Armelle Thomas, wife of a 93-year-old WW2 veteran and Harmondsworth resident, is “incensed” after a Heathrow letter was delivered to her door 90 minutes after the Airport Commission’s recommendation. The letter was a reminder about the compulsory purchase order on her home – just 90 minutes after the Davies recommendation for a 3rd Heathrow (destroying most of Harmondsworth) was announced. The couple face their home being bulldozed if the north-west runway goes ahead. Arnelle says there is “no way” they’d consider leaving the village her husband “fell in love with” when he first moved there in 1964. She was shocked that Heathrow had those letters out within just 90 minutes of the announcement. Armelle said: “If they actually try to bulldoze, my husband – who by then will be 97 – will be standing outside and we’ll see what happens. We have no intention of moving. My husband has the right to die in this house and I promised him as much.” A promise made is a promise kept.” Tommy fought in World War 2 with distinction, and now in his twilight years, he is going to be turned out of his home. This plays on his mind all the time, and the stress is not helping his health. All Heathrow is offering is 125% of the price of the homes to be demolished. Their house prices have been blighted for years by Heathrow.
Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell says the Davies Commission has “absolutely failed” to take account of the “heartbreak” caused by its recommendations.
He said: “So many local families are now in the appalling situation of facing the loss of their homes and community.
“Teachers and children at our village primary schools are at risk of losing their jobs and their school places. The threat of this upheaval is devastating.”
Mr McDonnell has convened a public meeting for residents at 7.30pm on Thursday (July 9) at Heathrow Primary School, Sipson.
Elderly couple vow to fight Heathrow third runway which would see their home bulldozed
9.7.2015 (Get West London)
By KATHERINE CLEMENTINE
Armelle Thomas, wife of a 93-year-old WW2 veteran, is “incensed” after a Heathrow letter was delivered to her door 90 minutes after the Airport Commission’s recommendation
Mrs Thomas with the letter delivered 90 minutes after the Davies recommendation, and her husband’s war medals
A Harmondsworth resident was “incensed” after receiving a letter reminding her of a compulsory purchase order on her home – just 90 minutes after the Davies recommendation was announced.
Armelle Thomas, of Cambridge Close, is in a “fighting mood” after the news that the Airport Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, has recommended a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
Mrs Thomas and her husband Tommy, a 93-year old WW2 veteran, face their homes being bulldozed if the north-west runway goes ahead.
She says there is “no way” they’d consider leaving the village her husband “fell in love with” when he first moved there in 1964.
Speaking to getwestlondon, Mrs Thomas said: “It’s not so much the letter which I found shocking, it’s that they delivered it in 90 minutes to our door. The letter has probably gone worldwide now because I was so incensed it was all over the media.
“If they actually try to bulldoze, my husband – who by then will be 97 – will be standing outside and we’ll see what happens. We have no intention of moving.
“My husband has the right to die in this house and I promised him as much as I can he will die in this house. A promise made is a promise kept.”
French-born Mr Thomas volunteered at RAF Uxbridge aged 17 and renounced his dual nationality to fight for Great Britain during WWII in the 161 Special Duties Squadron based at Tempsford.
He was awarded the Légion D’honneur for courage by the French government in 1991.
Armelle with her husband Tommy, pictured in 2012
Mrs Thomas said: “It’s very easy to remember the dead but not the living. My husband is a veteran who fought for this country and now he’s going to lose his home.
“It’s on his mind all the time. He’s already had a heart attack and two strokes due to pollution, noise and stress and it’s destroying the quality of life that he deserves – there isn’t one day when we don’t mention it.”
A spokesman for Heathrow said they were pleased following the announcement by the commission, and said it was a “significant milestone” for the airport.
He added that the report recognises the benefits such as 80,000 new jobs as well as the downsides.
Matt Gorman, sustainability and environment director, said: “The point of writing [the letter] was to acknowledge the uncertainty around the announcement and reassure residents potentially directly impacted that we will stay in touch – as we have done throughout this process.
“For those living close to the area who face losing their homes, we take this very seriously and have offered a very generous compensation package.
“We have offered to buy properties at 25% above market value and many local people have welcomed this.”
But Mrs Thomas says Heathrow’s claim is “rubbish” with each house being independently assessed and feels the people of Harmondsworth have been blighted by noise and pollution.
She said: “We’ve never gained from the market because we’ve always been blighted and that’s never been recognised by Heathrow Airport. So when they say that they’ve been very generous it is a lie.”
In the letter to residents losing their home, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye, said: “The Government must now decide whether to act on this recommendation, and give policy support for a new runway to the north-west of Heathrow.
“Heathrow would then have to apply for and obtain planning consent before any new runway could be built.”
John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said: “It was very insensitive to send letters to residents within hours of the recommendation. Particularly when the Government has still to make a final decision.”
Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell says the Davies Commission has “absolutely failed” to take account of the “heartbreak” caused by its recommendations.
He said: “So many local families are now in the appalling situation of facing the loss of their homes and community.
“Teachers and children at our village primary schools are at risk of losing their jobs and their school places. The threat of this upheaval is devastating.”
Mr McDonnell has convened a public meeting for residents at 7.30pm on Thursday (July 9) at Heathrow Primary School, Sipson.
Expansion plans have been unveiled for Leeds Bradford Airport to enable it to bring in double the amount of passengers over the next 15 years. The proposals would see Leeds Council releasing 36.2 hectares of greenbelt land in and near to the airport. It would be used to increase the passenger terminal building and develop an airport village, including a hotel, restaurant and shops. The plans would also result in new flight destinations being introduced. Leeds Bradford airport currently handles around 3.3 million passengers per year but its forecasts show a potential to increase that to 7.1 million by 2030. The plans include an air innovation park to attract research and development companies and an air freight park for improved cargo handling. Leeds Council said releasing the council-owned land would help businesses grow and bring in new jobs and skills. Better transport connections including a new link road are also being looked at. The proposals were discussed at a meeting of the council’s executive board on 15 July. They will go out to public consultation later in the year. The airport was bought from local councils in 2007 for £145.5 million. Although Bridgepoint Capital own the airport 100% financially, the councils hold a “special share” in the airport, to protect its name and continued operation as an air transport gateway for the Yorkshire region.
Leeds City Council Executive Board discussed measures to support growth of Leeds Bradford Airport – allocating 36.2 hectares of greenbelt land adjacent to the airport for commercial development (shops, hotel, restaurant, freight park) and increasing capacity aiming to double passenger numbers to 7.1 million by 2030.
There was a small protest outside Leeds Civic Hall with banner etc.
