique » honorerait vos services et notre République.
Monsieur le Président, il est de votre pouvoir d’éviter les conflits et, par là même, les drames qu’ils pourraient engendrer comme à Sivens. Nous sommes certains que vous en avez conscience, aussi nous vous demandons de stopper cette procédure.
Nous sommes dorénavant dans l’attente de votre réponse rapide et favorable à nos demandes.
Veuillez agréer Monsieur Le Président, l’expression de notre profond respect.
Pour l’ACIPA : les co-présidents.
Dominique Fresneau Anne-Marie Chabod Christian Grisollet
Ajout du 7/12/2015 :
Comme vous le savez (voir ci-dessous), le jeudi 10 décembre prochain se tiendra une audience en référé expulsion à 11h30 au Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nantes.
Cette assignation concerne 4 exploitations agricoles et 11 familles : paysans, habitants locataires ou propriétaires historiques.
AGO/Vinci, qui agit pour le compte de l’État via le ministère de l’Écologie, réclame :
- l’expulsion immédiate, sinon astreinte de 200€ par jour et par dossier (4 pour certains) avec le concours de la force publique.
- saisie et séquestration des biens et cheptels ;
- pas d’application de la trêve hivernale…
L’ACIPA, révoltée par l’annonce de cette audience, appelle à
un rassemblement de soutien pacifique (à visage découvert et à mains nues)
devant le Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nantes, quai François Mitterrand
à 11 heures le jeudi 10 décembre prochain
En raison du contexte d’état d’urgence, l’ACIPA compte sur le sens des responsabilités de chacune et chacun afin que ce rassemblement se déroule dans le calme par respect envers les personnes assignées à l’audience.
Covoiturage à 10h sur le parking de la poste à Notre-Dame-des-Landes.
Lire aussi le témoignage de Sylvie Thébault sur le blog Paroles de campagne
Et la lettre ouverte de l’ACIPA au Président de la République François Hollande envoyée ce jour (début ci-dessous):
Message du 4/12/2015
Nous avons été avertis que le 10 décembre prochain se tiendra une audience en référé expulsion à 11h30 au Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nantes.
Cette assignation concerne 4 exploitations agricoles historiques et 11 familles de paysans, habitants locataires ou propriétaires historiques.
La demande d’AGO/Vinci, qui agit pour le compte de l’État via le ministère de l’Écologie, se décline en ces termes :
- expulsion immédiate, sinon astreinte de 200€ par jour et par dossier (4 pour certains),
- saisie et séquestration des biens et cheptels ;
- pas d’application de la trêve hivernale…
Tous ces dossiers sont concernés par l’accord politique du 8 mai 2012 passé avec F. Hollande, puis réactualisé par J-M. Ayrault ainsi que M.Valls en 2014.
Paradoxalement, AGO/Vinci signe en ce moment avec les paysans de la zone, des conventions d’occupation précaire pour l’année culturale 2015/2016. Cherchez l’erreur !
Cela est une véritable provocation entre les 2 tours des élections régionales et en pleine COP21 alors que F.Hollande se veut exemplaire en matière de lutte contre le réchauffement climatique !
Poor translation (Google translate … not improved …..) of
Notre-Dame-des-Landes: resumption of deportation proceedings
By AFP, lefigaro.fr
The Grand Ouest airports concession assigned to the district court of Nantes residents of the area to defend to expel shortly.
Peasants, landlords, tenants. A total of four farmers and eleven families are affected by the deportation proceedings launched by Grand Ouest Airport, the dealership of the future airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes. By entering the court an hour to hour meeting, an extremely urgent procedure, to December 10, the dealer asks “immediate expulsion” of “historic occupiers” of Zad, denouncing Julien Durand, spokesman the ACIPA (the main opponents of association to the new airport). These people, who have already been the subject of an expropriation procedure, however, are “protected by the political agreements and the words of President François Hollande,” highlights the spokesman. Non-expulsion was one of the commitments made after a hunger strike by opponents in 2012, to get the strike to end. [The key hunger striker, Michel, has since died]..
“This recovery of deportation procedures is revolting, between the two rounds of regional elections and full COP21, so we expect an exemplary gesture of France to abandon the project,” he regrets. It comes as expropriation procedures are “not all completed,” says Julien Durand. Two farmers have appealed their expropriation at Rennes Appeal Court, whose decision will be made on January 13.
In addition, the Nantes-instance court shall review in late January interlocutory application of future airport concessionaire to expel the occupants of a house located on the Zad. On October 10, a dozen anti-airport activists, members of a collective farm that had invested in a place called “The Green Noah” in Grandchamp-des-Fontaines in Loire-Atlantique, east of Zad. AGO, the owner of the house unoccupied for two years, had assigned an interim (emergency procedure) occupants for their rapid expulsion.
Initially, the judge had to decide on the expulsion on Thursday but decided to “reopen the debate” following production “of new parts in the course of deliberations” by Vinci explains Stéphane Vallée, counsel for occupants. “A new hearing will be held on January 28,” he says.
Loire-Atlantique prefecture announced October 30 a recovery “from 2016 ‘work prior to the construction of the airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, who should have originally been inaugurated in 2017, twenty kilometers north of Nantes.
More information about the history of the runway battles at Notre-Dame-des-Landes
Read more »
It seems the government will postpone a decision on a runway, because of the serious environmental problems that a Heathrow runway presents. A Gatwick runway would pose very similar environmental issues, of carbon emissions, noise and air pollution – as well as surface access, cost, and local impacts of all sorts. It is likely the government will delay a decision till after the London Mayoral elections in May 2016. This means thousands of people are left in limbo, with the uncertainty dragging on. It also means local authorities are left with uncertainty, on issues such as housing targets in local plans and investment in infrastructure. Councils are having to produce their local plans, anticipating needs for housing and employment for many years ahead. A Gatwick runway is expected to require an additional 45,000 houses and a road network able to take an extra 100,000 vehicles per year. The Director of CPRE Sussex said: “A final decision to rule out airport expansion in the South East should be made and it should be communicated soon.” Then there could be some planning certainty. CPRE Sussex says airport expansion in the south-east risks major long-term environmental and health damage. A Gatwick runway would radically change the face of West Sussex.
Gatwick decision delay creates ‘minefield of uncertainty’
7th December 2015
The Director of CPRE Sussex said: “A final decision to rule out airport expansion in the South East should be made and it should be communicated soon.”
The announcement that a decision on Gatwick Airport expansion has been delayed was met with frustration by countryside campaigners.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says that by postponing the decision until late next year, the Government has left rural communities in limbo.
“We are disappointed that they keep delaying such an important announcement,” said CPRE Sussex director Kia Trainor.
