Heathrow “Community Noise Forum” to get independent study into continuing changes (or not) to flight paths

In December 2014 Heathrow decided to set up a “Community Noise Forum” to set up dialogue with deeply upset and angry community groups – and try to build up some trust. There is already a separate “Noise Forum.” The Community Noise Forum consists of representatives of the Airport, the CAA, NATS, BA, local authorities, community organisations and campaign groups. One key task of the new Forum is to try to resolve the dispute between Heathrow and the communities affected by the flight path trials. These took place last year, and while the airport is adamant that the situation has returned to the pre-trial pattern, residents in areas such as Ascot, Teddington, Englefield Green, Lightwater, Binfield and Bracknell, are adamant that it has not. The Forum is to commission an independent study (it has to be independent) to look at the flight paths before the trials, during and afterwards.  The aim is to see whether flight paths post-trial really have gone back to their pre-trial routes, or not. The independent study will also look into whether any other changes had taken place. Heathrow can give technical assistance and will pay for the study. A steering group will draw up the brief for the study, and report back to the Forum.
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Heathrow Community Noise Forum set up

Heathrow Airport has set up the Community Noise Forum.  It consists of representatives of the Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), National Air Traffic Control (NATS), British Airways, local authorities, community organizations and campaign groups.  It was set up following the complaints received during the recent trials carried out by Heathrow and NATS.  In particular, it was hoped it could resolve the dispute between Heathrow and the communities where the trials took place that flight paths have or have not returned to their pre-trial pattern.  It is the reason why these communities and local authorities – largely to the west of the airport – are at present the main participants.  Local authorities and community organizations to the east of the airport are expected to be invited to join at a later stage, though HACAN, as the overall body, is on the Forum and does represent residents in these areas.

Its first task will be to commission an independent study to look at the flight paths before the recent trials took, during the trials and post-trials.  The aim is to see whether flight paths post-trial have gone back to their pre-trial routes.  Many in the communities impacted – places like Ascot, Teddington, Englefield Green, Lightwater, Binfield and Bracknell, claim they have not.  Heathrow Airport claims they have.

The independent study will also look into whether any other changes had taken place. The steering group which will draw up the brief for the study and which will oversee it will be drawn entirely from community representatives of the areas where the trials took place. Heathrow has offered technical assistance and will pay for the study. The steering group will meet soon. It will report back to the Community Noise Forum.

 NATS explained to the Forum the change they made to some flight paths in June 2014 without telling anybody. It transpires that what happened was that, when easterly winds were blowing, around 20 aircraft a day departing on the Compton Route were moved north and concentrated over a 7 mile band covering places like Ascot, Bracknell and Binfield. Previously they had been spread across a 13 mile band which included areas to the south of these places.  It is not regarded as a major change and won’t be reversed.

There is a separate Noise Forum, on which HACAN also has a place along with a local authority representative and representatives from the industry, which doesn’t look at area-specific work but concentrates on more generic issues such as respite.

http://hacan.org.uk/community-noise-forum-set-up/

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Information from Heathrow’s website:

Community Noise Forum

The Heathrow Community Noise Forum was set up in 2015 and is made up of representatives from 12 local authorities around Heathrow, NATS, BA, DfT, CAA and Heathrow.

Heathrow set up the forum in response to local concerns regarding future changes to airspace as a result of the Government’s Future Airspace Strategy.

Its aims are to:

  • keep community representatives and local authority stakeholders informed and seek their input in preparing for and consulting on future airspace modernisation as part of the Government’s Future Airspace Strategy;
  • improve understanding of members on Heathrow’s operations and airspace issues;
  • seek input from members to inform the communications approach to trials and public consultations regarding potential airspace changes;
  • build trust in the data through members involvement in the independent verification of the data and analysis of data.

On this page you can find the information relating to the Heathrow Community Noise Forum including minutes and presentations from meetings.

Meeting 1 on 2 March 2015

Meeting notes  2 March 2015 (262KB PDF)

Presentations

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http://www.heathrowairport.com/noise/making-heathrow-quieter/our-noise-strategy/working-with-local-communties/community-noise-forum

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See earlier:

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.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/03/heathrow-says-it-did-not-know-flight-path-changes-were-continuing-blames-nats-for-not-telling-them/
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See earlier:

Heathrow Airport to set up a new Community Noise Forum, to help residents understand flight path issues

Heathrow Airport knows it has a real problem with aircraft noise, that could block its runway aspirations. The recent flight path changes and trials revealed a degree of anger and opposition to increased plane noise that stunned Heathrow staff. Thousands of people newly overflown, or under new concentrated flight paths, expressed their intense opposition to the noise nuisance inflicted on them. Heathrow, at its Consultative Committee meeting on 10th December, was keen to set up a new “Community Noise Forum” through which to try to defuse some of this local anger and dissatisfaction – and to try to win back some trust.  For many, the repeated half truths and worse from the airport mean trust has broken down irretrievably.  The minutes say:  “Even the CAA had been regarded by some as not entirely independent in the process.”  There is already a “Noise Forum” (which replaced the Heathrow Noise & Track Keeping Working Group (NTKWG)), but that only involves HACAN and not other community groups. The new plan is to get something started as soon as possible, to give the appropriate community members and local authorities access to the raw data on flight path dispersal and concentration. A suitable chairperson needs to be located.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/heathrow-airport-to-set-up-a-new-community-noise-forum-to-help-residents-understand-flight-path-issues/

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Why the ruling by the Supreme Court on air pollution could stop plans for a new SE runway

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Government must produce a new action plan by the end of this year for bringing air pollution within legal limits. A decision to allow another Heathrow runway could be legally challenged unless the Government’s new plans are sufficiently ambitious to reduce emissions of a 2 runway airport below the legal limit – and also leave enough headroom to accommodate the negative impact of a 3rd runway. There is only pure speculation on how it could be achieved. The court ruling also suggests that the cost-benefit analysis for adding a runway will need to be revised, as the Government has previously claimed that complying with air quality law would be too expensive. And this does not only affect Heathrow, but Gatwick too. Gatwick is keen to claim it does not have a poor air quality problem. But EU regulations require not only that poor air quality must be improved but also that good air quality should be protected.  A 2nd Gatwick runway would mean local air pollution hotspots, with a risk of breaching the legal limits. The Airports Commission has a duty to the public not to recommend a project that would significantly damage people’s health. It would also be a poor use of taxpayer’s money to make recommendations that invite a legal challenge.
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Why This Week’s Court Ruling on Air Pollution Could Stop Airport Expansion

1.5.2015  (Huffington Post)

By James Lees (AEF – Aviation Environment Federation)
Sat at the back of the Supreme Court this week, while cheers erupted with the announcement that the panel of judges had unanimously ruled in favour of Client Earth’s air pollution case, it is possible to imagine a member of the audience hurriedly typing out a message to his or her colleagues.

It reads: “we may have a problem”.

That person could be a member of the Airports Commission staff and he or she would know that the ruling could mean the end of Heathrow’s third runway scheme and possibly even Gatwick’s bid for a second runway.

The Airports Commission, tasked with making recommendations on the future of UK airport capacity could already have written its final report, recommendations finalised, and be waiting for the post-election humdrum to die down before the report would be launched into the public sphere. The Supreme Court ruling changes that.

There is now a serious challenge to any recommendation to build a new runway, particularly (but not only) at Heathrow. Around the airport, the area is in breach of legal limits for NO2 pollution today and has been for many years. Modelling released by the Government’s environment department revealed that the area around Heathrow is forecast to continue breaching legal limits up to 2030, that’s with just two runways.

The Airports Commission has concluded that expanding either Heathrow or Gatwick would have a negative impact on air pollution through increases in air traffic and cars and taxis needed to carry passengers to and from the airport. This should mean thatunder law, planning permission for Heathrow (and possibly even Gatwick) should be refused as is the case for all developments that will cause air quality limits to be breached, or make air quality worse in an area where pollution already exceeds the limits.

But until now, there has been little reason for the Commission to think that this represented a meaningful barrier to airport expansion. The UK has been in breach of air pollution laws for some time and the Government claimed that it would take time to put in place effective measures to tackle air pollution. Being compliant with legal limits by 2030 was the latest estimate.

The Government’s stance was firmly rejected this week by the Supreme Court when it ordered the Government to produce a new action plan by the end of this year for bringing air pollution within legal limits. Any decision to expand Heathrow could be legally challenged unless the Government’s new plans are sufficiently ambitious to reduce emissions below the legal limit and leave enough headroom to accommodate the negative impact of an additional runway. That is a tough ask and it is pure speculation about how it could be achieved.

The court ruling also suggests that the cost-benefit analysis for expansion will need to be revised since the Government has previously claimed that complying with air quality law would be too expensive. The cost of having to take additional mitigation measures to accommodate increased emissions from a new runway under legal limits should be added to the cost-benefit analysis of a new runway.

Does the court’s decision open the door to a Gatwick runway? Not necessarily. EU regulations require not only that poor air quality must be improved but also that good air quality should be protected. It has been estimated that if all of the local jobs predicted by the Airports Commission materialise following Gatwick expansion, there would be an additional 100,000 vehicles using roads around the airport each day. That could create an air pollution hotspot around Gatwick. The lower background air pollution means that there is a lower risk of breaching the legal limits but a risk still remains.

The Airports Commission, as an independent but taxpayer funded organisation, has a duty to the public not to recommend a project that would significantly damage people’s health. It would also be a poor use of taxpayer’s money to make recommendations that invite a legal challenge. That is why it is possible to imagine a concerned Airports Commission member of staff hurriedly typing away on his or her phone at the back of the courtroom this week.

James Lees
Research and Communications Officer

Aviation Environment Federation
2nd Floor, 40 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UD
t: +44 (0) 20 3102 1509

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/james-lees/air-pollution_b_7188314.html

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See also:

Landmark air pollution ruling by Supreme Court could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow due to high NO2 level

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.” This could have implications for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, as areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits. That is due both to air pollution from the planes in addition to the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. In their verdict, 5 judges ordered the Secretary of State at DEFRA to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”. The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth. HACAN commented: “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a 3rd runway is concerned.”