Land release plan to aid Leeds Bradford Airport gets green light amid protest
16.7.2015 (Yorkshire Evening Post)
Proposals to aid the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport have been given the backing of Leeds City Council leaders despite opposition from local campaigners.
Around a dozen protestors and north Leeds residents from the Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement voiced their concerns over the council’s plans to release 36.2 hectares of land in and around the airport’s Yeadon site to support its growth.
Placards stating ‘Save Greenbelt, No Airport Growth’ were waved outside Leeds Civic Hall before councillors backed the land release today.
It is thought that the land could be used to expand the terminal, develop possible new transport links and create an “airport village” boasting a hotel, restaurants and shops.
Coun Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for transport, said: “We’ve made a huge commitment as a council to the expansion of the airport, it’s now the job of the airport to realise quite the commitment we’ve made and act in support.”
He said allocating the land for future development will “bolster the airport’s continued success” and ensure a major employment site in north west Leeds continues to thrive.
Coun Andrew Carter, Conservative leader, backed the idea but sought reassurance on the level of contact with residents over future plans. He said: “We are all aware improved access is imperative but there needs to be thorough consultation.”
Council leader Coun Judith Blake, said connectivity is “absolutely key”, though it is thought a link road is years away.
Leeds raked in nearly £60million from the £145m sale of the airport to private firm Bridgepoint in 2007. It aims to host 7.1m passengers a year by 2030.
Expansion plan unveiled for Leeds Bradford Airport
Better transport links to the airport are being looked at as part of the plans Expansion plans have been unveiled for Leeds Bradford Airport to enable it to bring in double the amount of passengers over the next 15 years.
The proposals would see Leeds Council releasing 36.2 hectares of greenbelt land in and near to the airport.
It would be used to increase the passenger terminal building and develop an airport village, including a hotel, restaurant and shops.
The plans would also result in new flight destinations being introduced.
Bring new jobs
The airport, in Yeadon, is currently used by 3.3m passengers a year but forecasts show a potential to increase that to 7.1m by 2030.
The council said the airport needed to expand in order to accommodate the predicted rise.
Also included in the expansion plan is an air innovation park to attract research and development companies and an air freight park for improved cargo handling.
The authority said releasing the council-owned land would help businesses grow and bring in new jobs and skills.
Better transport connections including a new link road are also being looked at.
The proposals will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s executive board on 15 July.
If approved, they will go out to public consultation later in the year.
Here is the full proposal for the land allocation for Leeds Bradford Airport, a mini aerotropolis ‘airport village’ with the typical commercial development – shops, hotels, restaurant, freight park etc – on 36.2 hectares of greenbelt land.
“Conclusion 5.1. The 36.23ha of General Employment land in the employment hub is necessary to meet the district wide need of 493ha. It is considered that the City Council should be supportive of the employment hub in order to boost the economic offer of the city and region, attracting new inward investment. But this is providing that the land release is carefully controlled to ensure that the employment hub is brought forward for the intended purpose of general employment land as part of a comprehensive strategy for airport growth. Therefore, Members are urged to support the allocation of 36.23ha of land with Policy EG3 which sets a requirement for a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to be prepared which will control the delivery and phased release of employment land in tandem with Airport growth and provision of transport and other infrastructure. The SPD preparation will seek involvement of LBIA, landowners and other relevant interests. The SPD will safeguard the employment land for general employment and ancillary uses rather than commercial airport services such as car parking, hotels and food and drink outlets.”
The owner of the airport is Bridgepoint Capital and the operator is Leeds Bradford International Airport Limited.
Leeds and Bradford councils jointly bought the airport site at Yeadon in 1930, which opened as Yeadon Aerodrome in 1931. The airport became a limited company in 1987, and was shared between the five surrounding boroughs of Leeds (40%), Bradford (40%) and Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees (together sharing the remaining 20%).
In October 2006 plans to privatise the airport were confirmed when Bradford Council became the last of the five controlling councils to agree to sell off the airport to the private sector. On 4 April 2007 the five controlling councils announced that Bridgepoint Capital had been selected as the preferred bidder. On 3 May 2007 Bridgepoint was confirmed as the buyer.
On 4 May 2007 Bridgepoint Capital acquired the airport from Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees councils for £145.5 million. Although Bridgepoint Capital own the airport 100% financially, the councils hold a “special share” in the airport, to protect its name and continued operation as an air transport gateway for the Yorkshire region. The new owners said they were to implement a £70 million capital expenditure plan, to focus on improving passenger and retail infrastructure in order to increase passenger capacity to 7 million per annum by 2015.
In 2004 the airport published a master plan in line with government recommendations. The master plan set out the following proposals for future development:
Expansion of the terminal buildings, with new gates added including airbridge boarding tunnels.
New aircraft parking areas (there are currently 24 stands, this would increase to 31).
A change to the runway configuration (part of which has already been carried out). This includes building a taxiway parallel to the main runway. This would allow aircraft movements to increase from 26 to 34 per hour.
New airfield equipment and buildings (including aircraft hangars, new flight catering facilities and a new fuel farm).
Hotel and office space (the first phase of which is now complete).
A new link road from the A65, to the airport and then to the A658.
The master plan sets out the stages of development for Leeds Bradford Airport over the next 10 years and outlines general proposals for the period from 2016 to 2030. It is estimated that by 2016 the airport will handle in excess of 5.1 million passengers per year as well as seeing a significant increase in freight traffic. Both Flybe and Ryanair have expressed an interest in expanding their routes at the airport, with Ryanair announcing intentions to base aircraft there. By 2010 Ryanair had made good this pledge and hadBoeing 737-800 aircraft based at the airport operating new routes.
Bridgepoint Capital and Leeds City Council hope that by redeveloping the airport, it will attract even more companies, jobs and people to the area which already has a population of 2.9 million.
Bridgepoint Capital development plan of 2008
On 5 November 2008, Bridgepoint Capital announced their £28 million plans to redevelop the airport terminal. Planning permission was submitted to Leeds City Council in late November 2008. The plans involve building in front of the current terminal building, effectively turning the current crescent-shaped building into a semicircle. As the current terminal buildings are the product of 40 years of extensions, there is no continuity to the layout and the buildings can become very congested. The extension would be set over two stories and would facilitate new departure and arrival facilities. The ground floor will house new check-in halls, while on the first floor there will be a large departure lounge, featuring a glass roof. Both arrival and departure facilities will benefit from new retail facilities as the management claimed that current facilities were ‘inadequate and unenticing’. It is estimated that with the completion of the airport extension and the forecast new flights, an extra 2,000 jobs will be generated at the airport. Since 2008 the redevelopment plans have remained largely unchanged, however the proposed external appearance of the building has changed, being clad in black instead of the white cladding that had initially been proposed.