“The focus should not be on whether Heathrow can meet air quality targets, but the fact that expanding either Heathrow or Gatwick will cause significant and unacceptable levels of air pollution.
“With the delayed decision we are still left in a minefield of uncertainty and this will affect local decisions which are being made right now, such as housing targets in local plans and investment in infrastructure.
“A final decision to rule out airport expansion in the South East should be made and it should be communicated soon.”
Earlier this year the Chairman of CPRE Sussex, David Johnson, warned against any airport expansion in the south-east due to fears of major long-term environmental and health damage.
Campaigners say a new runway at Gatwick would breach climate change targets and have pledged to continue to fight the lingering threat of expansion with a campaign of common sense.
“We will fight on,” said Sally Pavey, CPRE Trustee and Chair of Communities against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE).
“We have the key facts that we have presented time and time again, and we will go back and present them again.
“We have to try to re-address the north-south divide. Gatwick does not link up to any parts of the UK and we just have to keep reiterating that time and time again.
“We have to explain once again the climate change issue, because building a new runway at Gatwick will breach climate change targets. Gatwick is also not accountable for the light pollution it causes – nearly 13,000 people were harmfully affected by the noise of Gatwick night flights in 2014 that is a rise of 15% since the previous year.
“As part of our campaign we are urging people to complain about noise at night if they suffer light pollution as well.”
CPRE says that a second runway at Gatwick would radically change the face of West Sussex, requiring an estimated 45,000 new houses and a road network capable of taking an extra 1000,000 vehicles.
“Airports are no longer publicly owned services like railway stations, but privatised assets owned by hedge funds and foreign investors to be traded like football clubs to maximise profit for shareholders not travelers,” said David Johnson.
“More airport capacity anywhere will mean more use of fossil fuels and continued global warming; can we not begin to understand where events like the devastating Storm Desmond came from?”
“It is time for politicians to look beyond short-term economic gain and take the long view.”
Read more »
The BBC reports that “senior sources very close to the process” have said that the decision by the government on whether to build a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick is going to be delayed for at least six months. That means after the Mayoral elections in London, in early May – and would make it less difficult and awkward for the government, with Zac Goldsmith (vehemently against a Heathrow runway) standing as Tory candidate. The source said the government needs to have more “confidence building” about the environmental impact of a new runway at Heathrow. That is largely about local air quality, but also noise and carbon emissions. The BBC believes that means yet another review, and it does not rule out a runway at Gatwick. Both Heathrow and Gatwick are going to have to come up with convincing proposals, over coming months, about how they will deal with the environmental problems. They are not going to find it easy. The BBC says government also wants to get more money out of the “chosen” airport, for local compensation schemes. It is expected that the runway decision will be taken by the Economic and Domestic Cabinet sub-committee,which Cameron chairs, on Thursday 10th, the prime minister chairs. The outcome is likely to be announced on the same day (probably in Parliament by Patrick McLouglin?).
‘Six-month delay’ for Heathrow decision
By Kamal Ahmed (BBC) Business editor
It looks like the major decision on whether to build a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick is going to be delayed for at least six months.
Senior sources very close to the process have told the BBC that there needs to be more “confidence building” about the environmental impact of a new runway at Heathrow, if the government backs it.
And that means yet another review. And that expansion at Gatwick will not be ruled out.
One source told me that keeping both options on the table means that the airport operators can have their feet “held to the fire” over dealing with environmental concerns.
That may mean demanding that Heathrow bans staff from driving to work. Or saying that all “airside” vehicles (that is vehicles that operate within the airport’s perimeter) have to be electric. [Both of these are laughable, and would have minimal impact. The problem is far bigger than that. AW comment].
The government also wants to be able to force more money out of Heathrow or Gatwick – if either are given the go-ahead – to pay compensation to local people who are affected.
Keeping both options on the table increases the government’s leverage.
‘Barrage of criticism’
The decision that there will be yet another delay is likely to go down very badly with businesses which have demanded that the government “get on” with expanding Britain’s aviation capacity.
But the politics of this decision appears to have held sway.
David Cameron is still concerned that any decision to back Heathrow will put his “no ifs, no buts” pledge in 2009 that there will be no third runway at Heathrow in sharp relief. And that he will face a barrage of criticism that he is not a man of his word.
Further, if a decision is not taken until next summer, that means it will come after the election for the next mayor of London, which is in May.
Which is convenient, given that the Conservative candidate, Zac Goldsmith, is implacably opposed to Heathrow expansion. As is the Labour candidate, Sadiq Khan.
The decision on the new environmental review is set to be taken by the Economic and Domestic Cabinet sub-committee on Thursday, which the prime minister chairs.
And it’s likely to be announced on the same day.
Of course, we are still three days away from that committee meeting and, as with all things Heathrow (and, frankly, government on issues of aviation policy) things could change. The meeting was initially due to be held last week but was derailed by the crisis in Syria.
It was only a week ago that most were predicting a favourable outcome for Heathrow, including the airport itself.
That now appears to have been over-optimistic. More delays are ahead.
Comment by an AirportWatch member:
It needs to be remembered that the environmental problems of a 2nd runway at Gatwick are nearly as bad as those of a 3rd runway at Heathrow.
With two runways, Gatwick would be as big as Heathrow is today – with all the attendant problems, of air pollution, local congestion, carbon emissions, intense aircraft noise, development for a large area around the airport, and the formation of something akin to an “airport city.” And in the case of Gatwick, huge loss of countryside and change of character of a large area.
The media has focused almost exclusively on the problems at Heathrow. The problems at Gatwick should not be ignored. Added to which are the intense difficulties that Gatwick would have with surface transport, with just one rail line that cannot be expanded, and one motorway. Both the road and rail links are already struggling to cope with current demand.
It is hard to see how a massive piece of infrastructure, with the intensity and breadth of environmental and local impacts of a new (fully used) runway could be inflicted on the residents of any parts of the densely populated south east of England. The level of upset and reduction in quality of life for tens of thousands of people should be recognised as beyond what can be forced on people, in a democracy.
I can’t say I am happy with some of the press reports that Heathrow should run the additional air quality modelling work. Wasn’t that the problem with the “reverse-engineered” solution last time round ? The environmental review needs to be done by a credible independent body working at arms-length from the project proponents.
Air quality concerns ‘to delay Heathrow decision until next year’
By Sebastian Whale (Politics Home)
The Government is putting off a final decision on a third runway at Heathrow until next year due to concerns about air quality standards, The Times reports.
David Cameron has previously insisted a decision on which airport will receive the long-awaited expansion programme will be made before Christmas.
The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, backed a third runway at Heathrow, claiming the project would add £147bn to the economy and create 70,000 jobs by 2050.