Click here to view full story…


Part of letter by Jeff Gazzard:

Gazzard letter 1.5.2015


Comment from an AirportWatch member in the Heathrow area:

The Davies Commission conclusions can’t be accepted without proper scrutiny of the detailed local air quality dispersion modelling – which probably means a proper consultation.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that the last consultation in 2007/8 had government documents (?reverse-engineered) to explain that there would be no air quality problems with predicted graphs, based on new Euro vehicle emission standards, showing pollution levels to plummet as the years pass.

The Environment Agency argued that the argument was very optimistic and out of line with the trends in actual measured values.

Nevertheless the Government decided to proceed with the expansion proposal.

In practice, the predicted values at the monitoring locations for 2010 were not achieved and the air quality modelling for the Cranford Agreement application shows rather more areas modelled to be above EU limits than was the case in 2007.


See also
30.4.2015
UK Human Rights Blog
BY DAVID HART QC

Supreme Court: no excuses, UK must comply with EU air pollution law

http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2015/04/30/supreme-court-no-excuses-uk-must-comply-with-eu-air-pollution-law/

R (ClientEarth) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food &  Rural Affairs, Supreme Court, 29 April 2015, judgment here

Bit of a history to this one, with 5 hearings so far. The short version is that in May 2013, the UK Supreme Court (here), faced with the UK’s non-compliance with EU Directive 2008/50 (nitrogen dioxide etc in air), decide  to refer various issues to the CJEU in Luxembourg.  In 2014, the CJEU said its piece, (C404-13 and my post here), and its views are now considered by the Supreme Court, hence this second SC judgment.

The UK has been in breach of Article 13 of the Air Quality Directive since 1 January 2010, by not complying with pollution limits in specified areas. ClientEarth, an environmental NGO, sought to enforce the Directive in the national courts.  Defra admitted breach of Article 13 and the lower courts said that, given that admission, it was for the EU Commission, if it wished, to take infraction proceedings.  The Supreme Court’s 2013 judgement disagreed; it granted a declaration that the UK was in breach of Article 13, and posed various questions about the meaning and enforcement of the Directive to the CJEU.

The first two questions concerned two provisions in the Directive, Article 22 (concerning the postponement of deadlines) and Article 23 which provided for the provision of air quality plans. Unfortunately, the CJEU merged the questions, and gave one answer, thus leading to, as Lord Carnwath explained, an important ambiguity in both question and answer, not elucidated in

its characteristically sparse reasoning

ClientEarth and Defra battled it out over the ambiguity, but the current Supreme Court thought that the answer was still not clear. It proceeded not to answer the question, saying that it had become academic because the final deadline (1 January 2015) imposed by Article 22 had in any event expired by the time the matter came before the Supreme Court.  More on this gripping issue in my last post, though as will be apparent I had there somewhat overstated the clarity of the CJEU’s response. The furthest that Lord Carnwath was inclined to go (though not reaching a concluded view) was that he saw considerable force in the Commission’s reasoning that Article 22 was an optional derogation, but in the event that the state did not apply for such a derogation, it was under an

essential obligation to act urgently under article 23(1), in order to remedy a real and continuing danger to public health as soon as possible

The CJEU had dispensed with an Advocate-General’s opinion in this case, and in its absence, Lord Carnwath found a good deal of assistance in the Commission’s detailed observations – a helpful hint to those engaged in construing the more Delphic of the CJEU’s pronouncements.

The point of wider interest arose under the third and fourth questions, namely the obligations under Article 13, and the Court’s duty to enforce breaches of EU environmental law. On the third question, the Supreme Court (in line with the CJEU) emphasised that Article 13 (not to exceed pollution limits) was the primary obligation, to which Articles 22 (derogation) and 23 (plans) were supplementary. About the fourth question, the CJEU had been unequivocal that this was not just a matter for the Commission, but also a matter for domestic courts. Despite that, Defra argued that the existing air quality plans should not be quashed, and in any event Defra were going to replace the existing plans with new ones. The Supreme Court thought that this indication of intent was not enough:

Further, without doubting the good faith of the Secretary of State’s intentions, we would in my view be failing in out duty if we simply accepted her assurances without any legal underpinning.

No undertakings were forthcoming from Defra, because of the restrictions imposed by “purdah”, the constitutional convention that pending an election campaign one government does not do anything to commit its successor. Interestingly, the court also thought it could take notice of the fact that

the formation of a new Government may take a little time.

Upshot: the Supreme Court made a mandatory order requiring new air quality plans complying with the precise terms required by Article 23 within a defined timetable. Article 23 requires such plans to set out measures so that the period for which the UK was in breach of its obligations should be kept “as short as possible”. EU case law (including C-68/11 Commission v. Italyhas previously shown that the scope for arguing that it was impossible to meet its obligations was very limited, and Lord Carnwath foresaw this argument surfacing in the UK’s plans. All the more reason, he thought why the plans should be produced under order of a court, with liberty to determine such issues as and when they arose (without entirely fresh proceedings).

So the order to be made is far from a simple declaration of breach by the UK. Our courts will now have to roll up their sleeves and keep Defra up to the mark.

The judgment gives some of the background to this issue. The UK is one of 17 member states in breach, though the only one against whom the Commission has launched infringement proceedings. Why? We do not know, because the Commission’s correspondence is confidential. Lord Carnwath thinks that the Supreme Court’s previous declaration may have been a trigger (as I suppose may also have been the rather provocative assertion by Defra in the domestic courts that the only enforcer should be the Commission). According to a Defra witness, the main reason is that diesel vehicles emit more NOx than the regulatory test cycle reveals, and Defra cannot do anything about that without an EU-wide measure on diesel engines.  Well, up to a point; the sorts of measures which the Directive envisages as being contained in a member state’s plan under Article 23 include traffic planning, congestion pricing, differentiated parking fees or other incentives establishing low emission zones.

Conclusion

In my post on the CJEU judgment, I mused

….it is now all to play for.  Will the Supreme Court order something with more “teeth” than the existing declaration of breach? If so, what?

Well, it has certainly done that in making a mandatory order, including a structure under which the UK’s attempts to remedy its breaches can be scrutinised by the Courts.


http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2015/04/30/supreme-court-no-excuses-uk-must-comply-with-eu-air-pollution-law/

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See also:

 

Landmark air pollution ruling by Supreme Court could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow due to high NO2 level

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”  This could have implications for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, as areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits.  That is due both to air pollution from the planes in addition to the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. In their verdict, 5 judges ordered the Secretary of State at DEFRA to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”. The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth.  HACAN commented: “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a 3rd runway is concerned.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/landmark-air-pollution-ruling-by-supreme-court-could-impact-3rd-runway-at-heathrow-due-to-high-no2-level/

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Edinburgh Airport unveils 5 month trial of flight path to boost the airport’s capacity

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a 5-month trial of a new flight path for aircraft taking off to the west, in a bid to increase capacity. The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June,  will introduce a new SID route, the purpose of which is to allow more flights to use the runway, and allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals. This is to “allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.”  Most of the time the flights take off to the west and there are currently 3 SID€™ routes – known as Grice (which goes north), Gosam (which goes south west) and Talla (south). The new route – Tutur – will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, passing over West Lothian and to the east of Linlithgow. The settlements worse affected, with planes at 1900 – 2000 feet, would be Uphall and Dechmont. Map  Aircraft will climb as they turn, to fly over the coast and down the Firth of Forth passing North Queensferry, and then fly back over land at approximately 13,000ft near Musselburgh.  The airport says the aircraft using the trial route are likely to be their least noisy (B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s). The airport says the trial would monitor the impact on local communities, and noise monitors would be placed along the flight path to collect data on the flights.

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Edinburgh Airport’s information on the flight path trial

http://sid.edinburghairport.com/

Over the coming months, supported by air traffic control providers NATS and in line with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) guidance, we’ll be leading a trial to introduce a new Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route for certain aircraft taking off on a westerly departure route from our airport.

This will enable aircraft to depart in one minute intervals – allowing us to encourage and maintain safe and sustainable growth whilst ensuring punctuality and operations are unaffected.

At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s. What we’re aiming to do is to begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport, bringing it into the 21st century.

As we continue to see more passengers travel through our airports than ever before, we’ll need to increase airspace capacity above Central Scotland to cater for this growth.

This is a very exciting and challenging project but to keep you fully up-to-date with its progress, we’ve created this microsite. Here you’ll be able to find maps, images and more information which should answer your questions and allow you to learn more about what we’re doing.

I would encourage you all to have a look and give us your feedback.

As Scotland’s busiest airport we’re committed to the future of Scottish aviation and we’ll work with you to ensure you have all the information you need on the trial and that we can capture your views throughout the trial.

I look forward to working with you throughout this exciting project and sharing regular updates on its progress with you.

Gordon Dewar

Gordon Dewar
Chief Executive

The new route

http://sid.edinburghairport.com/follow-the-route

From the end of June, our most modern and quietest aircraft will have the option to take off on a new westerly departure route. This is called a Standard Instrument Departure route or SID for short. The aircraft likely to be using this route are B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s.

The new SID route we will be trialling, will see aircraft take off from Edinburgh Airport in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, climbing above water before flying back over land at approximately 13,000ft.

We’ve taken great care to design this new departure route with care and consideration for our neighbours in mind. Aircraft using the route will pass over very few settlements and will be routed over the Firth of Forth for the bulk of their flight path around Edinburgh.

We’ll be actively engaging with all of our stakeholders and neighbours to help you understand why we’re doing this and help us to find out what kind of impact the trial will have.

We’ll be placing noise monitors along the flight path so we can collect data on all the flights using the new route and analyse any noise that aircraft potentially cause.