Campaigners against expansion of Heathrow are calling for a judicial review of the Airports Commission’s decision to back a 3rd runway. The Teddington Action Group argues that there was a potential conflict of interest over Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies accepting the chairmanship of Royal Bank of Scotland, banker for companies that own Heathrow and Gatwick, and that the Commission’s 3 week May consultation on air quality was “rushed and insufficiently publicised”. The Airports Commission rejected both assertions in a response from the Treasury Solicitor. But Teddington Action Group spokesman, Paul McGuinness, said: “We are advised that the Treasury Solicitor’s response, on behalf of the Airports Commission, is inadequate and that we should be able to see this Judicial Review through to a successful conclusion”. So work on this continues …
Action group calls for Airports Commission judicial review
by Phil Davies
Campaigners against expansion of Heathrow are calling for a judicial review of the Airports Commission’s decision to back a third runway at the west London hub.
The Teddington Action Group argues that there was a potential conflict of interest over Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies accepting the chairmanship of Royal Bank of Scotland, banker for companies that own Heathrow and Gatwick, and that the Commission’s May consultation on air quality was “rushed and insufficiently publicised”.
The Airports Commission rejected both assertions in a response from the Treasury Solicitor.
But Teddington Action Group spokesman, Paul McGuinness, said: “We are advised that the Treasury Solicitor’s response, on behalf of the Airports Commission, is inadequate and that we should be able to see this Judicial Review through to a successful conclusion”.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry warned that the UK could lose up to £31 billion in trade to fast-growing economies by 2030 because of the wait to build a new runway.
The cost relates to the failure to increase flights to Brazil, Russia, India and China, according to the business group, meaning the true impact on trade of delaying the expansion of the UK’s airport capacity could be far higher.
The CBI said it was crucial for work on a new runway to begin by 2020, the Times reported.
A decision from government on the Airport Commission’s recommendations is due by the end of the year.
Teddington Action Group prepare to sue Airports Commission over lack of fair consultation on air quality
June 15, 2015
The Airports Commission and the Department of Transport have been notified by Neil Spurrier and Teddington Action Group (TAG) of their intent to apply for a Judicial Review of the Commission’s work. TAG is a group of residents affected by environmental nuisance in terms of emissions and noise from Heathrow flights. They have taken advice from leading counsel, and allege that the Airports Commission’s 3 week consultation on air quality, in May, was rushed and insufficiently publicised. This meant they (and many others) did not had a fair chance to respond. The consultation document was a highly technical 200 page report, containing a large amount of technical data. TAG say the lack of proper engagement by the Commission in relation to the latest air quality consultation is unacceptable and local people should be consulted in a meaningful way on an issue that directly impacts their health and well-being. TAG say the 3 week consultation is far shorter than the Cabinet Office guidelines which recommend three months for controversial or technical consultations. The length and nature of the air quality consultation was widely criticised, as being inadequate and unfair. TAG also questions the continuation of Sir Howard Davies in the role of chair of the Commission in the light of potential conflicts of interest, as he has been appointed to RBS.
The Airports Commission, in recommending a 3rd runway at Heathrow, set out a short set of conditions Heathrow would have to meet, to be allowed to build the runway. These conditions are not very onerous. These included a ban on all flights between 11.30pm and 6.00am, better air quality, a legally-enforced “noise envelope”, and that Heathrow should be held to its pledge to spend over £1bn on community compensation. And no 4th runway ever. But now, just days after the Commission’s report, John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, says the airport is “still assessing” the conditions, and “We’ll have to see how it fits into all the other things we’re doing,” and “I’m sure there is a package in there that we can agree with our local communities, with the airlines and with Government.” Quite why conditions to be imposed on a runway to protect the public need to be agreed by the airport itself, not just imposed on it, is a mystery. Lord Adonis said the noise envelope, which the commission said might stipulate that there should be “no overall increase above current levels”, was one of the “weaknesses” of the Commission’s report. It is not even clear what it even means – “total incidence of noise, high levels of noise, noise in particular communities”. Manifestly adding another 50% more planes will increase the overall amount of noise.
These are the conditions (in brief) set by the Commission on the Heathrow 3rd runway:
– A ban on all scheduled night flights from 11.30pm to 6am. – No fourth runway – the government should make a firm commitment in parliament not to expand further. Davies states: “There is no sound operational or environmental case for a fourth runway.” – A legally binding “noise envelope”. – A noise levy on airport users to compensate local communities. – A legal commitment on air quality (details to be announced, compliant with EU limits). – A community engagement board to let local people have a say. – An independent aviation noise authority to be consulted on flightpaths and operating procedures at airports. – Training and apprenticeships for local people.
Heathrow boss: Airports Commission does not understand our environmental measures
John Holland-Kaye said the airport was “still assessing” environmental measures the commission said should be a requisite for a third runway
The boss of Heathrow has suggested the Airports Commission failed to take into account some of the steps the hub has already taken to address environmental concerns about a third runway.
Last week, the Sir Howard Davies-led commission concluded that while the “best answer” to solving Britain’s looming aviation capacity crisis is a third runway at the West London airport, it should only be built if accompanied bystrict measures on noise and air pollution.
These included a ban on all flights between 11.30pm and 6.00am, a legally-enforced “noise envelope”, and that Heathrow should be held to its pledge to spend over £1bn on community compensation.
Asked whether the airport would commit to the recommendations, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said on Monday it was “still assessing” Sir Howard’s conclusions.
“We’ll have to see how it fits into all the other things we’re doing, I’m not sure that the commission understood everything that we do today, but I’m sure there is a package in there that we can agree with our local communities, with the airlines and with Government,” he said.
Previous attempts to expand Heathrow have been scuppered by environmental concerns, particularly about the impact of air pollution and noise on communities around the airport, which Sir Howard has attempted to address with his proposals.
The commission also recommended last week that a congestion charge at Heathrow “should” be considered as part of the mitigating measures accompanying a third runway.
While Heathrow has also proposed a charge in the past, Mr Holland-Kaye, who was speaking at the Runways UK conference, all but ruled out the measure on Monday.
“It’s something we did say we may need to use in extreme circumstances, we don’t think that we’re going to need it because we are going to have enough other mitigating factors,” the airport boss said. A spokesman for the airport added that it did not “currently envision the need for a congestion charge, but there may be a case for one after 2030”.
Lord Adonis, the former transport secretary, said on Monday that the noise envelope, which the commission said might stipulate that there should be “no overall increase above current levels”, was one of the “weaknesses” of Sir Howard’s report.