But the committee of ministers formed to reach a final decision is expected to meet on Thursday, meaning a full Cabinet discussion would have to wait until next week.
However both Heathrow and Gatwick expect the Prime Minister to shy away from making a final decision.
Senior ministers told The Times Mr Cameron is considering using the uncertainty over air quality testing models and whether Heathrow could meet EU pollution standards to justify the pause.
Another source claimed a delay would be due to Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith’s opposition to Heathrow expansion ahead of next year’s London mayoral elections.
“It’s about Zac and Boris more than his pledge,” the source aid.
A Gatwick source told the paper: “The choice is now very clear. Legal expansion at Gatwick so Britain can grow. Or illegal expansion at Heathrow, with Britain losing out again.”
A Heathrow spokesman said: “The Airports Commission… made a unanimous and unambiguous recommendation in June for Heathrow expansion.
“Britain can be confident that our new plan will connect the whole nation to global growth while providing opportunities for the local community and making Heathrow the most environmentally responsible hub airport in the world.”
The news comes after the Environmental Audit Committee said that if a new runway is approved without assurances on air quality, carbon emissions and noise, it could make the Government’s decision more susceptible to legal action.
Mr Johnson, the Mayor of London and International Development Secretary Justine Greening have said they will fight any expansion of Heathrow.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Ms Greening refused to rule out resigning over the issue.
“I think that’s jumping the gun and let’s wait and see what the sub-committee comes out with, but frankly I will make sure that I continue to represent my constituents’ concern on this,” she said.
Mr Johnson said: “The third runway [at Heathrow] is a sham and a delusion and it will never happen.”
But backbencher Liam Fox has coordinated a letter between 30 Tory MPs representing the surrounding area, urging Mr Cameron to “press ahead” with Heathrow expansion.
They argue the extra runway at the major transport hub is “vital to our country’s economic growth and prosperity”.
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The Telegraph says that David Cameron could face resignations from senior Conservatives, if he give government support for a Heathrow 3rd runway. The opposition by Boris Johnson is well known, but Justine Greening (International Development Secretary, and a previous Transport Minister) is deeply hostile to the plan because of the likely increase in aircraft noise for her constituents in Putney. However, the Telegraph says Ms Greening declined to rule out quitting the Cabinet if Heathrow was given the green light. She said: “I think that’s jumping the gun and let’s wait and see what the sub-committee comes out with, but frankly I will make sure that I continue to represent my constituents’ concern on this.” Zac Goldsmith, the Tories’ London Mayoral candidate, has promised to stand down if Heathrow is given the green light, triggering a by-election in his Richmond Park London constituency. Boris Johnson said: “The third runway is a sham and a delusion and it will never happen.” The Telegraph says 30 MPs, led by Liam Fox, have written to David Cameron saying they want a Heathrow runway. Their view has been influenced by a flimsy little paper (no date, no author, almost no references) produced by consultants, Quod, for Heathrow – implying huge benefits for the regions.
Tories at war over Heathrow expansion
Thirty MPs demand a green light for third runway as David Cameron faces threat of senior Conservatives quitting if it is built
By Tim Ross and Emily Gosden (Sunday Telegraph)
David Cameron is facing the threat of resignations from senior Tories as his party broke into open conflict over plans for a new runway at Heathrow.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, warned they would fight any plan to expand west London’s major airport.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Ms Greening declined to rule out quitting the Cabinet over the issue.
And, on the eve of an expected decision in favour of expanding Heathrow, Mr Johnson predicted a third runway “will never happen”.
It comes as 30 Conservative MPs have written to Mr Cameron – in a letter seen exclusively by the Telegraph – urging him to “press ahead” now with a third runway at Heathrow.
The Prime Minister has promised to make an announcement on whether to accept independent recommendations for expanding airport capacity in the South East within days. But the new row could force Mr Cameron to delay a decision for months or even years.
In the summer, a government commissioned review, led by Sir Howard Davies, recommended expanding Heathrow – but left the option of Gatwick on the table.
Ms Greening fears that expanding Heathrow would see an increase in aircraft noise for her constituents in Putney, south London while Zac Goldsmith, the Tories’ London Mayoral candidate, has promised to stand down if Heathrow is given the green light, triggering a by-election in his Richmond Park London constituency.
Asked whether she would resign from the Cabinet if Heathrow was given the green light, Ms Greening said: “I think that’s jumping the gun and let’s wait and see what the sub-committee comes out with, but frankly I will make sure that I continue to represent my constituents’ concern on this.”
Boris Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, who attends Mr Cameron’s political Cabinet meetings, said: “The third runway is a sham and a delusion and it will never happen.”
However, in a letter coordinated by Liam Fox, the former defence secretary and MP for North Somerset, Tories from constituencies in the south-west said connections to the capital’s major airport were “vital to our country’s economic growth and prosperity”.
Downing Street declined to comment. A senior source said the decision would be taken in Britain’s national interests, regardless of political concerns.
See earlier: – another letter signed by another 30 MPs ….?
Labour divided as 30 northern Labour MPs back Heathrow expansion, believing it would help their regions
Nearly 30 northern Labour MPs have signed a letter backing a 3rd Heathrow. The letter to Lillian Greenwood, shadow transport secretary, was signed by members of the PLP Northern Group. They include senior figures such as Chi Onwurah, Kevan Jones, and Nick Brown. This may be an indication of the Labour party’s divisions over the issue. Key to David Cameron’s calculations will be whether he can win enough backing in Parliament for Heathrow expansion, given that it is opposed by several of his senior colleagues including Zac Goldsmith, Boris Johnson and Justine Greening. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are against a Heathrow runway, but it is not clear if Mr Corbyn would order Labour’s 232 MPs to vote against it. If as many as 26 Labour MPs from one region are in favour of the Heathrow runway it suggests that Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell’s views are not shared by all the rest of the party. The PLP Northern Group hope the regions would benefit from a Heathrow runway, and (like everyone else other than a few with the time and abilities to understand it all) have not read the Airports Commission’s papers in detail – showing negative implications for regional airports from a new runway. A rather flimsy paper by “Quod”, setting out predictions of growth and jobs for the regions, is the basis of hopes by regional MPs.
The flimsy little 4 page paper on which the claims of jobs etc is based is by “Quod” and is at
It has no date, no author, almost no references ….
Their table from the Quod report – which is being used by the regions etc – is copied below.
Heathrow to get clearance for runway…but may have to wait a DECADE to start
BUILDING work on a third runway at Heathrow airport will not start until 2024 at the earliest because of legal wrangles, aviation bosses fear.