Investment in a new SID route will not only create new capacity in the air, it will also help us increase Scotland’s connectivity and ability to attract more airlines and fly to more new destinations.

Current route

Aircraft can currently choose three different westerly departure routes when taking off from Edinburgh Airport. These are called, GRICE, TALLA and GOSAM. The new route we will trial this summer will be called TUTUR. Our existing routes and the new trial route are all shown on the map below. The new route is shown by the red line.

 

The map below from Edinburgh Airport shows the three existing routes for westerly take-offs, and the proposed new route to be trialled, “TUTUR” shown in red.

Edinburgh airport current 3 routes and new trialled one TUTUR

http://sid.edinburghairport.com/

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Edinburgh Airport unveils flight path trial

28.4.2015 (BBC)

See short film clip.

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a five-month trial of a new flight path for departing aircraft in a bid to increase capacity.

The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June, will introduce a new Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route.

Airport bosses said the new route would allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals.

They said it would allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.

Edinburgh is Scotland’s busiest airport, with more than 40 airlines serving more than 100 destinations.

Last year, more than 10 million passengers passed through, making it the busiest year ever for a Scottish airport.

Most of the time the flights take off west towards Newbridge into the prevailing wind.

The airport currently uses three SID€™ routes – known as Grice (which goes north), Gosam (which goes south west) and Talla (south).

The new route – Tutur – will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, passing over West Lothian and to the east of Linlithgow.

Aircraft will climb as they fly above the river before flying back over land at approximately 13,000ft near Musselburgh racecourse in East Lothian.

The new Standard Instrument Departure will be on trial until the end of November

The new Standard Instrument Departure will be on trial until the end of November

David Wilson, chief operating officer of Edinburgh Airport, said: “At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s.

“What we’re aiming to do is begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport and bring it into the 21st Century.”

He said the trial would give more modern aircraft the opportunity to take off on a new westerly departure route.

Mr Wilson said: “We’ve taken great care to design this new departure route with the utmost consideration for our neighbours.

“The route passes over very few populated areas and flies over the river for the bulk of its flight path.”

He said the trial would monitor the impact on local communities and noise monitors would be placed along the flight path to collect data on the flights.

Councillor Gavin Corbett, of the Scottish Greens, said he would like to see a more fundamental review of travel capacity.

He said: “For example, almost half of Edinburgh Airport’s traffic is domestic traffic. That’s the kind of traffic which should be on the railways and perhaps that’s the way forward.”  [He also commented that much of the traffic using Edinburgh airport is holiday flights, taking Scottish people to spend their holiday money in other countries, thus not doing anything to help the Scottish economy].  See film clip.

Glasgow Airport is also reviewing its airspace.

Along with Edinburgh and Prestwick airport, it is part of the Scottish Airspace Development Design Group, formed last year to review capacity and future growth of air travel in central Scotland.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: “Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network designed in the 1970s and there will be a requirement for this to be upgraded.

“We are currently working to understand what this means for Glasgow Airport, however, we will consult fully with relevant stakeholder groups, community representatives and other interested parties prior to any trials.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-32502490

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Edinburgh Airport flight paths spark noise fears

28.4.2015 (Edinburgh Evening News)

Edinburgh Airport is to trial a new flight path that could see a plane taking off every minute, raising fears of increased aircraft noise and pollution.

The route, which will be tested for six months from June 25, will see southbound planes take off over Broxburn and Uphall, before turning east over the Forth, then south over East Lothian.

And it will cut the minimum interval between take-offs from two minutes to one minute, doubling the potential number of flights by large planes from the hub and increasing the total number of flights in and out of the Capital by 20 per cent to around 120,000 every year.

Not every flight will use the new route, which will increase the total number of take-offs and landings possible per hour from 42 to 50 by 2017, if the trial is rolled out permanently.

But as a result of the change residents in West Lothian are being told to expect increased aircraft noise, with some flights being routed directly over houses. Noise levels will be between 80-90 decibels, the same as standing five metres away from a busy road.

Uphall community councillor Fraser Graham, who lives under the flight path, said: “This could cause people some problems. I will be raising this at our next meeting.”

However, the airport said only quieter modern aircraft will use the new corridor, which will see planes climb rapidly on take-off. The route has been designed for larger aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 and 787 Dreamliner, and Airbus A319, A320, A321, and A330.

There were also concerns that increased flight capacity would add to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

David Wilson, chief operating officer of Edinburgh Airport, said: “At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s. What we’re aiming to do is begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport and bring it into the 21st century.”

Flights set to use the new corridor include busy international routes to Amsterdam, Brussels, Poland and Italy, as well as new medium-haul routes to the Middle East.

Residents can check the route themselves and offer feedback on the level of disturbance via a dedicated website set up by Edinburgh Airport.

Mr Wilson continued: “We’ve taken great care to design this new route with the utmost consideration for our neighbours. The route passes over very few populated areas and flies over the river for the bulk of its flight path.

“We’ve contacted community councils, groups and politicians and will continue to do this to ensure people understand why we’re doing this and to find out how the new route is impacting on them. We’ll be placing noise monitors along the flight path so we can collect data.”

Sandy Legget, general manager of air traffic controller NATS at Edinburgh, said the new route would help the airport expand.

She said: “NATS has supported the airport in preparing for this trial, ensuring the design delivers benefits for the airport and airlines and is mindful of the airport’s commitment to local communities.

“A new departure route would enable sustainable and safe growth at Edinburgh Airport.”

Colin Keir, MSP for Edinburgh Western and convener of the Cross Party Group on Aviation, said: “I welcome this trial and hope it proves successful.”

More details on the proposed route are trial can be found at   http://sid.edinburghairport.com/

 

 

Read more »

Landmark air pollution ruling by Supreme Court could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow due to high NO2 level

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”  This could have implications for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, as areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits.  That is due both to air pollution from the planes in addition to the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. In their verdict, 5 judges ordered the Secretary of State at DEFRA to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”. The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth.  HACAN commented: “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a 3rd runway is concerned.”
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Landmark air pollution ruling could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow

29.4.2015 (HACAN)

A landmark ruling by the Supreme Court handed down this morning could have implications for a third runway at Heathrow.

In a unanimous verdict, five judges ordered the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission no later than 31 December 2015.

The plans require the Government crack down on the UK’s high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution. Lord Carnwath said the court was “in no doubt about the seriousness” of the UK’s breach of EU law in failing to meet legal pollution limits, which leaves it open to the risk of European Commission fines totalling £300 million.

The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”.

The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth which had sued the Government over its lack of action.

The judgement could also have implications for a third runway at Heathrow.

Areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits.  It is down to a combination of pollution from the planes and the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. Due to the proximity of these huge roads, it is the only airport in the UK where the EU limits are breached or are likely to be so in the future.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, which campaigns against a third runway, said, “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a third runway is concerned.  It is difficult to see how any Government will get away with backing a new runway at Heathrow when the plans it is now required to draw up urgently to present to the EU say it must come up with a coherent plan to cut air pollution.”

http://hacan.org.uk/landmark-air-pollution-ruling-could-scupper-3rd-runway/

www.hacan.org.uk

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See also:

Why the ruling by the Supreme Court on air pollution could stop plans for a new SE runway

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Government must produce a new action plan by the end of this year for bringing air pollution within legal limits. A decision to allow another Heathrow runway could be legally challenged unless the Government’s new plans are sufficiently ambitious to reduce emissions of a 2 runway airport below the legal limit – and also leave enough headroom to accommodate the negative impact of a 3rd runway. There is only pure speculation on how it could be achieved. The court ruling also suggests that the cost-benefit analysis for adding a runway will need to be revised, as the Government has previously claimed that complying with air quality law would be too expensive. And this does not only affect Heathrow, but Gatwick too. Gatwick is keen to claim it does not have a poor air quality problem. But EU regulations require not only that poor air quality must be improved but also that good air quality should be protected. A 2nd Gatwick runway would mean local air pollution hotspots, with a risk of breaching the legal limits. The Airports Commission has a duty to the public not to recommend a project that would significantly damage people’s health. It would also be a poor use of taxpayer’s money to make recommendations that invite a legal challenge.

Click here to view full story…


Earlier:

Airports Commission consultation shows air quality problems with new runways, but no adequate data yet

No new information has yet been provided by the Commission.  29.4.2015

The Airports Commission consultation document is aware that air quality is a major obstacle for a new Heathrow runway.  It says expanding either Gatwick or Heathrow would have a negative impact on air quality, with all proposed schemes requiring expansions to local road networks to accommodate increased road traffic. For both the Heathrow runway options the Commission says “Both local Air Quality Objectives and EU limit thresholds are at risk of exceedance at a small number of monitoring sites in the local area under this scheme. While in some cases these exceedances are also forecast to occur in the do minimum scenario, there is clearly a substantial negative impact of the scheme on air quality, unless forceful mitigation measures are implemented.” But they have not been able to complete full detailed modelling of the air quality impacts of new runways and further work is needed. This unfortunately is not in time for the consultation.  The Commission intends to supplement this at a future date with “more detailed dispersion modelling”.  [Section 2.56 of consultation document]. That means models to show how wind and weather disperses pollution, and it could be questioned how much faith should be placed on sufficient wind speeds in coming years.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/airports-commission-consultation-shows-air-quality-problems-with-new-runways-but-no-adequate-data-yet/

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UK Supreme Court orders Government to take “immediate action” on air pollution

29 April 2015 (Client Earth)

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year.

The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, handed down this morning, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”

The historic ruling is the culmination of a five year legal battle fought by ClientEarth for the right of British people to breathe clean air.

The ruling will save thousands of lives a year by forcing the Government to urgently clean up pollution from diesel vehicles, the main source of the illegal levels of nitrogen nioxide found in many of the UK’s towns and cities.

ClientEarth Lawyer Alan Andrews said: “Air pollution kills tens of thousands of people in this country every year. We brought our case because we have a right to breathe clean air and today the Supreme Court has upheld that right.