“There’s a huge debate about what ‘overall increase’ means,” Lord Adonis said, adding that it could mean “total incidence of noise, high levels of noise, noise in particular communities”. He warned that it was the type of issue the Government could spend years investigating before giving the Heathrow runway the greenlight.
It came as Mr Holland-Kaye announce plans for a new “Heathrow Garden City” that would see about 9,000 homes built in Hounslow. It is understood that the development would be funded by Hounslow Council, although the masterplan has been developed in partnership with Heathrow.
The council said the plan was not dependent on a third runway and that it is “is extremely conceptual”.
Noise has driven distrust of airports, says CAA boss
A perception of “broken promises” over aircraft noise has driven the break-down of relations between Heathrow and local residents, according to Andrew Haines, the chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority.
Speaking at the Runways UK conference, Mr Haines said that Britain was behind other countries in tackling the issue.
“It could be argued that the UK historically has been far less innovative than international counterparts in developing ways to reduce aviation noise,” he said.
“We haven’t pushed the boundaries of what is possible for a whole variety of reasons, and not all of those rest with the airport or indeed the airline industry. As a consequence relations with some communities have broken down.”
He added: “There is a perception the industry has broken promises in the past.”
Airports Commission recommends a 3rd Heathrow runway, but leaving door open for Gatwick runway if Government find Heathrow too difficult to force through
The Commission has recommended the Heathrow north-west runway proposal, and is adamant that option has the most benefits for the UK. It has left the option of Gatwick open, but says the arguments are very, very much stronger for Heathrow. Having delivered its report, the Commission is now standing down.
At the RunwaysUK conference, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye spoke of his plans to create a 3-runway “aerotropolis” around the airport, with a 9,000-home Heathrow Garden City. He said: “When you are relocating hotels and offices, why not put them next to the rail interchange, so that we can have fewer cars on the road — an aerotropolis, if you like …. If you are re-landscaping the airport boundary, why not link up the open spaces to create a green ribbon round the airport, with better local amenities …. and …. improve local flood defences? Why not improve the local road network and cycle paths?” He said west London needs regeneration just as much as east London, and the airport would do that. The development is understood to be planned for the Hounslow area. Heathrow hopes to get public transport up by over 10% in 4 years, to try and get the air pollution problem down low enough to be allowed a runway. And then: “We should get shovels in the ground by 2020 and the benefits of an expanded Heathrow in 2025.” Work was starting on gaining the planning consents needed for the development. Holland-Kaye said the airport may not agree to all the conditions for expansion proposed by the Airports Commission, but believes “an agreement could be struck on them.”
Heathrow plans for 9,000-home new garden city
By Nicholas Cecil
6.7.2015 (Evening Standard)
Heathrow chiefs today unveiled plans to create a three-runway “aerotropolis” in west London with a 9,000-home new garden city.
In his first speech since the Airports Commission recommended a new runway at Heathrow, the airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye told how it would be reshaped to better fit into the local environment and economy.
“When you are relocating hotels and offices, why not put them next to the rail interchange, so that we can have fewer cars on the road — an aerotropolis, if you like,” he told a Runways UK conference in central London.
“If you are re-landscaping the airport boundary, why not link up the open spaces to create a green ribbon round the airport, with better local amenities. And while you are at it, why not improve local flood defences? Why not improve the local road network and cycle paths?”
The Heathrow boss stressed that west London needs regeneration just as much as the east of the city.
“Our neighbours in Southall and Feltham are aspirational,” he added. “Expansion will support the regeneration of west London, and tomorrow you will see an example of a regeneration plan, with the new Heathrow Garden City, including 9,000 homes.” The development is understood to be planned for the Hounslow area.
Mr Holland-Kaye also published plans to increase public transport use by more than 10 per cent over the next four years as it seeks to cut air pollution to ensure this is not a hurdle to expansion.
Calling for an early decision by the Government to back a third runway, he said: “We should get shovels in the ground by 2020 and the benefits of an expanded Heathrow in 2025.”
Work was starting on gaining the planning consents needed for the development.
He signalled that the airport may not agree to all the conditions for expansion proposed by the Airports Commission, but believes an agreement could be struck on them.
He admitted that 800 homes having to be demolished for the third runway would be “very painful” for the owners but stressed they were being offered 25 per cent above the unblighted market value for their properties.
John Stewart, chairman of anti-Heathrow expansion group HACAN who also spoke at the conference, stressed a final decision had not been made as this would be down to the Government, with the Cabinet deeply split.
While some residents would be attracted to the expansion plans by the pledge to stop night flights, others would still oppose them, he was due to add.
Mr Holland-Kaye announced plans for a new “Heathrow Garden City” that would see about 9,000 homes built in Hounslow. It is understood that the development would be funded by Hounslow Council, although the masterplan has been developed in partnership with Heathrow.
The council said the plan was not dependent on a third runway and that it is “is extremely conceptual”.
“Today Jonny is going to build a magic AIRTOPIA in Hounslow.
Every home will have a Magic Money Tree on their balcony to make up their low wages.
Everyone will ride around on a Unicorn to reduce traffic congestion.
Pixies will flap their wings to disperse dangerous pollution.
Leprechauns will sing merrily to drown out the intollerable aircraft noise.
A spokesperson for Hounslow Council said;
” Stop it ! My sides are splitting. That John Holland-Kaye is hilarious.”
Before adding; “You are joking ? He hasn’t said anything to us.”
Andrew Neather: Heathrow runway would see our air pollution take off
3.7.2015 (Evening Standard)
Following the Airports Commission’s backing for a third runway at Heathrow, the battle lines are drawn.
Among would-be 2016 mayoral candidates, Tory Zac Goldsmith is against. On the Labour side, Sadiq Khan is against, David Lammy in favour and Tessa Jowell presumed to be pro. Heathrow isn’t, in fact, a decision over which the Mayor has control. But a new runway would have a major impact on one area where the next mayor will be under real pressure: air quality.
In April the Supreme Court threw out as inadequate the Government’s plans to cut air pollution, demanding that ministers present new ones by the end of the year. The Mayor’s figures show that more than 4,200 Londoners die prematurely each year from dirty air. Our air breaks EU legal maximums for nitrogen dioxide, and as the Airports Commission report this week concedes, even without airport expansion, it is forecast to do so still in 2030.
With a new runway, Heathrow’s air traffic would rise by more than half, with an increase almost as large in the NO2 and particulate matter — tiny specks of soot — from jet engines. The commission ignores pollution from planes flying at over 1,000 feet. But even more NO2 would be added by increased ground traffic.