By GEOFF HO (Sunday Express)
This week the Cabinet is expected to [it is widely expected, but there is no certainty that the government will not back a Gatwick runway] give approval to the construction of a third, northwestern runway at Heathrow, instead of backing the doubling of capacity at Gatwick.
It is believed that Prime Minister David Cameron will attach strict noise and air pollution conditions to the expansion of Heathrow.
In its final report in July, the Airports Commission said that a third runway at Heathrow would cost £18.6 billion in total and that it could “plausibly be delivered” by 2026.
However, airline chiefs and airport operators believe construction work will be delayed because of an “inevitable” judicial review.
Heathrow’s expansion is bitterly opposed by local residents, environmental groups and MPs such as Zac Goldsmith and Boris Johnson.
So far, the only legal challenge to expansion has been a judicial review claim against the Airports Commission filed by the Stop Stansted Expansion Group, which the High Court rejected in December 2013.
Any delay would dismay business chiefs, who believe [the evidence for that being the case is very weak indeed] the expansion of Heathrow is critical to Britain’s continued economic growth.
According to the Confederation of British Industry, the UK could lose £31 billion in trade by 2030 because of the wait to build a new runway. [Much of that trade is probably imports, the value of which is slightly more than the value of exports through Heathrow. Link ]
Heathrow is currently operating at 98 per cent capacity and says it has had to turn away 30 airlines that wish to start routes or increase the frequency of existing services because of capacity constraints.
The waiting list includes airlines from the Americas and Asia. Rival Gatwick [says it] is running at 85 per cent capacity and at peak hours is often full.
According to Stansted owner Manchester Airports Group (MAG), until the expansion of Heathrow is completed, London’s third largest airport will be the key to relieving congestion and catering for growing demand for new routes.
MAG group finance director Neil Thompson says that Stansted has “brilliant potential” and with additional investment, it could eventually handle 45million passengers a year, up from 20.9million in the year to March 31, 2015.
He said: “The economics and the spare capacity are there. If airlines want to fly new routes, Stansted is the only way to go.”
He added that for the UK to feel the full economic benefits of aviation expansion, the Government needs to improve rail links to airports around the country.
Last week MAG reported halfyear operating profits up by 16.5 per cent to £137million, while revenues over the six months to September 30, 2015, went up 5.7 per cent to £445.5million.
Including MAG’s other two airports, Bournemouth and East Midlands, it handled 29.7million passengers, putting it on target to hit 50million for its 2015/16 financial year.
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The owners of Stansted Airport, MAG, are continuing to say they will be wanting a new runway in the next 10 years or so. The numbers of passengers using Stansted fell every year between a peak in 2007 of 23.7 million passengers, to a low of 17.5 million in 2012, and almost 20 million in 2014. The number of flights was about 192,000 in 2007 and only about 163,000 in 2014. So the current growth is just starting to catch up, and get back to the numbers 8 years ago. However, Stansted is using the current increase in passengers to say it will be needing to increase the planning cap on the number of passengers (currently 35 million per year) as was suggested in the Airports Commission’s interim report. It will start to consult locally about doing this. Stansted hopes to get more passengers, if it could have improved rail connections to London, for as long as Heathrow and Gatwick are full – unless one gets a new runway. Stansted says it could handle another 7 million passengers per year with its current infrastructure. It did not submit a proposal to the Airports Commission for a runway scheme, so it was not considered. But now it wants another runway, in addition to one at Gatwick or Heathrow – ignoring the uncomfortable fact that even the Commission said only one new runway could be added within the UK aviation carbon cap (even one runway would mean UK aviation exceeding its annual 37.5MtCO2 cap).
Stansted airport owner urges government to increase flight limit
Manchester Airports Group says surge in passenger demand means London’s third-biggest hub is likely to reach maximum number of flights in six years
By Gwyn Topham, (Guardian Transport Correspondent)
The owner of Stansted [Manchester Airports Group. MAG] has called on the government to raise the flight cap at the Essex airport, warning that otherwise passenger demand in the south-east will not be met until the completion of a new London runway, potentially a decade away.
Almost 5 million more passengers used Stansted this year than in 2013, when Manchester Airports Group (MAG) bought the hub from Heathrow. [Its numbers of passengers had fallen sharply since 2008 – every year. There were over 23.7 million passengers in 2007, and only almost 20 million in 2014. The number of flights was about 192,000 in 2007 and only about 163,000 in 2014. AW comment]
At that rate of growth, the third-biggest London airport is on course to hit its permitted maximum of 35 million a year in six to seven years, although the airport says it could handle another 7 million with its current infrastructure.
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, said the increase in numbers showed Stansted had “more potential and will grow quicker than the forecasts in the airports commission report. If we extrapolate, in five years we’ll be pretty close to the planning cap.”
He said the airport’s 11% annual growth was far outstripping Gatwick’s [probably because they lost so many flights and passengers over 6 years, and are only now managing to get back some of that loss, to return to the figures of 2007 ….] and showed the government needed to take the commission’s recommendations seriously, including improving rail links to Stansted and lifting the cap, proposed in its interim report. The government is expected to announce this month its response to the recommendation to expand Heathrow, at a cost of £18bn, potentially by 2026.
Cornish said: “When they consider the Heathrow question, we do want the government to respond to the short-term measures – because there’s going to be no new runway capacity in London for the next 15 years whatever happens.”
The MAG boss said the group would engage with local communities next year to get the planning cap lifted. “It’s really for us to demonstrate the benefits in terms of economic development we bring to the region. Engine technology has changed – there’s probably a lot less noise around Stansted now than there was 10 years ago. But it would be good for the government to indicate its support,” he said.
Sir Howard Davies’ commission said Stansted was a “plausible candidate” for the next runway after Heathrow, [the Commission actually said only one new runway could be added within carbon constraints, and its own figures show UK aviation CO2 emissions would any way breach the emissions limit with NO new runways. Let alone two. AW comment] and Cornish said MAG would soon need to start seriously considering expansion plans, with a completed second runway likely to take two decades to achieve.
“We have to give serious consideration to Stansted’s catchment and the potential in the 10-20 years after that. We are growing rapidly. London is growing east, and the environmental impact at Stansted is significantly less than at Heathrow or Gatwick. In three to five years we have to start seriously considering a second runway,” he said.