“This ruling will benefit everyone’s health but particularly children, older people and those with existing health conditions like asthma and heart and lung disease.

“The next Government, regardless of the political party or parties which take power, is now legally bound to take urgent action on this public health crisis. Before next week’s election all political parties need to make a clear commitment to policies which will deliver clean air and protect our health.”

The Supreme Court ruling means the Government must start work on a comprehensive plan to meet pollution limits as soon as possible. Among the measures that it must consider are low emission zones, congestion charging and other economic incentives.

ClientEarth is calling for action to clean up the worst polluting diesel vehicles, including through a national network of low emission zones.

http://www.clientearth.org/news/press-releases/uk-supreme-court-orders-government-to-take-immediate-action-on-air-pollution-2843

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Supreme Court orders UK to clean up air pollution in landmark ruling

Major victory for ClientEarth after five year legal battle

By Jessica Shankleman (Business Green)

29 Apr 2015

Ministers must draw up strict plans to crack down on the UK’s high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, following a landmark ruling in the Supreme Court today.

In a unanimous verdict, five judges ordered the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to consult on new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission no later than 31 December 2015.

Lord Carnwath said the court was “in no doubt about the seriousness” of the UK’s breach of EU law in failing to meet legal pollution limits, which leaves it open to the risk of European Commission fines totalling £300m.

The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”.

Defra’s plans revealed that some of the worst polluted areas of the country, such as London, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire, will be unable to meet legal limits until after 2030.

The NGO ClientEarth sued the government over its proposal, in an attempt to force the government to take more ambitious action to tackle air pollution, which is blamed for tens of thousands of deaths a year.

At a hearing earlier this month, the government volunteered to publish a consultation this autumn on a new plan that included “appropriate, feasible and effective” measures for bringing down NO2. That plan would then be submitted to the Commission by the end of this year, the government said.

The Secretary of State argued that an injunction was unnecessary because the European Commission launched its own infraction proceedings against the UK last year, which it was working to comply with.

However, ClientEarth argued Defra could not be relied upon to deliver voluntarily and asked the Supreme Court to impose an injunction.

The judges agreed with ClientEarth, saying they would be “failing in their duty” if they “simply accepted” assurances from the Secretary of State without any legal underpinning. They also noted that since 2010, the government has revealed more pessimistic predictions of when some areas could comply.

The outcome is likely to place fresh pressure on ministers to introduce bolder measures for tackling air pollution.

Some campaigners have called on the government to ban the most polluting diesel vehicles, which are widely blamed for causing spikes in NO2 pollution that may increase the risk of breathing and heart problems, expand ultra low emission zones in urban areas and revisit plans for road pricing and higher taxes for the dirtiest vehicles. The ruling could also impact plans to expand Heathrow Airport, as it is located in one of the UK’s worst air pollution blackspots.

ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said the Supreme Court ruling upheld the right for people to breathe clean air. “The next government, regardless of the political party or parties which take power, is now legally bound to take urgent action on this public health crisis,” he said in a statement.

“Before next week’s election all political parties need to make a clear commitment to policies which will deliver clean air and protect our health.”

Ellie Watson, an environment lawyer for Pinsent Masons said the ruling could open the door for a series of similar legal challenges across European Member States as the UK is not alone in failing to comply with NO2 limits.

“UK Government will now have to act fast to cut nitrogen dioxide levels to avoid hefty fines,” she said. “For business, this will inevitably mean more stringent regulation but savvy firms will translate investment into low emission vehicle fleets and ramped up green travel policies into cost savings and PR benefit.

“EU law-makers may now find themselves under some pressure to rethink the directive and the EU’s approach to managing pollution levels.”

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2406257/supreme-court-orders-uk-to-clean-up-air-pollution-in-landmark-ruling

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See also:

EU ruling on air pollution compliance is a ‘major blow’ for Heathrow Airport expansion plans

The levels of air pollution in the Heathrow area already routinely breach EU limits (the Air Quality Directive), for nitrogen dioxide, due to the concentration of road traffic in the area – in addition to the aircraft. The UK has tried to avoid a showdown with the EU by agreeing to reduce air pollution levels in line with the EU directive by 2025, but the date has since slipped to ‘post 2030′. The European Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has now rejected this plan and UK ministers will have to prepare new measures for reducing illegal pollution levels ‘as soon as possible’. The CJEU has given the UK Supreme Court responsibility for enforcing compliance with air quality law. Judges will examine the case next year. The cross-party 2M group of councils opposing a 3rd Heathrow runway say this is a ‘major blow’ for the plans. Heathrow hopes that improvement, over coming years, in road vehicle emissions will solve their problem, but this is outside their control. The 2M groups says the Supreme Court will have to be convinced about the unlikely scenario in which air pollution can be reduced  -while Heathrow increases flights, road traffic and freight.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/12/eu-ruling-on-air-pollution-compliance-is-a-major-blow-for-heathrow-airport-expansion-plans/

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Defra condemned for proposals – yet again – to scrap local air pollution monitoring, with danger of reducing air quality

Edit this entry.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/24345/

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Defra condemned by Clean Air in London for proposals scrapping local air pollution monitoring

Air pollution is a key problem for Heathrow, making the addition of a 3rd runway very hard to justify – or to fit within legal air quality limits. The main pollutant with which Heathrow has problems is NOX – nitrogen oxides, the  majority of which comes from road traffic. The actual proportion from aircraft, airport vehicles and other road vehicles is very difficult to establish. The other key air pollutants are PM10 and PM2.5 – tiny particles which lodge in the lungs and can cause long term health problems. DEFRA has responsibility for air quality monitoring. It put out a consultation on streamlining some air pollution  monitoring, on 19th December (finishes 30th January). The aim is to no longer require local authorities to monitor 4 pollutants, and to combine monitoring of PM10s with PM2.5s. The group, Clean in London says “DEFRA’s plans would result inevitably in the scrapping of thousands of local monitoring sites that have taken a decade to put in place and probably all of them within a few months or years.”  Also that “Alarmingly, local authorities are being told to make use of Defra’s tiny national monitoring network (i.e. 137 monitors, few of which measure two or more of NO2, PM2.5 and PM10).”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/defra-condemned-by-clean-air-in-london-for-proposals-scrapping-local-air-pollution-monitoring/

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ClientEarth wins case – EU Court rules UK government must act to clean up deadly air pollution

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has delivered its judgement in ClientEarth’s case,  that the UK must act to clean up illegal levels of air pollution “as soon as possible”.  Under current plans the UK will not meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) until after 2030 – twenty years after the original deadline.  NO2 has known harmful health impacts including increasing the risk of heart attacks and asthma. In their case at the ECJ, ClientEarth win on all points.  The judgement says the UK’s plans should have aimed at compliance by 1 January 2015 at the latest.  The UK remains in ongoing breach of EU law, and UK courts must order the government to produce a plan which rapidly achieves NO2 limits. To be successful, a plan to deal with air pollution needs to drastically cut nitrogen oxides from diesel vehicles. Much of the air pollution around airports, like Heathrow, is caused by these diesel vehicles.  Around 29,000 people die early in the UK each year as a result of air pollution, making it the biggest public health problem after smoking. ClientEarth’s case will return to the UK Supreme Court for a final ruling next year. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/eu-court-rules-uk-government-must-act-to-clean-up-deadly-air-pollution/
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Why Schiphol will never become ‘Heathrow’s 3rd runway’ – it has tight noise and ATM limits

We are routinely told that, if Heathrow doesn’t expand, people from other UK airports like Newcastle, Edinburgh and Liverpool will choose to fly to Schiphol (Amsterdam) to interchange onto long-distance flights.  The CEO of Schiphol Airport has even rather cheekily called it ‘Heathrow’s third runway’ or referred to Amsterdam as “London’s 2nd hub.” However, John Stewart explains that this is not a situation that can continue indefinitely. Though Schiphol has 5 runways, in reality only two can be used at one time. And unlike airports in the UK, Schiphol has strict noise regulations about which runways can be used, and when.  The use of the two runways which go over densely-populated areas is avoided whenever possible. Schiphol has almost reached its permissible noise limits, with around 425,565 flights last year – and a limit of 510,000 per year (cf. 480,000 at Heathrow).  When the noise from planes using one runway reaches a certain point, no more is allowed in that year, and traffic should be diverted to alternative runways. The system in use at Schiphol to protect residents from aircraft noise is more rigorous than in the UK, and the Dutch take their noise responsibilities on aircraft noise too seriously to allow Schiphol to become effectively a UK hub.
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Why Schiphol will never become ‘Heathrow’s third runway’

Blog by John Stewart

28th April 2015

We routinely are told that, if Heathrow doesn’t expand, people from other UK airports will choose to fly to Schiphol to interchange on to a long-distance flight.  The CEO of Schiphol has even rather cheekily called it ‘Heathrow’s third runway’. [And Amsterdam as London’s 2nd hub].

He knows full well it can never be that because Schiphol has almost reached capacity.

It is not that Schiphol lacks runway space.  It has five runways (six if you include one for very small planes) and fewer flights than Heathrow.  [52.5 million passengers in 2014 at Schiphol compared to 70 million at Heathrow].

Schiphol map

 

The capacity constraint is down to the strict rules which exist about which runways can be used and when.

There are tight noise regulations in place which mean that all five runways are never in use at any one time.  Indeed, rarely are more than three of the runways used at once.  And the use of the two runways which go over densely-populated areas is avoided whenever possible.

 But here’s the big reason why Schiphol can never become London’s third runway.  It has almost reached its permissible noise limits.  The airport has a complex way of regulating noise:  “the present system as from 2005 consists of 35 points around Schiphol where the actual noise of passing planes is physically measured and added up to annual totals per point. If a total at a certain point exceeds its legal maximum, the relating runway can no longer be used and traffic should be diverted to alternative runways. The maximum capacity of this system is some 480,000 air traffic movements each year.