Today’s 73 million passengers a year would rise to more than 100 million by 2030, and 130 million by 2050. Taking out transfers, more than 50 million people now start or finish their journeys at Heathrow; in 2050 the commission says it would be 100 million.
Around 60 per cent of them now go by car or cab, another 12 per cent by bus or coach. Meanwhile more than 84,000 people work at the airport or in businesses directly related to it; nearly two-thirds of airport staff get to work by private transport, and more than 85 per cent by road. A 2009 study also estimated that Heathrow generated around 1.9 million one-way freight and service-related trips a year.
Not all of those road journeys pass through London, though much of their pollution, borne by prevailing winds, does. But the commission looked at air quality only within a 2km radius.
The report breezily forecasts that 53 per cent of passengers will get there by public transport in 2030 — up from 41 per cent now — without explaining how London’s transport system will cope. Crossrail will make some difference but not a lot, since it replaces Heathrow Connect. And all the capacity on the upgraded Piccadilly line will by then have been taken up by the capital’s growth.
The commission concludes that this vast increase in air and road traffic will have only a negligible impact. It asserts that air quality is “a manageable part of a wider problem that Government is now obligated to address”. Ministers need to come up with a new plan, and “expansion at Heathrow should be capable of being incorporated into that plan without delaying compliance” with the Supreme Court’s ruling. In other words: your problem, minister, not Heathrow’s.
Even with the Mayor’s modest plans, we will struggle to bring air pollution within legal limits. With a new runway at Heathrow, we can forget it. It’s hard to see how any mayoral candidate who supports expansion can really be serious about cleaning up London’s filthy air.
Murad writes: Now we have had the report from Airport Commission recommending expansion of Heathrow it strikes me we have to wonder if it really is better for passengers – notwithstanding the obvious adverse impact on the quality of life for those near Heathrow or under its flight paths. It would effectively recreate a monopoly at Heathrow that will suck in long haul connections from the regions of the UK and drive up prices for passengers. It will mean passengers will be forced to take long haul air journeys via Heathrow, with very clear implications to consumer welfare. Heathrow already has a stranglehold on the market for US trips, and £ for £, these are more expensive than similar length trips to Asia. “The irony is that the Competition Commission ( now the Competition & Market Authority ) in 2011 broke up the monopoly that BAA had over airports in London and South-East when it owed all three major ones” ….”Now it appears Heathrow Holdings PLC [with a 3rd runway] …looks like becoming a private monopoly of long haul flights if Davies’ recommendations are accepted by the government. The matter needs referring back to the Competition & Market Authority, for the sake of the consumer and travelling public if nothing else.”
So what does the Competition & Market Authority (Competition Commission, as was) think of Heathrow expansion?
July 3, 2015
Blog by Murad Qureshi, London Assembly member
Now we have had the report from Airport Commission recommending expansion of Heathrow Airport, it strikes me we have to wonder if it is really better for passengers not withstanding the obvious adverse impact on the quality of life for Londoners particularly near to it and in the West.
The report has not only disregarded the possibility of a network of competing airports throughout London and the rest of the UK, its recommendation would effectively recreate a monopoly at Heathrow that will suck in long haul connections from the regions of the UK and drive up prices for passengers.
Regular air travellers in London will be accustomed to using a variety of airports in London & the South East including City, Luton, Gatwick, Stansted, determining by price and easy of getting to the airport where to take their journey from home or the office. Yet we will be forced to take all our long haul air journeys via Heathrow with this recommendation from Howard Davies with very clear implications to consumer welfare. We have this already with flights to the US where clearly Heathrow has a stranglehold and pound for pound these trips are a lot more expensive than similar length trips to Asian destinations to emerging economies where at least we have many more options.
The irony is that the Competition Commission ( now the Competition & Market Authority ) in 2011 broke up the monopoly that BAA had over airports in London and South-East when it owed all three major ones – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted – where for years it had underdeveloped the two smaller airports. Now it appears Heathrow Holdings PLC have got their way completely with continued expansion of Heathrow without any responsibilities for the other two, after having to sell off the others. More so as it looks like becoming a private monopoly of long haul flights if Howard Davies recommendations are accepted by the government.
The matter needs referring back to the Competition & Market Authority, for the sake of the consumer and travelling public if nothing else.
The MP for Saffron Walden, Sir Alan Haselhurst, says the banning of night flights at Heathrow, suggested by the Davies Commission which has recommended a third runway at Heathrow rather than a second one at Gatwick (or at Stansted) could still have “sinister” implications for Stansted. The Commission considers Stansted is likely to be full in 15 years, with one runway. The Commission is suggesting one of the conditions on a Heathrow north-west runway is that there should be no night flights at Heathrow. Sir Alan commented: “That has sinister implications. If they are not there, they will have to go somewhere. I don’t want to see the transfer of night flights to Stansted….We have the likes of FedEx and UPS. They are a very important industry. You can have a package from across the world delivered by 10am the following morning but that involves flights at unsocial hours. The dominant players at Stansted are RyanAir and EasyJet and the reason they can offer cheap flights is that they have continuous usage. Planes don’t make money while they are standing on the ground.” Hence the night flights at Stansted. And also at Gatwick, Unintended consequences?
Stansted airport night flight warning after Davies Commission recommends third Heathrow runway
The banning of night flights at Heathrow, suggested by the Davies Commission which has recommended a third runway at Heathrow rather than a second one at Stansted could still have “sinister” implications for the Essex airport, says Saffron Walden MP, Sir Alan Haselhurst.
The report on the future of UK airports, led by Sir Howard Davies has taken five people three years and cost £20million. It has ruled out a second runway for Stansted even though all parties, including the commission, agree that the existing runway at Stansted will be full in 15 years.
After The Davies Commission reported yesterday (Wednesday), Sir Alan said: “I’m on alert”.
He told the Reporter: “I understand that Sir Howard has suggested ending night flights at Heathrow. That has sinister implications. If they are not there, they will have to go somewhere. I don’t want to see the transfer of night flights to Stansted.”
He added: “We have the likes of FedEx and UPS. They are a very important industry. You can have a package from across the world delivered by 10am the following morning but that involves flights at unsocial hours.
“The dominant players at Stansted are RyanAir and EasyJet and the reason they can offer cheap flights is that they have continuous usage. Planes don’t make money while they are standing on the ground.”
Stansted bosses and Essex County Council have both called for better rail links to the terminus.