The group reported a 16.5% year-on-year leap in operating profits for the first six months of 2015-16, driven mainly by Manchester airport and then Stansted. Record passenger numbers at Manchester pushed up profits to £137m. MAG announced a dividend of £39m, representing a windfall of £25m for the councils around Manchester which collectively own two-thirds of the group.
showing the number of passengers using Stansted airport:
2014 19,958,000 (up +12% on 2013)
2013 17,844,355 (up + 2.2% on 2012)
2012 17,464,792 (down – 3.2% on 2011)
2011 18,042,400 (down – 2.8 % on 2010))
2010 18,562 (down – 7% on 2009)
2009 19,951.7 (down -10.7% on 2008)
2008 22,340 (down -6% on 2007)
2007 23,759 (no increase)
2014 162,921 (up + 1.2% on 2013)
2013 132,234 (up + 0.6% on 2012)
2012 131,297 (down – 4.1% on 2011)
2011 136,899 (down – 7% on 2010)
2009 156 (down -11.8% on 2008)
2008 177 (down -7% on 2007)
2007 192 (little change)
Stansted owner pushes case for second runway
By Ben Martin (Telegraph)
Expanding the Essex airport will become a priority if it continues to grow at current rates, the boss of Manchester Airports Group said
The case to expand London Stansted has been strengthened after the business behind the Essex airport posted a surge in revenues and profits, according to the company’s chief executive.
A 5.7% rise in passenger numbers across its airports [Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth] to a record 29.7m helped to send first-half revenues at Manchester Airports Group (MAG) by the same proportion to £445.5m and operating profits 16.5pc higher to £137m. The strongest growth at the company, which also owns Bournemouth and East Midlands airports, was at Stansted, where passengers swelled by 10.6pc to 12.5m in the six months to the end of September.
The debate over how best to avert the impending aviation capacity crisis in the south east has so far centred on the choice between new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick. The Prime Minister is expected to announce within days whether Heathrow is allowed to build a third landing-strip , after the Government-appointed Airports Commission recommended in July that the west London hub should be expanded.
However, Charlie Cornish, the boss of MAG, said that expanding Stansted, including the possibility of a second runway, will also become a more pressing issue if the Essex airport keeps up its current growth rate.
“The Airports Commission did say Stansted could be an option for a second runway around about 2040,” Mr Cornish said. “We think it’s probably 15 to 20 years earlier than that, given our forecasts relative to the Commission’s forecasts.”
A planning cap limits Stansted to 35m passengers a year, which Mr Cornish said would “easily” be reached in the next decade.
If the limit were to be lifted, Stansted could carry up to 45m passengers per annum on a single runway, but further growth would require a second landing strip. The MAG boss conceded that Stansted still needed to make the economic case for another runway first, however.
“Stansted’s got a way to go in terms of demonstrating that it can cater for not just very strong low-cost airlines but equally legacy, full-service carriers,” he said. “Over the next five years we’re expecting to bring a richer mix of airlines.”
The introduction of 31 new routes have driven growth at MAG during the first-half, including flights from Manchester to Boston and Stansted to Los Angeles (Other OTC: ANGC – news) . At Manchester, passengers were up 4.5pc to 13.8m. They were flat at 500,000 at Bournemouth and fell 6.5pc to 2.9m at East Midlands after troubled airline Monarch scrapped its flights from the airport.
Councils to get £25m windfall as Manchester Airport profits soar
By Charlotte Cox (Manchester Evening News)
Manchester Airports Group, which is part-owned by the 10 councils, has announced its financial figures for the six months to September 30 – the highest ever interim pay-out.
Greater Manchester’s 10 town halls will net nearly £25m thanks to Manchester Airport ‘s soaring profits – and the cash will help to ease government cuts and save vital services.
Manchester Airports Group, which is part-owned by the 10 councils, has this morning announced its financial figures for the six months to September 30 – the highest ever interim pay-out.
Revenues rose by nearly six per cent compared to the same six-month period in 2014 – from £421.4m to £445.5m, while underlying pre-tax profits were up 10.7 per cent from 182.9m to 202.5m.
It’s triggered a total £38.6m cash injection to MAG’s shareholders. Of that, Manchester council will get £13.7m while each of the other nine councils will get £1.2m each.
That’s up from £11m for Manchester and £1m each to the other councils in the same six months of 2014 – a 25 per cent increase.
The remainder will go to Industry Funds Management, the Australian investor that bought into the group ahead of its swoop for Stansted Airport.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We are awaiting the details of our financial settlement from government and will doubtless still have some difficult decisions to make but this will give us slightly more room for manoeuvre and will help protect some of our most vital services.
“It is another testament to the huge importance of the airport as an ongoing asset to the city.”
Ken O’Toole , Manchester Airport managing director, said it had been a positive year for Manchester Airport.
He added: “It was great to be able to announce last month that passenger numbers reached an all-time high.”
He said upcoming flights to destinations including Los Angeles, Boston and Beijing would boost that.
On the dividend, he said: “It is also pleasing to see MAG pay its highest ever interim dividend of £38.6m. Due to our ownership structure, this goes right back into the heart of Greater Manchester and ensures that our local community truly benefits from the success of Manchester Airport.”
He added: “We see ourselves as being at the heart of efforts to rebalance the UK economy through the creation of a Northern Powerhouse and, with spare capacity on our runways, we are well-placed to deliver more growth at a time when others in the south east are heavily congested.”
The results follow a jam-packed year. Flights to Miami started in May, the same month services to LA and Boston were announced.
In June, the planned £1bn terminal regeneration plan was revealed while a visit from Chinese president Xi Jinping heralded a new direct link from Manchester to Beijing , to start next summer.
A ‘China Cluster’ at the £800m Airport City was also announced in October, with passengers reaching a record annual total of 23m in November .
It is the second time MAG, which also runs London Stansted, Bournemouth and East Midlands airports, has paid a dividend at the half-way mark of its financial year.
A total £60m was paid out in July for the previous full 12 months period so the airport could be well on its way to a record pay-out at the end of the full year.
The figures follow the firm’s most successful summer ever – and the busiest month in its 77-year history. At Manchester, the rolling annual passenger total has hit 23m.
Passenger numbers were up 5.7 per cent on the same six months in 2014, from 28.1m to 29.7m across the group’s airports.
At Manchester, that figure rose by 4.5 per cent, from 13.2m to 13.8m.
The boom is partly thanks to a host of new routes, including Manchester’s services to Boston and Los Angeles , as well as last year’s new service to Hong Kong.
Cargo is also strong, up 5.7 per cent across the group.
As the figures were announced today, MAG also revealed its American branch is flourishing. Its first ‘Escape Lounge’ is to open at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport next week while it has scooped a second contract to build and operate another lounge at Oakland Airport, California.
In 2015, MAG’s airports will contribute £5.6bn in economic activity to the country.
Such success means MAG can continue to invest, with the planned £1bn regeneration of the terminals a key example.
In July, Manchester council used the windfall to off-set cuts – the cash will be used in the same way this time.