You can read more about this in the paper Noise Reduction at Schiphol:Noise reduction Schiphol  

The system is being altered so that possibly 510,000 flights will be able to use the airport each year.  [The number was about 425,565 in 2014].  But that’s it.  No more.  And not significantly greater than the 480,000 cap at the two-runway Heathrow.  The trips from Edinburgh, Manchester or Newcastle to Schiphol to interchange will have a finite limit. 

Schiphol is looking to get round its limits by ‘outsourcing’ perhaps as many as 70,000 low-cost, leisure flights to the smaller airports Netherlands.

If  – and it still very much is ‘if’ that happens – it will free up some space at Schiphol but not enough to dent the myth that Schiphol can ever become Heathrow’s third runway.  Gatwick maybe.  Stansted possibly.  Even Birmingham or Boris Island.  But not Schiphol.  The Dutch take their noise responsibilities far too seriously for that to happen. 

http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=381

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Comment from an AirportWatch member:

“In the Netherlands noise is clearly taken very seriously. It would be shameful if
Heathrow were to have a lower standard – more noise due to a third runway
– in order to gain ‘competitive advantage’ over Schiphol”


See earlier:

Schiphol airport unfazed by prospect of new London runway – many UK passengers prefer transferring from Schiphol

Schiphol Group president and chief executive Jos Nijhuis, described Amsterdam as “London’s second hub”. Schiphol now handles up to 8 million UK passengers a year, 60% of whom connect to onward flights. Schiphol believes passengers from UK regional airports will continue to choose Amsterdam rather than Heathrow to connect to long‑haul flights, even if Heathrow gets a 3rd runway. 13 UK airports have services to Amsterdam and this will rise to 14 next month, with the addition of Belfast.  The loss of UK regional traffic to Amsterdam because of capacity constraints at Heathrow has featured heavily in Heathrow’s lobbying for a new runway, wanting to prevent the loss of customers to Schiphol. And wanting to keep on being the biggest international airport, by far, in Europe.  Jos Nijhuis said: “We are London’s second hub and doing very well. …I tell [Heathrow chief executive] John Holland-Kaye: ‘Consider our most western runway as yours. We can rename it Heathrow Runway Three….We are a much better transfer airport [than our rivals]. We designed the airport for transfers.” KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers said: “I don’t think additional capacity in London would make Heathrow more attractive than Schiphol to passengers in Newcastle or Humberside.” He felt higher charges needed by Heathrow to pay for a new runway would mean the runway would not reduce the traffic going via Schiphol.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/schiphol-airport-unfazed-by-prospect-of-new-london-runway-many-uk-passengers-prefer-it/
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Schiphol claims to operate Heathrow’s 3rd runway and provide the UK with global links

Schiphol airport has launching an aggressive advertising campaign, making out that it is offering more than 100 daily flights to the UK, enabling Britons to connect to 275 destinations across the world. Schiphol now serves 23 UK airports in Britain, compared with 12 offered by Gatwick and only 7 by Heathrow. Schiphol has 5 runways – compared with Heathrow’s 2 [of course, they cannot all be used at the same time – probably in practice only two are used at once].  Schiphol hopes to have more passengers etc than Heathrow within a decade (don’t they all?). The Telegraph is promoting this story, to help pile on pressure for new runways in the south east, and also as part of its continuing campaign against APD – wanting flying to be even more under-taxed than at present. The Telegraph, and Schiphol, are promoting the fear that Heathrow might be overtaken some time, with threats that ….”the Government is outsourcing Britain’s airports and jobs to our European competitors.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/11/schiphol-claim/

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Schiphol to get 3,000 fewer night flights per year – but that still leaves 29,000 per year

The number of night flights at Schiphol in the next 3 years will be reduced from 32,000 to 29,000. That still means around 80 flights per night – hugely more than other airports. There has been an agreement  – the Alders Agreement – between the airport and the local communities under the airport ‘s flight path. It allows for some growth at the airport but only within strict environmental limits. In order to remain within these limits the number of night flights had to be cut, but the agreement is only for 3 years.  Schiphol is saying that the 3,000  flights are not being switched to other airports, and it is a real reduction, not just a displacement.  Up to 2020  the limit for the number of aircraft movements at Schiphol is 510,000 per year. There are also meant to be measures to use quieter planes to cut noise and compensate residents for noise.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/11/schiphol-night/

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Great majority of election candidates around Gatwick oppose a 2nd runway

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) members have carried out a survey of the views of parliamentary candidates about a new runway at Gatwick. All 11 Conservative Parliamentary candidates in the seats around Gatwick (Crawley, Horsham, Arundel and South Downs, Mole Valley, Reigate, East Surrey, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge & Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Mid Sussex, and Wealden) oppose a 2nd  runway.  So do all Green Party candidates.  So do all UKIP candidates.  Almost all Lib Dem candidates oppose a 2nd runway – except for a few; the odd ones out being the candidates for Crawley and Horsham.  The Labour candidates are about equally divided, half for and half against the runway.  Many of the candidates have now signed a pledge against the runway, appreciating the runway would produce an increase in aircraft noise, worsened environment and lack of infrastructure such as roads, rail, schools and hospitals. At the national level both the Labour and Conservative manifestos say in effect that they will wait for the recommendations of the Airports Commission (expected June/July).  At the Lib Dem conference last year a resolution supporting a Gatwick runway was overwhelmingly defeated, and their manifesto reflects this policy but leaves a little wriggle room if the Airports Commission comes up with “compelling new evidence.” 
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Candidates Oppose Gatwick 2nd Runway

26.4.2015

(GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

All eleven Conservative Parliamentary candidates in the seats around Gatwick oppose a second runway.  So do all Green Party candidates.  So do all UKIP candidates.

Almost all Lib Dem candidates oppose a new runway, the odd ones out being the candidates for Crawley and Horsham.  The Labour candidates are about equally divided, half for and half against.

GACC members carried out a survey of parliamentary candidates with many of them signing a pledge to oppose a new runway due to increase in aircraft noise, worsened environment and lack of infrastructure such as roads, rail, schools and hospitals.

At the national level both the Labour and Conservative manifestos say in effect that they will wait for the recommendations of the Airports Commission (expected June/July).  If all the Conservative candidates were to be re-elected the bloc of eleven votes in a hung Parliament might perhaps just be sufficient to stop the runway.

The Green Party candidates are in line with their national manifesto which opposes any new runway, mainly on climate change grounds.

The UKIP manifesto opposes any new runway but supports instead greater use of Manston.

At the Lib Dem conference last year a resolution supporting a Gatwick runway was overwhelmingly defeated, and their manifesto reflects this policy but leaves a little wriggle room if the Airports Commission comes up with compelling arguments.

The constituencies included in the survey were Crawley, Horsham, Arundel and South Downs, Mole Valley, Reigate, East Surrey, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Mid Sussex, and Wealden.

Not all candidates could be contacted but the summary above gives an accurate reflection of the majority views.

www.gacc.org.uk

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Councils around Gatwick opposed to a 2nd runway

Almost all the county, borough, district, town and parish councils around Gatwick have decided to oppose a second runway.

  • Kent County Council has reversed its position, from support for a second Gatwick runway to opposition.
  • After a long and passionate debate, West Sussex County Council councillors voted 37:26 to cancel their support in principle and to oppose a 2nd runway.
  • Surrey County Council is sticking to its policy, agreed a few years ago, to oppose a second runway unless sufficient infrastructure improvements are made first.
  • Crawley Borough Council, the planning authority for Gatwick, has voted 25:11 to oppose a second runway.
  • Horsham District Council has voted 23:1 against.
  • Mole Valley District Council has voted unanimously against.
  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has voted 39:1 against.
  • Tandridge District Council has sent in a response drawing attention to its core strategy to oppose any expansion of the airport which would adversely affect their residents.
  • Mid Sussex District Council has strongly opposed a 2nd runway
  • Wealden District Council has opposed a 2nd runway
  • Reigate and Banstead Council is still making up its mind.
  • Horley Town Council and virtually all the fifty or so parish councils around Gatwick have voted No to a runway
  • The only odd one out is East Sussex County Council which voted 27:19 to support a 2nd runway. Most of the votes in favour came from councillors in seaside areas such as Hastings or Eastbourne who were enticed by the prospect of more jobs.
  • None of the Members of Parliament around Gatwick support a 2nd runway. Eight out of nine MPs have declared their opposition. One (Henry Smith) says that Gatwick have not yet made a case for a new runway, and has now stated that the costs would outweigh the benefits.

 

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and see

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/crawley-borough-council-votes-by-2611-to-oppose-second-runway-at-gatwick/  for much more on councils opposed to a new Gatwick runway

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Heathrow finally completes £4.8 million of insulation work on schools etc – after 10 years

Heathrow has finally finished installing noise insulation at the 42 schools and other community buildings (31 in Hounslow) where it promised in 2005 to carry out the work. It has taken 10 years, and it cost Heathrow £4.8 million.  Heathrow said in 2005 it would install double glazing and make other improvements to minimise the din from aircraft, at selected schools etc under its flight paths. Now, pressing for a runway, John Holland-Kaye ensured the work under the Community Building Noise Insulation scheme was completed this April.  Part of the cost is the adobe buildings for school playgrounds, in which children can be taught “outdoors” under the dome. How being inside an adobe dome counts as being “outdoors” is a mystery. The adobe buildings have cost £1.8 million, from Heathrow, and have been installed in 5 schools in Hounslow and Slough – with 5 more due to be completed in Hounslow this year. If Heathrow gets a 3rd runway, it has “promised” to spend £700 million insulating homes, schools and other buildings affected by aircraft noise – more than 20 times the £30 million currently on offer. But is it not saying if it will make any improvements, if it does not get a runway. John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said: “What’s important is that further insulation should not be dependent on a third runway.”