Andrew Harrison, managing director of Stansted Airport, said: “The Government must act now and invest in a world-class rail link. This will enable the airport to play a crucial role in the UK economy. Heathrow and Gatwick are already full but Stansted can accommodate an extra 20-25million passengers a year on its runway, so it’s essential to unlock its full potential.”
The Leader of Essex County Council, David Finch has called for the Government to act on Davies Report’s recommendations.
Councillor Finch said: “We believe a third runway at Heathrow is the most viable option. It’s affordable, practical and consolidates Heathrow’s position as the UK’s central airport.”
The suggestion of an island airport in the Thames has been dismissed by Essex County Council a “flight of fancy, as has a second runway at Stansted. Though the council concedes that may be inevitable after 2030, when Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and the Davies Commission both say the existing runway will be full.
The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), the national environmental campaigning organisation representing community groups around the UK’s airports, has urged the Government to reject the Airports Commission’s recommendation of a third runway at Heathrow, given its insurmountable environmental impacts and widespread opposition. “Every government that has ever considered Heathrow expansion has ruled it out once the full scale of the environmental impacts has become clear.” On noise, AEF says people living around Heathrow are already exposed to more noise than at any other airport in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people around Heathrow would be overflown for the first time if a new runway is built. On air pollution AEF says the UK has a legal obligation to meet EU air quality legal limits and the Airports Commission still cannot say confidently whether or not air quality reduction with a runway would be legal. On carbon emissions, AEF says that according to the Airports Commission’s own analysis, a Heathrow or a Gatwick runway would, on current technology trends, lead to breaches in UK aviation’s CO2 emissions cap, even if the sector was included in a global carbon trading scheme. The only solution would be to limit growth at other airports – or (unpopular) to substantially increase the cost of flying.
The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), the national environmental campaigning organisation representing community groups around the UK’s airports, has urged the Government to reject the Airports Commission’s recommendation of a third runway at Heathrow, given its insurmountable environmental impacts and widespread opposition.
AEF is opposed to a new runway at any of the sites short-listed by the Airports Commission because all three options would breach CO2 limits and have unacceptable local environmental impacts.
Cait Hewitt, AEF’s Deputy Director said:
“The recommendation to expand Heathrow will be fiercely resisted by local authorities, MPs, communities and environmental organisations. Every government that has ever considered Heathrow expansion has ruled it out once the full scale of the environmental impacts has become clear. People living around Heathrow are already exposed to more noise than at any other airport in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people around Heathrow would be overflown for the first time if a new runway is built. The Government should ensure that those people are fully consulted before deciding whether or not this is a price worth paying.” See link
In relation to the air quality impact of expansion, Cait said:
“The UK has a legal obligation to meet EU air quality legal limits and despite its last minute consultation on the issue the Airports Commission still cannot say confidently whether or not expansion would be legal.”
AEF also challenged the Airports Commission’s assessment of whether expansion is compatible with climate change targets , highlighting that according to the Airports Commission’s analysis all three of the options would, on current technology trends, lead to breaches in aviation’s emissions cap even if the sector was included in a global carbon trading scheme.
“Increased emissions from a second runway at Heathrow, like all the shortlisted expansion options, would breach the climate change target for aviation unless politically challenging measures are introduced to limit growth at other airports or to substantially increase the cost of flying.”
The Aviation Environment Federation is the leading UK organisation campaigning exclusively on the environmental impacts of aviation. We represent community groups and individuals around many of the UK’s airports and airfields. Further information can be found on our website.
A group of senior MPs around Heathrow airport recently launched a campaign to highlight the size of the population that could be overflown if a third runway is built
The Airports Commission has been unable to demonstrate convincingly how a new runway can be built without breaching the Climate Change Act and has made claims about the economic benefit of expansion that do not take into account the costs of keeping emissions from UK aviation to the UK’s Climate Change Act. The AEF’s concerns about the Commission’s analysis on CO2 are detailed inour recent report.
The Heathrow noise sweeteners that act as a smokescreen for third runway pollution
By James Lees
July 3 2015
The Airports Commission has finally published its report on UK airport capacity, emphatically supporting a third runway at Heathrow over its rivals – a Gatwick second runway or the Heathrow Hub option (a runway on the end of one of Heathrow’s existing runways). The Commission’s recommendation for a third runway did come with the conditions of ending night flights and £1 billion needed for compensation. Both of these sweeteners will more than turn a few heads in West London to the possibility of a third runway. However, they also serve to draw attention from the environmental impacts the Commission doesn’t have an answer for.
To start with the Airports Commission has not placated concerns about aircraft noise which is the source of the vocal political opposition to Heathrow expansion (Heathrow currently has the rather dubious award of “most people affected by aircraft noise in Europe“). Rather than accepting that more flights would mean more aircraft noise, the Airports Commission has opted to disproportionately shift the noise to communities that are currently not over flown. According to the Commission’s own assessment, some 320,700 would have planes over their heads for the first time with a new runway. What’s important is that many of these people are simply unaware of the storm heading their way. Fortunately, a group of London MPs are trying to highlightthis issue.
Secondly, there is the very relevant issue of air quality, which was one of the main reasons that the Blair/Brown Labour Government was unable to advance plans to build a third runway, despite being fully behind it. Yet, the Airports Commission is still unable to say with any conviction whether a new runway could be built without continued breaches in the legal limit of air quality.
The Commission describes the air quality impact of a third runway as “significantly adverse”. Considering the Government estimates that the area around a two runway Heathrow will have the second highest levels of air pollution in the country by 2030, a third runway would move it into first place (another award Heathrow could add to its collection).
The Airports Commission of course says that the air quality impact could be reduced through various measures. However, the Commission’s consultants concluded that it “isn’t clear” whether Heathrow’s promise to not increase the number of cars accessing the airport is deliverable. The Commission then puts a lot of faith in an ambitious new Government plan to tackle air quality. We should find out whether this is vindicated in early 2016.
Finally, there is the small concern about meeting our national climate targets. Sir Howard Davies evidently gristles every time that CO2 emissions are mentioned. This was perhaps no more evident than when he deflected a question on managing CO2 emissions at the final report launch to a colleague of his. Sir Howard’s lack of interest in all things climate related also appears to represent the Airports Commission’s approach to the issue.
There is a recommended limit to the level of CO2 emissions from aviation that can be allowed in 2050 so that the UK as a whole can stand a chance of meeting its national climate change commitments. Unfortunately, the emissions from an expanded Heathrow on top of those from other airports will far exceed that limit according to the Airports Commission.