Charlie Cornish , MAG chief executive, said: “This has been our busiest summer ever and as we approach the milestone of handling 50m passengers a year, we are responding to changes in the way people want to travel by giving them the opportunity to upgrade their airport experience and begin their journeys in style.
“I was also delighted to welcome The President of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping, to Manchester Airport in October as part of his state Visit to the United Kingdom. “The President and the Prime Minister unveiled a new direct link from Manchester to Beijing, starting in Summer 2016, which will give the 100,000 passengers travelling each year between the two cities the convenience of direct scheduled services.
“The new route demonstrates the key role that the airport plays as a Global Gateway from the North.”
Sir Richard Leese added: “Thanks to the far-sighted decision taken by the council in the 1980s to acquire a large stake in Manchester Airport, the group’s subsequent expansion and ongoing success, we are able to receive this interim dividend which will be used in full to support council services for the city’s people.”
Earlier – a year ago:
MAG CEO, Charlie Cornish, says Stansted might press for a 2nd runway by the mid-2020s
Stansted aims to submit plans for a new runway some time in the next decade, according to Charlie Cornish, the CEO of parent company Manchester Airports Group. He says the present expansion rates meant that Stansted would apply to the government for the repeal of existing local council limits and then lobby for a 2nd runway to satisfy demand. Stansted hope its projected rate of growth between now and the mid -2020s will see it pass through its local authority-capped capacity of 35 million passengers per year, and hit its physical capacity on one runway of 45 million by 2030. In October 2008, the Government gave approval for Stansted to increase its permitted passenger numbers from 25 to 35 million per year, and a rise in the permitted number of annual flights from 241,000 to 264,000. Mr Cornish wants better rail connections to London and to the other airports. Having fallen for years, ever since the peak at over 23.7 million in 2007, Stansted’s number of passengers is still well down, at 17.8 million in 2013, though the number has risen significantly during 2014.
Click here to view full story…
and many other news stories about Stansted wanting to expand etc.
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The Times reports on the environmental activists who have embedded themselves in the villages around Heathrow, determined to conduct a continuing campaign of civil disobedience against a 3rd runway. They are working with the local communities that face either demolition of 783 homes, or having to move if their homes become impossible to live in – due to the impact of the airport. The campaigners are equally opposed to the high CO2 emissions that a new runway would generate, making the UK’s efforts to meet carbon targets almost impossible to achieve. While there have been protests, like a runway incursion and blocking a Heathrow road tunnel, it is likely there will be more – this could last for years. Around 20 activists have been living in the Grow Heathrow community for 5 years, and others are moving into the area with a number in Sipson. An “adopt a resident” scheme run by the direct action group Plane Stupid has helped local people to work with dedicated activists and will be used again. The threat of evictions is very cruel. Neil Keveren, a local activist and builder, determined to fight a runway: “There are elderly people here who live happy, independent lives because they are supported by the community — if the village is destroyed then they will struggle to survive the upheaval.”
Village activists dig in for war over Heathrow’s third runway
Grow Heathrow has been living on four acres of wasteland since 2010, growing its own food and generating its own power
By Sean O’Neill Chief Reporter (The Times)
December 4th 2015
Environmental activists have embedded themselves in the villages around Heathrow and vowed to wage a long campaign of civil disobedience against the building of a third runway.
The activists are allied with local campaigners in the blighted villages of Harmondsworth, Sipson and Harlington to fight the expansion of the airport which is expected to be approved by the Cabinet next week.
They warn that protests this year — including an incursion on to the north runway, blockades of the road tunnel to the airport and flash mobs in terminals — are the start of things to come. David Cameron’s 2009 “no ifs, no buts” pledge that there would be no third runway has become the loudest chant at protests against the demolition of 783 homes, the menace of aircraft noise and the threat to the environment.
Full article in the Times (£) at
We have four main Aims:
- To further the Heathrow villages as an iconic symbol of community resistance to the economic, ecological and democratic crises.
- To develop and promote community and resource autonomy to support long-term community resilience
- To establish replicable structures of organisation, which could provide a model for future non-hierarchical, consensus-based communities.
- To root the grassroots radical values of the 3rd runway resistance in the Heathrow villages for the long term
Our objective is to build permanent and sustainable communities within threatened areas to offer and show a viable alternative to the bulldozing of green spaces, houses, lives and history.
We aim to promote, green, living, working fellowships – equipped to deal with the impacts of climate change and peak oil – controlled by those directly affected by expansion plans – the Heathrow workers and residents.
This, in turn, empowers the community and helps it fight the profit-driven decisions imposed by Governments and corporations, rather than simply suffering the consequences.
Grass root solutions will lead towards a sustainable and resilient Heathrow for all, while the decision of the authorities will mean maximum profits for a few – at the expense of job losses, community destruction and environmental devastation.
Just a few of the groups against a Heathrow 3rd runway:
Direct-action group blocked Heathrow road tunnel last month and plans “adopt-a-resident” scheme to involve local people in protests.
Stop Heathrow Expansion
Local group which holds its meetings in the Five Bells pub in Harmondsworth, the village most affected by runway plans.
Hacan (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise)
Draws support from across west London and the home counties. Has staged numerous protests and events over the past 8 years or so.
Activists who have squatted on land in Sipson for five years; fighting airport expansion and threats of eviction.
Back Off Heathrow
Seeks “a future without increased planes from Heathrow”.
Teddington Action Group
Based in Teddington, Hampton and Twickenham; says noise and pollution levels already break the law every day.
Richmond Heathrow Campaign – long established group, looking at a range of issues related to Heathrow, on noise, economics,air pollution etc.
Friends of the Earth local groups – in areas around West London
Greenpeace local groups.
Green Party local groups
….. and many more locally in different areas afffected by Heathrow.
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An Advan, with a “No third runway” message plastered on its side, will be touring a range of areas, in London and in the Home Counties, that will be affected if there was to be a new runway. In some areas it is being met by local residents, or councillors or MPs. The van will be inaction for three days, Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th and Saturday 5th December. A coalition of groups has come together to sponsor the van. On Friday a car playing aircraft noise, illustrating how it would be like under a flight path, will follow the van along the route of the 3rd runway arrival flight path across London. All the local groups along the Advan’s route, and many others, know a 3rd runway would mean intense plane noise and being under a flight path for the first time. Some of the groups that are taking part in the Advan promotion include HACAN, SHE, CHATR, CAIAN, RAGE, TAG, EANAG and AirportWatch. They are working together to put out a strong message that they will fight any new runway, tooth and nail. The Government is expected to decide before Christmas whether it is minded to give the green light to a third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick.
Just a few photos of the Advan as it visited many areas, and stopped many times for photos.
The Advan as it went past Parliament.