As one wit asked: “If it has taken them 10 years to do £4.8 million of insulation work, how long could it take them to get round to £700 million?”   A fair question indeed …..
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Heathrow fulfils schools promise – decade after it was made

25.4.2015 (Get West London)

By Robert Cumber

The airport’s operator has finally finished installing noise insulation at the 42 schools and other community buildings where it promised in 2005 to carry out the work

An adobe hut at Hounslow Heath Infant and Junior School, which was the first to get one of the noise-insulated domes funded by Heathrow

Heathrow’s owners have fulfilled a promise to insulate schools in Hounslow from the noise of passing jets – a decade after it was made.

Bosses at the airport pledged in 2005 to install double glazing and make other improvements to minimise the din at selected schools and other community buildings lying under its flight paths.

But they had faced flak for taking so long to make good the commitment, which had its origins in a 2003 government white paper ordering airport operators to offer such measures.

When Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye took up the top post in July last year, one of the first promises he made was to complete the Community Building Noise Insulation scheme by April 2015.

The airport operator announced on Tuesday (April 21) that he had kept his word, with noise insulation now completed at all 42 buildings qualifying for the voluntary initiative, 31 of which are in Hounslow.

Heathrow said the total cost of the work to the buildings, which include nursing homes and community centres as well as schools, was more than £4.8m.

Mr Holland-Kaye said: “The completion of this schools insulation programme and our innovative adobe buildings are only part of our ambitious plans to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on local communities, and be a better neighbour.”

He also hailed the impact of new adobe huts being built at schools around Heathrow thanks to £1.8m funding from the airport.

The Teletubby-style huts, which are built from soil-filled tubes and offer refuge from aircraft noise during outdoor lessons, are already in place at five schools in Hounslow and Slough, with another five scheduled for completion in Hounslow this year.

Hounslow Council leader Steve Curran said: “The conclusion of the insulation programme is a good step towards creating better schools in Hounslow and we will continue to work with the airport in promoting the adobe buildings scheme and the primary and secondary school challenges, Heathrow’s education programme to inspire the next generation of engineers.”

Hounslow Heath Infant and Nursery School has benefited from noise insulation and the adobe huts, along with a bespoke ventilation system also funded by Heathrow.

Its headteacher Kathryn Harper-Quinn said: “We are very pleased with this noise insulation work as it makes a difference to staff and pupils, and we are just one of many schools in the Heathrow area to benefit from this scheme.”

If Heathrow gets a third runway, the operator has promised to spend £700m insulating homes, schools and other buildings affected by aircraft noise – more than 20 times the £30 million currently on offer.

However, it has resisted pressure to say whether it would improve the current compensation scheme should it fail in its bid for a new landing strip.

John Stewart, chairman of the anti Heathrow expansion campaign group HACAN said: “This insulation programme has been welcomed by local people. What’s important is that further insulation should not be dependent on a third runway.”

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/heathrow-fulfils-schools-promise—9088731

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See earlier:

Adobe earth houses in school playground give pupils refuge from Heathrow noise

Pupils at the Hounslow Heath Infant school ( children aged 3 –  7) just under a Heathrow flight path, have very loud and intrusive aircraft noise from the planes flying some 180 metres approx overhead. The problem is so bad that BAA (as it was) paid for the construction of some adobe structures in the playground, so the children can spend at least part of their time outdoors in places where they can hear each other speak. At some times of day, there is aircraft noise for 25 seconds out of every 90 seconds. Classes of up to 30 children can be seated inside the main dome, and inside the noise is reduced by some 17 decibels. Outdoor learning is valued by teachers and is also a statutory part of the national curriculum. The headteacher said the adobe structures are important as refuges because  “When kids are playing they are also developing their language skills, and in the playground again they’re being interrupted.” Schools should not be located under flight paths where planes are low.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1993

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Heathrow pays £1.8m for noise-reducing adobe huts in playgrounds of 21 schools under its flightpaths

It was reported in April 2013 that four adobe domes had been put  up in the grounds of Hounslow Primary school, which is under the southern runway at  Heathrow, in order to enable the children to use the playground despite the plane noise. Now Heathrow says it will spend £1.8 million to extend the scheme to 21 schools that are badly affected by aircraft noise. Heathrow is desperate to try and persuade London residents that aircraft noise is being dealt with, and a 3rd runway will not cause intolerable noise to those overflown. The 21 schools, which have not been  named, will each get around £85,000 for the building of these structures. The largest can hold 30 children, and the level of noise can be 17 decibels lower than outside. Children can hear the teachers inside the domes, so teaching does not have to stop for a considerable time every 90 seconds or so, when planes go over. Children can also hear each other, and so develop their language skills. However, the domes do not solve the problem of providing ventilation and soundproofing of classrooms.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/11/18296/


Fear that ‘Heathrow noise reduces pupil learning by third’ – as Hounslow opens its Heathrow consultation

15.4.2013
The head teacher of an infant and nursery school directly under a Heathrow flight path, close to the airport in Hounslow, has been speaking of the impact of the planes on the learning of children at her school. Kathryn Harper-Quinn, who runs Hounslow Heath Infant & Nursery School said a recent study had highlighted the dramatic impact planes thundering 600-feet overhead have on children’s learning. Asked to recall factual details from an outdoor lesson, she said, a class of 7-year-olds could remember about a third less than those hearing the same lesson in a specially built noise-insulated hut. When the study was repeated with a fictional story, there was no noticeable difference in performance – a result Ms Harper-Quinn put down to pupils being able to fill in the gaps more easily.  Speaking at the official launch of Hounslow Council’s consultation on Heathrow, she claimed a 3rd runway would blight thousands more children’s education. The consultation questionnaire contains 11 questions, and the deadline for responses is  May 16th.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2363


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Heathrow noise ‘hinders pupils’ reading progress’ – would only worsen with more runways and fights

March 28, 2013

Children living under the Heathrow flight path are suffering two-month lags in their reading development as a result of aircraft noise. Hounslow council says pupils in the borough have to put up with “continual disruption”, and warned the problem will worsen if the airport expands to three or more runways. Around 40 schools are directly under the Heathrow flight paths with planes landing every 90 seconds or so much of the day. The council cites an international study by London University into aircraft noise which found it led to a “significant impairment” in reading development, as well as affecting long-term memory and motivation. As well as a 2-month delay in reading, the children’s education is suffering from the continual disruption from low-flying jets. If schools don’t have triple glazing the interruptions to lessons can be relentless. One school near the airport has had shelters installed in the playground so children can escape the noise. A 2010 ECRD study suggested that chronic aircraft noise has a deleterious effect on memory, sustained attention, reading comprehension and reading ability.

Click here to view full story…

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Newham Council lacks the bravery of Boris to turn down unsuitable developments like City Airport expansion

On Saturday 25th April there was a local celebration party for people living in the Royal Docks area, close to London City Airport.  They held their party to celebrate the fact that the London Mayor Boris Johnson had overturned Newham Council’s decision to grant permission for London City airport to expand.  Local children have formed a lively choir, and they entertained the assembled guests. People who suffer from the noise from the airport are delighted that Boris has helped them, and opposed the airport’s environmentally-destructive plans that have been backed by the (Labour) Newham council.  Though Newham argues that the airport would bring jobs for local people and local economic benefits, it actually provides little of either.  No more than about 500 Newham residents are employed directly by the airport. The business passengers don’t linger round the airport, but head off to business meetings in the City or the West End.  It was clear at Saturday’s event that the local community regards the airport on their doorstep not as a benefit but as problem which brings noise, air pollution and blight.  They feel they might be better off with something else there.  Compared to the nearby Excel Centre it provides far fewer jobs or wider economic benefit.
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On Saturday 25th April, local residents held a party to celebrate Boris’s decision to overrule Newham Council’s decision to grant London City Airport permission to expand.  The airport wanted to create more taxiway space to it could bring in larger planes as well as double the size of its terminal and build more car parking spaces.  To the delight of residents, Boris turned it down on noise grounds.  The airport can still appeal to the Secretary of State.Local residents around the airport – living in one of the poorest areas in London – had gone door to door to collect thousands of signatures opposing expansion.

They were backed by people under the flight paths, some of whom live many miles from the airport.  The campaign was coordinated by Momentum, a local community campaign, and HACAN East.  Alan Haughton, from Stop City Airport, had also put in a huge amount of work.

 

 

Newham Council lacks the bravery of Boris to turn down unsuitable developments like City Airport expansion

by John Stewart

Yesterday I had a great time with the local people who live in the Royal Docks close to London City Airport.  We were having a little ‘do’ to celebrate the fact that the London Mayor Boris Johnson had overturned Newham Council’s decision to grant permission for the airport to expand.

As I watched the children playing and the local choir singing, I couldn’t help reflect on the odd situation:  a Conservative Mayor had helped this community – not natural Tory voters I suspect – to defeat the airport’s environmentally-destructive plans backed by a Labour council, the party which has traditionally supported low-income communities

London City children  25.4.2015

Now Newham will argue that the airport brings jobs for local people as well as local economic benefits.  In fact, it provides little of either.  No more than about 500 Newham residents are employed directly by the airport and few of the business people – the market the airport largely serves – stop off for a ‘Big Breakfast’ at the local cafes as their cab speeds them to their meeting in the City or the West End.

 It was clear at Saturday’s event that the local community regards the airport on their doorstep not as a benefit but as problem which brings noise, air pollution and blight.  They feel they would be better off with something else there.  And, indeed, that would make economic sense. City Airport contributes £750 million each year to the UK economy.  The nearby Excel Centre, which occupies roughly the same amount of space as the airport, contributes £1.3 billion.  The airport employs the equivalent of 1,900 full-time jobs.  The proposed Silvertown Quays development, just along the road, estimates it will employ 9,000.

singing at London city

Newham Council lacks the imagination or the bravery to consider an alternative to the airport.  No one questions its sincerity in wanting to bring work to the borough.  But the way it has gone about it has blighted the lives of so many of its residents.  And of those living in adjoining boroughs.   Newham has championed City Airport since its inception in the 1980s, backed the destructive M11 Link Road in the 1990s and allowed Westfield Shopping Centre, to provide 5,000 car parking spaces in the noughties.