The Government’s advisors on climate change say exceeding that limit isn’t an option and so aviation emissions will have to managed somehow. The good news is that according to the Airports Commission managing demand is possible with a new runway. The bad news is that the cost of emitting a tonne of carbon dioxide would have to rise from around £5 today up to somewhere in the region of £300 per tonne in 2050 (or even up to £1050 in some scenarios). That would mean increases in ticket prices of around £500 for a return flight to New York, or in other words an end to the “democratisation of air travel“.
Rather than comment on the feasibility of such a policy, the Airports Commission has left the challenge to the Government. Incidentally, Heathrow could also retain another award with a third runway. In 2012, it was the airport responsible for most CO2 emissions in the world. To have any chance of keeping hold of that award it will need to expand to keep up with the likes of Dubai and Istanbul.
So today’s announcement may change the views of some people on Heathrow expansion, but in no way have the environmental challenges been addressed. Now it is over to the Government.
A blockade of Heathrow’s road access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3 brought traffic to a halt for more than half an hour at 12.45pm today. The protest follows yesterday’s announcement that the Airports Commission report recommends the building of 3rd runway at Heathrow. This would require the destruction of over 1,000 homes in Harmondsworth, Longford and Sipson with a further 3,000 homes made uninhabitable due to excessive noise and pollution. Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, used a large white van to block both lanes to incoming traffic. He then unfurled a banner that covered the side of his vehicle to face the stationary traffic saying, “Residents Against Expansion – No ifs, no buts, no third runway”. The banner refers to David Cameron’s pledge prior to the 2010 election. His entirely peaceful protest was only ever intended to last 20 minutes, to avoid disruption to the airport. His co-operation enabled the police to avoid an evacuation procedure that would have caused further disruption to traffic. Neil Keveren made it clear his action was a personal protest, and was not part of his role as Chair of the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) campaign group. However, his action were supported by many local residents and the local MP, John McDonnell.
A blockade of Heathrow’s road access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3 brought traffic to a halt for more than half an hour at 12.45pm today.
The protest follows yesterday’s announcement that Sir Howard Davies’s Airports Commission report recommends the building of a third runway at Heathrow. This would require the destruction of over 1,000 homes in Harmondsworth, Longford and Sipson with a further 3,000 homes made uninhabitable due to excessive noise and pollution.
Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, used a large white van to block both lanes to incoming traffic. He then unfurled a banner that covered the side of his vehicle to face the stationary traffic saying, “Residents Against Expansion – No ifs, no buts, no third runway”. The banner refers to David Cameron’s pledge prior to the 2010 election.
While stunned drivers looked on, Mr Keveren climbed onto the roof of the vehicle and shouted slogans including, “No Third Runway” until police arrived and negotiated with him to come down. The protestor made it clear that he was staging a peaceful protest, which he intended to end after 20 minutes. His co-operation enabled the police to avoid an evacuation procedure that would have caused further disruption to traffic.
Neil Keveren wanted to reinforce the fact that this was a personal direct action protest and was not part of his role as Chair of the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) campaign group.
He said, “This was a personal decision but my actions were supported by local residents and our local MP, John McDonnell.
“We have been fighting this airport’s expansion for decades and enough is enough, the Davies recommendation was our red line.
We won’t let our communities be bullied any more or destroyed.”
The road tunnels are the only route for cars, taxis and buses to travel from the M4 to Terminals Two and Three.
A local supporter who preferred not to be named said, “I feel let down by Davies.
“He has seen the evidence, the communities it will destroy, the air and noise pollution, the carbon emissions and yet he’s ignored it all.
“Air pollution around here already regularly breaches EU limits and the noise is so bad that our children can’t learn in school. We already suffer with an airport of this size, let alone a bigger one.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “Police are aware of a protest at Heathrow Airport and have responded.”
From Get West London (though their article contained inaccuracies.
Heathrow third runway backing leaves village fearing for its future
Harmondsworth villagers say they will support direct action against any attempt to bulldoze 750 homes if government backs expansion
Community leaders in Harmondsworth, the village that would be largely flattened to make way for a third runway at Heathrow, have reacted with anger at Howard Davies’s recommendation that the plan should go ahead – and alleged they were “deceived” by the government.
Villagers pledged on Wednesday to fight on, including supporting “direct action” against attempts to bulldoze 750 homes, some dating to the 17th century, if the government backs the recommendation that the west London airport should be expanded rather than Gatwick.
Amatu Christian-Iwuagwu, vicar at the 950-year-old St Mary the Virgin church in Harmondsworth, said: “The government always knew this was going to happen and have deceived us. They have caused a lot of anxiety in this parish especially among older people. They should have told us so people could get on with their lives.”
Amatu Christian-Iwuagwu, vicar of St Mary the Virgin church in Harmondsworth, speaks out
He said he did not want to be the last of 50 vicars who have served the village for close to 1,000 years, and said he had even seen some in his congregation question their faith in God over the runway issue.
In the middle of the village residents have erected a mural showing where the new runway would be. They have also planted “a forest of defiance” on the recreational ground that would become the runway with oaks, hornbeams and field maples.
But the destruction of the village is moving closer. Within 90 minutes of Davies’s decision, letters were delivered from Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, reminding villagers their homes would be subject to compulsory purchase. He said: “I know this is a time of significant uncertainty and we will continue to keep you informed throughout the process.”
“This is not just a village issue,” said Neil Keveren, 53, a builder and chairman of the Stop Heathrow Expansion campaign. “It will affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, across London and there will be serious health issues. Boris Johnson, potentially our future prime minister, has promised to lie down in front of the bulldozers and we will be fighting with him.”
Keveren spent Wednesday morning trying to allay the fears of anxious villagers. He told Irene Nsona, 30, a nurse whose son attends the village school that will be demolished, that Heathrow will not win. She said she was very disappointed at the news, adding: “I hope we win this because this is a very, very good school.”
The village of Harmondsworth falls within the Heathrow expansion zone
Jackie Clark-Basten, the owner of a hairdresser in the nearby village of Sipson, which would be at the end of the third runway, said her business would collapse and her home above the shop would be uninhabitable.
“Jets’ landing gear will be clearing my roof every 30 to 40 seconds,” she said. “I will be about 200 yards from the end of the runway. It will be impossible to stay. I just think the process has been a farce. With all the information that was given to Howard Davies in the consultation period on health and the historical content of these villages he has still gone ahead and decided to go with Heathrow. This whole consultation has been a PR exercise and they were going to do this from the beginning.”
Bryan Tomlinson, a taxi driver who operates from Heathrow, vowed to defy Davies’s recommendations. “He will be gone to work at RBS, but we will still be living here,” he said. “He will never beat us. At the moment the people fighting are taxi drivers, hairdressers, mums, housewives, retired people. We are the frontline. But very shortly you will have Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace turning up and every person who believes the climate change act should be honoured by our government. There will be millions of angry people across the country who will make a fuss. They will be trying to glue themselves to David Cameron, they will be climbing Big Ben.”