The Groups include: HACAN, SHE, CHATR, CAIAN, RAGE, TAG, EANAG and AirportWatch
Rupa Huq MP becomes the first MP to join the “No 3rd Runway” advan as it toured London
An Advan, with a “No third runway” message plastered on its side, will be touring a range of areas that will be affected if there was to be a new runway.
In some areas it is being met by local residents, or councillors or MPs. The van will be inaction for three days, Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th and Saturday 5th December.
A coalition of groups has come together to sponsor the van. On Friday a car playing aircraft noise, illustrating how it would be like under a flight path, will follow the van along the route of the 3rd runway arrival flight path from the west. It will also visit areas that may be affected by take off routes (but these are not yet publicised).
All the local groups along the Advan’s route, and many others, know a 3rd runway would mean intense plane noise and being under a flight path for the first time. They are working together to put out a strong message that they will fight any new runway, tooth and nail.
The Government is expected to decide before Christmas whether it is minded to give the green light to a third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick.
Some of the expected stops of the Advan (there may be changes, and additional routes or stops):
Leytonstone, Tesco car park, E11 1HT
Westminster, College Green, SW1P 3JY
Kensington – Town Hall, Hornton Street, opposite entrance to Town Hall, W8 7NX
Putney – Embankment, SW15 1LB
Clapham Common – Holy Trinity Church, SW4 0QZ
Oval – next to pavement area at entrance to The Oval, SE11 5SS
Westminster, College Green, SW1P 3JY
Chiswick, Town Hall – Heathfield Terrace, W4 4JN
Hammersmith Town Hall, King St, W6 9JU
Acton Morrisons, W3 9LA
Heston, St Leonard’s Church, TW5 0RD
Harmondsworth Green, UB7 0AQ
Colnbrook Green, SL3 0LX
Hounslow – Junction of Whitton Road/Cross Lances Road, Hounslow, TW3 2AA
Richmond Green, TW9 1LX
Christs School, East Sheen, TW10 6HW
Teddington, High Street. Junction of High Street/Elmfield Avenue TW11 8BS
Staines, Town Hall, TW18 4RH
Englefield Green – Englehurst, TW20 0EE
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Campaigners from CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions) against a 2nd Gatwick runway have sent Christmas cards to Prime Minister, David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the Labour Party, and other senior government ministers. The cards ask ‘Will it be a Happy Christmas for the residents of Sussex, Surrey and Kent?’ as the government announcement about a runway decision is expected before Christmas. Residents from Surrey, as well as Crawley, Warnham, Rusper, and other parts of West Sussex, all gathered at the Warnham village post box to mark the sending of the Christmas cards. Sally Pavey, chair of CAGNE said: “The message in the cards explain why Gatwick should not be expanded and provides them with a copy of the residents’ film, “What does a second runway at Gatwick mean to you?” so that they can hear, direct from residents, how Gatwick expansion would obliterate what are successful counties at present. Gatwick brings least into the UK economy but will cost local taxpayers billions, and destroy what are currently attractive rural areas of Sussex, Surrey and Kent.” On 27th November there was a meeting in Horsham, with the Gatwick Arrivals Review team.
Anti Gatwick expansion campaigners send Christmas cards to Prime Minister
By James Oxenham (Mid Sussex Times)
30 November 2015
CAGNE campaigners gather at the Warnham village post box
Campaigners against the expansion of Gatwick Airport have sent Christmas cards to Prime Minister.
The cards were sent over the weekend to Prime Minister David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the Labour Party, and other senior government ministers by members of the Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE).
The cards ask ‘Will it be a Happy Christmas for the residents of Sussex, Surrey and Kent?’
The Government is due to make an announcement on airport expansion in the first two weeks of December and residents are concerned MPs will choose Gatwick over Heathrow to host a second runway.
Residents from Surrey, Crawley, Warnham, Rusper, and other parts of West Sussex, all gathered at the Warnham village post box to mark the sending of the Christmas cards.
Five-year-old Ottilie attended with her dad and on her tippy toes helped to post each card.
Sally Pavey, chair of CAGNE said: “The message in the cards explain why Gatwick should not be expanded and provides them with a copy of the residents film, ‘What does a second runway at Gatwick mean to you?’ so that they can hear, direct from residents, how Gatwick expansion would obliterate what are successful counties at present, as Gatwick brings least into the UK economy but will cost local taxpayers billions, and destroy what are currently attractive rural areas of Sussex, Surrey and Kent.”
On Friday, November 27, a meeting was also held by Horsham MP Jeremy Quin. Mr Quin was joined by Bo Redeborn and Graham Lake, of the Gatwick Arrivals Review team, at Warnham Village Hall and were greeted by dozens residents from across West Sussex and Surrey.
The team answered questions and discussed arrivals and departures from the airport.
Mrs Pavey said: “We were delighted that so many people attended and we were able to discuss with them the changes to arrivals and receive so many new CAGNE members.
“We are also delighted that the CAGNE leaflet, suggesting a way forward for arrivals, is very much along the lines of the review teams thinking, a way to give back dispersal with maximum heights for all.”
A slideshow of the meeting can be viewed at https://slideshare.net/secret/4U1f5GiCTdYiVu
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The Environmental Audit Committee said the Government should not to give a runway at Heathrow the go ahead unless it is ready to make a ‘step change’ in its approach to environmental mitigation. Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) commented that the EAC report “highlights the sheer scale of the measures that would be needed to prevent a third runway becoming an environmental disaster … AEF has repeatedly highlighted the need for Government to demonstrate how it will close the policy gap in relation to aviation emissions, and we welcome the EAC’s emphasis on the inadequacy of existing policies for tackling climate change objectives … We believe that the challenges of addressing the environmental impacts of a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick cannot, in reality, be overcome.” The EAC said that Government would need to demonstrate “a high degree of certainty that their own policies are robust enough to deliver the mitigations required” before giving approval for the expansion. On CO2 the EAC said the industry’s efforts are “highly unlikely” to achieve the target for aviation emissions and that there is a need for additional Government policies including some form of demand management.
Cross party committee of MPs recommends Government should not give go ahead on Heathrow expansion
The Environmental Audit Committee today called on Government not to give Heathrow expansion the go ahead unless it is ready to make a ‘step change’ in its approach to environmental mitigation.
The EAC’s report on the implications for Government commitments on carbon emissions, air quality and noise of implementing the Airports Commission’s recommendation, advised that Government would need to demonstrate “a high degree of certainty that their own policies are robust enough to deliver the mitigations required” before giving approval for the expansion.