And with little effect.  In 2000 Newham  ranked as the 5th most deprived borough in the country; in 2004, the 6th; in 2007, it slipped to the 2nd most deprived; rising to 8th in 2011.

Its policies have not brought the dreamed-of prosperity.  What they have brought, though, is blight to so many people’s lives, whether it’s the noise and pollution from the airport or the roar of traffic on the M11.

I wrote in my book Why Noise Matters, published by Earthscan in 2011, “The high noise levels in many poor areas are caused, at least in part, by the activities of much wealthier people.  Poor people have no cars to drive on the roaring new motorways which cut an ugly swathe through their fragile communities.  The congestion on the city streets is not of their making.  The flash new airports are not for them.  They are the victims of other people’s lifestyles”. I was writing about the emerging economies of the world.  I could have been writing about Newham.  Only a tiny proportion of the borough’s residents have ever used the airport.

Newham needs to get smart about development.  The other political parties which opposed the expansion – the Conservatives, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats – as well as other Labour councils are not against development.  They have simply got the self-confidence to say no to proposals, like the expansion of City Airport, which blight people’s lives.

In the 17th century the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns started his poem To a Mouse with these words, “wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie”.   He could have been describing Newham Council under Robin Wales, its mayor for the last 20 years, who hails from the same part of Scotland as Burns.  Newham has been so ‘tim’rous and fearful that it won’t get jobs and prosperity that it has grasped at any development however environmentally destructive it might be.

Perhaps Labour in Newham needs recapture the Victorian values the labour movement had in its early days when it regarded an improved environment as important as raising the wages of the working-class or extending the right to vote.  There was no division between environment, employment and democracy.

Unless and until it does, it is Boris, not Robin Wales, who will be the toast of the people’s party in the Royal Docks.

http://www.hacaneast.org.uk/2015/04/newham-council-lacks-the-bravery-of-boris-to-turn-down-unsuitable-developments-like-expansion-at-city-airport/

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See also:

 

Campaigners at London City Airport demand true noise measurement – combining Heathrow + London City flight noise

Campaigners at London City Airport are calling for a change in the way aircraft noise is measured, and more needs to be done to protect people living under noisy flight paths. The group’s chair, John Stewart, says the problem is partly down to a lack of measurement of the cumulative noise produced by flight paths from several airports (Heathrow and London City here) which both affect one area. He believes separate measurements of just each airport’s noise fail to give a true picture of the impact on residents, resulting in official statistics that underestimate aircraft noise levels. Both need to be combined in order to get a figure for the total noise in order to get an accurate assessment of the real noise levels experienced by residents. John said: “In the areas of east and south east London, where people get planes from both London City and Heathrow, noise levels will be a lot higher than official statistics show.” The concerns remain despite mayor of London Boris Johnson’s blocking of London City Airport’s proposed expansion. HACAN East says the Greater London Assembly backed cumulative noise readings, from both airports combined, two years ago, and that the airport should recognise this. It suits the aviation industry to deliberately keep the noise figures separate.

Click here to view full story…

Boris turns down London City Airport expansion plans on noise grounds

Boris Johnstone, 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.

Click here to view full story…

City Airport wants to press ahead with controversial flight changes despite only 3% support in recent consultation

London City Airport wants to press ahead with controversial plans to concentrate flight paths despite only 3% of people backing them in the recent consultation. Its consultation ended in November 2014, and the airport produced a report report on the consultation on 13th February. The report now goes to the CAA for approval. London City Airport’s consultation was widely criticized in 2014. The airport had refused to leaflet or hold meetings in the areas that would be worst affected by the new concentrated flight paths. It justified its minimal consultation on the grounds that the changes it was proposing were not significant. Despite criticism from MPs, local authorities, residents’ groups and members of the Greater London Authority, London City has defended its consultation in its report to the CAA. It is also refusing to withdraw or modify its original plans. Residents’ organisation HACAN East, which coordinated much of the opposition to the changes, believes the airport has been typically arrogant and unresponsive – and not given any consideration to the possibility of respite for various areas, at different times of day. London City Airport expresses very little concern for its neighbouring communities. HACAN East say the fight by residents will continue, and they will be pressing the CAA to order the airport to carry out a fresh consultation.

Click here to view full story…

London City Airport expansion plan gets go-ahead but campaigners say it will create ‘noise ghettos and misery’

Newham Council has granted planning approval London City Airport’s plans for an extended terminal, a new taxi-way and additional parking stands for larger aircraft. A new six-storey four-star hotel with up to 260 bedrooms will also be built on site. The expansion will increase the number of take-offs and landings at the airport from 70,000 a year to 111,000 and will almost double the number of passengers to 6 million a year by 2023. The number of aircraft stands will increase from 18 to 25, and the newer, larger planes they will accommodate will expand the airport’s reach from destinations in western Europe to Russia and North Africa. It has been described as a boost for London’s aviation capacity, while the arguments for and against a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick (or neither) continue. There are claims for a large number of jobs, and Newham believes many will be for their residents – and there are claims of huge economic benefit for the local and UK economy. The expansion involves the tripling of the size of the terminal to 51,800 ft square and will see the number of flights increase from 38 to 45 during peak morning and evening rush hour times. Building work, subject to final planning approval being given by Boris, is expected to start by the end of 2015, with the first new aircraft seen on the runway in 2016.

Click here to view full story…

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Crispin Blunt, Kwasi Kwarteng and Sam Gyimah send open letter to Gatwick Chairman blasting Gatwick 400,000 Heathrow leaflets stunt

Crispin Blunt, Kwasi Kwarteng and Sam Gyimah (all Surrey MPs in the Coalition government and Conservative candidates) have written to Gatwick Airport Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, to complain about Gatwick’s leafletting of the Heathrow area. Gatwick has sent out provocative leaflets to some 400,000 households in constituencies around Heathrow, pushing the case for a Gatwick runway. It is doing this at the same time as failing to engage with local communities around its own airport. Gatwick is trying to frighten residents around Heathrow, about the appalling noise and other environmental and economic impacts of a 3rd Heathrow runway. Instead it pushes Gatwick’s negative and unbalanced campaign for its runway. The MPs say Gatwick’s actions demonstrate “an astonishing disregard for the concerns of families and communities around Gatwick, about whom you should have most concern.” They say: “Instead of frightening the communities around your competitor, you should focus on engaging with the communities that surround your airport.” “If Mr Wingate or his team had taken the time to adequately consult with his local communities …[Gatwick would know] … there are wide ranging concerns about the huge strain Gatwick expansion would place on local transport infrastructure, housing, schools and healthcare.”
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Crispin Blunt signs open letter to Gatwick Chairman blasting Gatwick leaflet stunt

 21.4.2015 (Crispin Blunt – MP for Reigate in the Coalition government)

Crispin Blunt has co-signed an open letter to Gatwick Airport Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, following revelations that Gatwick Airport is sending provocative leaflets to 400,000 households in constituencies around Heathrow.

Whilst Gatwick is failing to engage with local communities around its own airport, with this leaflet, they are seeking to frighten residents around Heathrow. It ignores the considerable local and national benefits of Heathrow expansion and escalates Gatwick’s negative and unbalanced campaign against Heathrow.

Below is the letter co-signed by Crispin Blunt, Conservative candidate for Reigate, Kwasi Kwarteng, Conservative candidate for Spelthorne, and Sam Gyimah, Conservative candidate for East Surrey:

The Letter:

Sir Roy McNulty, Chairman, Gatwick Airport

Dear Sir Roy,

On behalf of constituents in communities around both Heathrow and Gatwick – residents we hope to continue to represent if re-elected – we are deeply concerned about the scare tactics being deployed by your Chief Executive, on behalf of Gatwick airport, as the debate on airport capacity draws to a conclusion.

The mass mail you have sanctioned, targeting 400,000 leaflets to residents around Heathrow – west London, Surrey and Berkshire – demonstrates an astonishing disregard for the concerns of families and communities around Gatwick, about whom you should have most concern.

It is unacceptable that you continue to ignore your own communities, those who will be most affected by the considerable impact of expansion at Gatwick, and to suggest that ‘Gatwick sounds better’. It doesn’t, and if Mr Wingate or his team had taken the time to adequately consult with his local communities he would know this. You would also know there are wide ranging concerns about the huge strain Gatwick expansion would place on local transport infrastructure, housing, schools and healthcare. Local groups, such as CAGNE and GACC, continue to raise concerns – which have been ignored – about the devastating impact of an expanded Gatwick leaving little local authority or local political support for your plans.

In addition, taking this approach during the election campaign is a blatant attempt to capitalise on outdated views of the political landscape around Heathrow, where expansion is supported by more than 50% of local people polled, precisely because of the employment (40,000 local jobs, 10,000 apprentices) and other benefits that will follow.

Airport expansion, wherever it may be, will require careful and considered planning to ensure that the whole country benefits and that local communities are protected. Your proposals deliver neither.

Instead of spending resources on leafleting households around Heathrow you should be looking after your own neighbours, by concentrating resources on mitigating the impact of P-RNAV and sorting out the altered Gatwick departure flight paths, which are causing an explosion of complaints from residents newly affected by noise.

Instead of frightening the communities around your competitor, you should focus on engaging with the communities that surround your airport.

Yours sincerely,

Kwasi Kwarteng
Conservative candidate for Spelthorne

Sam Gyimah
Conservative candidate for East Surrey

Crispin Blunt
Conservative candidate for Reigate

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http://www.blunt4reigate.com/news/crispin-blunt-signs-open-letter-gatwick-chairman-blasting-gatwick-leaflet-stunt

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Earlier:

Gatwick distributes 400,000 flyers around west London warning of Heathrow noise (to get backing for Gatwick runway)

As Gatwick has difficulty getting much local support for its runway plans (almost all local councils and local MPs oppose it) this week the airport is distributing 400,000 flyers to homes across west London. Uxbridge and South Ruislip in particular are being targeted, (86,000 leaflets) warning about the increased noise there would be from a Heathrow 3rd runway.  Gatwick has focused its attention on negative campaigning about Heathrow, though Heathrow has not – publicly – being doing the equivalent on Gatwick. Gatwick is not revealing the cost of their 400,000 leaflet effort. As the local residents do not have the ability to choose whether a runway is built, the aim is to influence local politicians. Gatwick claims that 683,000 people and 362 schools would be impacted by noise if a 3rd Heathrow runway was built, while only 36,000 people and 15 schools by a Gatwick runway. In the 55 Lden contour. (Clever of them, as the flight paths are not yet know …. nobody knows the numbers). Heathrow and Gatwick are arguing over the figures. Gatwick appears to discount the impact of increased noise from its own planned runway. This has infuriated local residents in the Gatwick area. Gatwick’s ploy of leafleting people near Heathrow, who are rightly frightened at the prospect of a 3rd runway – playing on their fears – has further increased local opposition.

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Candidates Oppose Gatwick 2nd Runway

26.4.2015  (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

All eleven Conservative Parliamentary candidates in the seats around Gatwick oppose a second runway.  So do all Green Party candidates.  So do all UKIP candidates.

Almost all Lib Dem candidates oppose a new runway, the odd ones out being the candidates for Crawley and Horsham.  The Labour candidates are about equally divided, half for and half against.

GACC members carried out a survey of parliamentary candidates with many of them signing a pledge to oppose a new runway due to increase in aircraft noise, worsened environment and lack of infrastructure such as roads, rail, schools and hospitals.

At the national level both the Labour and Conservative manifestos say in effect that they will wait for the recommendations of the Airports Commission (expected June/July).  If all the Conservative candidates were to be re-elected the bloc of eleven votes in a hung Parliament might perhaps just be sufficient to stop the runway.

The Green Party candidates are in line with their national manifesto which opposes any new runway, mainly on climate change grounds.

The UKIP manifesto opposes any new runway but supports instead greater use of Manston.

At the Lib Dem conference last year a resolution supporting a Gatwick runway was overwhelmingly defeated, and their manifesto reflects this policy but leaves a little wriggle room if the Airports Commission comes up with compelling arguments.

The constituencies included in the survey were Crawley, Horsham, Arundel and South Downs, Mole Valley, Reigate, East Surrey, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Mid Sussex, and Wealden.   Not all candidates could be contacted but the summary above gives an accurate reflection of the majority views.

 

www.gacc.org.uk

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Stop Stansted Expansion calls for cross-party support at the election, to end night flights

Ahead of the general election and local council elections on 7th May, SSE is calling upon all local candidates to support a ban on night flights at Stansted. Stansted currently has permission to operate 12,000 night flights a year, between 11.30pm – 6am, more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow. [Heathrow is restricted to 5,800 night take-offs & landings /year between 11.30pm- 6am]. SSE has long argued to the Government that night flights have a far greater impact on local residents around Stansted because of its rural location where background noise levels are generally very low. The number of Stansted night flights has significantly increased over the past year, and this is believed to be largely due to the closure of Manston Airport and transfer of its cargo flights.  SSE says “night” should not only be a 6½ hour period, but should be the 8 hours between 11.00pm to 7.00am, to give people a proper night’s rest. There are no restrictions on the number of aircraft permitted to take-off and land at Stansted during the so-called shoulder periods between 11.00pm and 11.30pm and between 6.00am and 7.00am. SSE is inviting politicians of all parties to support a timetable to progressively phase out nights flight
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Stop Stansted Expansion calls for cross-party support to end night flights

25.4.2015 (SSE)

Ahead of the general election and local council elections to be held on 7 May, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is calling upon all local candidates to support a ban on night flights at Stansted.

Stansted currently has permission to operate 12,000 night flights a year, more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow. SSE has long argued to the Government that night flights have a far greater impact on local residents around Stansted because of its rural location where background noise levels are generally very low.

The number of night flights at Stansted has significantly increased over the past year, and this is believed to be largely due to the closure of Manston Airport. This led to Manston’s remaining cargo airlines transferring to Stansted. Whilst at Manston, these aircraft were subject to a ban on night flights, imposed by the local council. However, there is no such ban at Stansted.

SSE also wants all politicians to recognise that the 12,000 limit only applies to the 6½ hour period between 11.30pm and 6.00am whereas the normal definition of ‘night’ is the 8-hours between 11.00pm to 7.00am. There are no restrictions on the number of aircraft permitted to take-off and land at Stansted during the so-called shoulder periods between 11.00pm and 11.30pm and between 6.00am and 7.00am.

SSE has long argued that those living in the vicinity of Stansted and/or under its flight paths should have the right to an uninterrupted night’s sleep, which should mean a full 8 hours and not just the 6½ hours covered by the current restrictions on night flights.

Martin Peachey, SSE’s noise adviser, commented: “Politicians of all persuasions appear sympathetic to ways of reducing the effects of sleep disturbance and adverse health impacts caused by night flights for residents around airports. With the approaching general election and local council elections, we invite politicians of all parties to support a timetable to progressively phase out nights flights”.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS
Further background is contained in SSE’s submission on night flights to the Government in January 2014 – see http://stopstanstedexpansion.com/press473.html

FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT

SSE Campaign Office,

01279 870558

info@stopstanstedexpansion.com

www.stopstanstedexpansion.com

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Earlier:

Restrictions on UK ‘night flights’ at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted extended until 2017

In the Government’s response to the Airports Commission’s December 2013 interim report, Patrick McLoughlin announced that plans to more than double the number of ‘night flights’ at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports have been postponed until 2017. Under proposals outlined in the Commission’s interim report the number of planes allowed to land at the airport before 6am each day would have increased from 16 to 35 from 2015. The government now says it wants to ensure “regulatory stability” at south east airports while the Commission makes its final recommendations on which airport should be recommended to be allowed to build a new runway. The government is also extending the ban on “rare movements made by older noisier types of aircraft.” McLoughlin said: “This decision will help give certainty around the night noise environment for those living near the airports, as well as ensuring operational capacity at these airports is not affected pending decisions on any new airport capacity in light of the commission’s final report.” The government has also postponed the Commission’s recommendation for an Independent Aviation Noise Authority.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/07/restrictions-on-uk-night-flights-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-extended-until-2017/

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Knutsford Council urged to lobby Manchester airport over possible increase in night flights

[Manchester Airports Group owns both Manchester and Stansted airports]

Councillors in Knutsford are planning to lobby Manchester Airport on concerns about more night flights over the town. Knutsford is only a few kilometres from the end of the runway. Map. A Knutsford councillor, who is on the airport’s community relations team, was informed by the airport’s management that Terminal 2 is set to double in size, with plans for more night flights to cope with increased traffic. This will affect Knutsford. Currently, an agreement curtails night flights – take offs and landings – but circumstances will change with both the expansion and the ending of the current arrangements in 2017. The council need to lobby on details of the timing of those night flights. The airport statement gave the usual bland assurances about “improving the passenger and airline experience” and having controls on night noise that are “amongst the toughest in the UK ” and balancing the “interests of our local communities and the demand from our passengers to fly.” Sadly, the benefit tot he airlines and passengers generally trumps the interests of the residents. Manchester Airport allows a large number of night flights already – with a limit of around 11,000 per year (7% of the total flights). That can work out to more than 45 per night, in the period from 23:30 to 06.00.

Click here to view full story…

Full details of extent of Heathrow night flight plans ‘dug up’ by Leader of Wandsworth Council

February 13, 2014
The full extent of the Government’s plans to increase night flights into Heathrow has been “dug up” by anti-noise campaigners in the technical appendix of an Airports Commission’s interim report. The report was publicised on 17th December. The appendix shows that the number of planes allowed to land at Heathrow before 6am will increase from 16 to 35 from next year. Leader of the anti-Heathrow nights flights opposition, Ravi Govindia (also Leader of Wandsworth Council) said: “We shouldn’t have to dig deep into a technical document to find out what is in store for us.” Heathrow wants the amount of “stacking” to be reduced before the morning rush-hour. They say residents would be given “respite” from the noise, by having more in alternate weeks, followed by a week without planes. Mr Govindia, who is also the leader of the 2M group of 20 councils opposed to expansion of Heathrow, said people on the final approach flight paths into Heathrow were “deeply opposed” to the early-morning arrivals, which affect their sleep and are linked to serious health issues. The Airports Commission said: “We have recommended a trial of early-morning smoothing. A trial provides the opportunity for communities around Heathrow to experience and comment on the impacts.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/02/full-details-of-extent-of-heathrow-night-flight-plans-dug-up-by-leader-of-wandsworth-council/

Frankfurt night flight ban between 11pm and 5am upheld by higher court

April 6, 2012

A German court on Wednesday ruled in favor of a night flight ban at Frankfurt airport, Europe’s third busiest, dealing a blow to German flagship airline Lufthansa and airport operator Fraport. Lufthansa says it needs Frankfurt night flights so its cargo operations can compete with fast-growing Gulf airports and it will be hit financially if there is a ban. In 2009 the local government said it would allow 17 flights between 11 pm and 5am from the end of October 2011 on economic grounds. Then residents under the flight paths took the case to court. Their complaint was upheld in October by a local court just before the opening of the 4th runway. Now a judge at a higher court in Leipzig confirmed the ban and said the federal state of Hesse must make a new decision on whether to allow night flights. Along with a total ban from 11 pm to 5 am, the Leipzig court also reduced the number of flights permitted in the period covering the so-called shoulder hours from 10 pm to 6 am to 133 from 150. This will have implications for other European airports like Paris Charles de Gaulle and Heathrow.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/04/frankfurt-night-fliights/

 

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