On climate change, the EAC quotes AEF’s written [AEF response to EAC Airports Commission inquiry] and oral [Parliament TV recording of the EAC evidence session] contributions in reaching its conclusion that industry efforts are “highly unlikely” to achieve the target for aviation emissions and that there is a need for additional Government policies including some form of demand management.
The Committee emphasised the “policy vacuum” in relation to the aviation carbon target and called on Government to introduce an effective aviation emissions framework and follow the approach recommended by the Committee on Climate Change in its 5th carbon budget advice.
On air quality, the EAC said that Heathrow expansion should be conditional on Government demonstrating that it would be compatible with EU air quality limits. The committee was very critical of the approach taken by the Airports Commission, namely that a deterioration of air quality in the Heathrow area could be legally permissible as long as air quality elsewhere in London is even worse. The EAC’s conclusion was based on concerns about the health impacts of air pollution and aligns with statements by air quality campaigners, such as Clean Air in London. The Committee also called on Government to calculate the costs of preventing health damage from poor air quality.
On noise, the EAC called for the Government to demonstrate how it would deliver the night flight ban proposed by the Airports Commission, and called for further analysis into whether the Airports Commission’s claim that a three runway Heathrow could actually be less noisy than a two runway Heathrow is realistic.
Cait Hewitt, AEF Deputy Director commented:
“Today’s report highlights the sheer scale of the measures that would be needed to prevent a third runway becoming an environmental disaster. We agree with the committee that there would need to be a ‘step change’ to the Government’s approach to environmental mitigation for expansion to be compatible with environmental limits.
“AEF has repeatedly highlighted the need for Government to demonstrate how it will close the policy gap in relation to aviation emissions, and we welcome the EAC’s emphasis on the inadequacy of existing policies for tackling climate change objectives.
“We believe that the challenges of addressing the environmental impacts of a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick cannot, in reality, be overcome.”
What aviation means for the fifth carbon budget
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the official body advising the Government on climate change policy, has today published its advice on the fifth carbon budget, including a restatement of its recommendation that aviation emissions should be no higher in 2050 than in 2005 (37.5 Mt).
CO2 from the sector is currently set to overshoot this level even without any new runways and to be higher still if expansion takes place at either Heathrow or Gatwick. New CCC analysis published today indicates that in a scenario where emissions are not capped and only low ‘carbon abatement’ options (such as technology improvements) are available, aviation emissions could be as high as 51.9 Mt by 2050, underlining the need for policy action to address the gap.
Carbon budgets ensure that the UK is on the right path to deliver the economy-wide 80% emissions reduction required under the Climate Change Act. So far, the Government has consistently adopted and legislated CCC’s advice on the appropriate level of ambition for carbon budgets. The fifth budget will cover emissions from 2028-2032.
UK carbon emission reduction path
Where does aviation fit in the UK climate change plan?
The CCC’s recommendation that carbon budgets must account for emissions from international aviation and shipping is longstanding. To date these emissions have not been formally included in carbon budgets given concerns about the appropriate approach to accounting for emissions from international travel.
The advice published today calls on Government to begin including shipping emissions in carbon budgets, but that “continuing uncertainties in aviation’s accounting within the EU ETS mean inclusion would be impractical at this time”. In the interim, CCC maintains that carbon budgets should continue to allow headroom for the future inclusion of aviation.
AEF supports inclusion of aviation emissions in carbon budgets and we set out some possible approaches for doing so in our response to the CCC’s consultation on its fifth carbon budget. But a continuation by Governbment of the current approach of ensuring that the UK is on course to deliver the long-term emissions target of 80% in a way that includes all sectors, and makes allowance for the future inclusion of aviation, is more important than formal inclusion of aviation emissions in carbon budgets in our view.
CCC recommends that aviation emissions should be no higher than 37.5 Mt in 2050 – the level in 2005 – and that the level of emissions reduction this assumes from other sectors in order to achieve the economy-wide target of an 80% cut is at the limit of what is feasible. In June this year, the CCC advised the Government to draw up a policy plan for closing the gap between currently forecast aviation emissions and the 37.5 Mt target.
What does this mean for the runway debate?
The Airports Commission, in making its recommendations for a new runway at Heathrow, produced two sets of forecasts. One, the ‘carbon capped’ forecast, assumed that Government continues to act on the CCC’s advice in limiting aviation emissions to 37.5 Mt. The other, the ‘carbon traded’ forecast, ignored any constraint on emissions under the Climate Change Act and assumed that the only action to control UK aviation emissions would be inclusion in an international carbon trading scheme.
Today’s advice from the CCC implies that Government must work on the basis of a ‘carbon capped’ scenario, and that the advice of the Airports Commission to build a new South East runway should be considered in this context.
What do we want Government to do?
The Government will propose draft legislation in response to the CCC’s advice on the Fifth Carbon Budget in 2016. AEF will be asking for Government to implement the CCC’s recommendation to allow headroom for aviation emissions, and to reconsider whether in fact sufficient information either is or will be available to formally include aviation as well as shipping emissions in carbon budgets from 2028.
To demonstrate its commitment to keeping aviation emissions at a level compatible with the Climate Change Act, Government should also set out a detailed policy plan for limiting aviation demand growth to no more than 60% above its level in 2005, in line with CCC’s recommendation of June 2015, and no decisions should be taken to increase South East airport capacity unless it can be shown to be compatible with such a plan.
We’re hoping that the international climate change conference in Paris this December will produce some ambitious long-term commitments. We’re also hoping to see some evidence following the conference that the UK is willing to honour its domestic climate commitments now they are starting to bite. And getting aviation policy right is an important part of this picture.
Committee on Climate Change confirm aviation CO2 must remain capped – putting new runway into question
On the eve of the Airports Commission’s runway recommendation, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has told Government it has until 2016 to set out an effective plan for limiting aviation emissions. The Government’s official advisory body on delivery of the UK’s Climate Change Act used its 5th ‘Progress Report’ to Government to highlight the need for action on aviation, including constraints on demand. The CCC says that given the anticipated growth in emissions from the sector, the DfT must set out how it will ensure that emissions from aviation are no higher in 2050 than they were in 2005 (37.5 Mt). The limited scope for improvements in aviation technology mean that demand growth must be kept to no more than 60% above its 2005 level. Current forecasts of air passenger growth with associated CO2 emissions exceed this level EVEN WITHOUT adding a new runway. With a new SE runway the growth in passenger demand – and thus CO2 emissions – would be even higher. Extensive analysis by the AEF has shown that a new runway would make the aviation emissions cap (37.5MtCO2 annually) impossible to achieve. Ruling out a new runway is the most obvious first step for the Government to take in response to the CCC’s advice. Adding a runway, and then having to deal with the extra carbon problem it has produced, is not an efficient way to deal with the issue.
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