It was a lot harder on Wednesday morning for Graham Wibrew to start work on the roof of his bedroom and kitchen extension. Davies’s announcement meant it was more likely than ever that his would be one of 750 homes in Harmondsworth to be flattened. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Wibrew, 47, a carpenter and father of two, who is halfway through spending £60,000 on improving his home.
“When the builders turned up this morning I said you might as well go home, it’s all going to be flattened,” he said. But they are carrying on with erecting the two-storey extension even though, Wibrew admits, he might lose everything.
“I have no idea what the compulsory purchase arrangement is,” he said. “I could lose this money and have wasted £60,000. We went though so much trouble to get planning permission yet they can come along and say we’re going to build another runway as if nothing else matters. I’m the little man and money speaks. We are just figures to them.”
The Airports Commission has recommended that a 3rd runway should be built at Heathrow, but only if it can meet stringent conditions on noise and air pollution. Those conditions should include a ban on night flights, legally binding caps on noise and air quality – and legislation to rule out ever building a 4th runway [unlikely to be effective?] .The Commission has said their view was “clear and unanimous” that Heathrow’s plan was the strongest case for a runway, delivering the greatest strategic and economic benefits, and they hoped the conditions would make the airport a “better neighbour” than today. The conditions are: – A ban on all scheduled night flights from 11.30pm to 6am….- No fourth runway – the government should make a firm commitment in parliament not to expand further. Davies states: “There is no sound operational or environmental case for a fourth runway.”….- A legally binding “noise envelope”…..- A noise levy on airport users to compensate local communities…. – A legal commitment on air quality (details to be announced, compliant with EU limits)…. – A community engagement board to let local people have a say…. – An independent aviation noise authority to be consulted on flightpaths and operating procedures at airports….- Training and apprenticeships for local people. The government must now decide whether to act on the recommendation – by autumn, or before Christmas.
Heathrow third runway recommended in report on airport capacity
Airports Commission says £17bn expansion is ‘clear and unanimous’ choice but should include night flight ban and laws against ever building a fourth runway
Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent (Guardian)
Sir Howard Davies says a third runway at Heathrow offers better value
A third runway should be built at Heathrow, the Airports Commission has recommended, but only if it can meet stringent conditions on noise and air pollution.
Those conditions should include a ban on night flights, legally binding caps on noise and air quality – and legislation to rule out ever building a fourth runway.
There had been speculation that the commission would hold the door open for Gatwick. But the commission said on Wednesday morning it was “clear and unanimous” Heathrow’s plan was the strongest case for future airport capacity, delivering the greatest strategic and economic benefits, and the conditions would make the airport a “better neighbour” than today.
The £17bn expansion plan would mean 250,000 more flights a year, providing a £150bn boost to GDP over 60 years and 70,000 new jobs – but would mean demolishing 783 homes, including most of the neighbouring village of Harmondsworth.
The long-awaited verdict comes five years after the government cancelled plans for a new runway at Britain’s biggest airport and is expected to spark a renewed political battle.
Sir Howard Davies, the commission chair, said the government would need to review the analysis carefully before making a decision. But he warned it to “move as quickly as it can” or be seen as unwilling to “take the steps needed to maintain [Britain’s] position as a well-connected open trading economy”.
– A ban on all scheduled night flights from 11.30pm to 6am.
– Predictable respite from noise to be more reliably maintained
– A legally binding “noise envelope”
– Compensation for those who would lose their homes at full market value plus an additional 25% and reasonable costs
– Heathrow should be held to its commitment to spend more than £1 billion on community compensation
– No 4th runway – the government should make a firm commitment in Parliament not to expand further
– A noise levy on airport users to compensate local communities
– A legal commitment on air quality (so air quality at sites around the airport will not delay compliance with EU limits.)
– A Community Engagement Board to let local people have a say, with influence on compensation
– An independent aviation noise authority to be consulted on flight paths and airport operating procedures
– Training and apprenticeships for local people.
– A major shift in mode-share for those working at and arriving at the airport should be incentivised
The government must now decide whether to act on the recommendation of the commission, which the prime minister established in 2012 to examine the need for more airport capacity, having shortlisted Heathrow or Gatwick for a required new runway.
The report said Heathrow’s benefits were “significantly greater” than Gatwick’s. Davies said Gatwick presented a “plausible case for expansion” but was “unlikely to provide much of the type of capacity which is most urgently required: long-haul destinations in new markets”.
Despite the exhaustive report, trying to expand Heathrow would run into intense opposition.
While most airlines in the UK and abroad back the commission’s recommended option, a central plank in Gatwick’s campaign was the claim that a third runway for Heathrow would prove “politically undeliverable” due to pollution and noise issues.
That claim may yet prove correct. Prominent members of the government – including cabinet members Justine Greening and Philip Hammond, as well as the London mayor, Boris Johnson – are all vehemently anti-expansion, while MPs of all parties from constituencies around Heathrow, as well the remaining Liberal Democrats and Greens, are opposed.
For Cameron himself, who unequivocally ruled out a third runway in 2010 – saying “no ifs, no buts” – it will be a political embarrassment.
The report stressed that the plan was “a fundamentally different proposition” from previous proposals to expand Heathrow, with the runway located further to the west and expected to have much less impact on local communities through noise. The commission said the airport should be held to account to spend more than £1bn on community compensation, including £700m insulating homes under the flight paths.
Business groups and most airlines will welcome the commission’s verdict. A majority had accepted Heathrow’s argument that only a hub airport could deliver the long-haul connections to emerging growth markets that would underpin high-value exports and inward investment.
John Stewart of the anti-expansion group Hacan, who chaired the last campaign against a third runway, said: “This is far from the end of the story. It will be the government that makes the final decision and given the strong opposition in the cabinet to Heathrow, the final chapter may come out in favour of Gatwick.”
The transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said his department would consider the commission’s advice in detail.
He said: “As a nation we must be ambitious and forward-looking. This is a once-in a-generation opportunity to answer a vital question. I will make a statement to parliament later today in which I will set out the process for that decision to be made.”
Heathrow said it would “work for all Britain” in trying to deliver the runway. The airport’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: “This debate has never been about a runway, it’s been about the future we want for Britain. Expanding Heathrow will keep Britain as one of the world’s great trading nations, right at the heart of the global economy.
“Our new plans have been designed around the needs of local communities and will meet carbon, air quality and noise targets, and provides the greatest benefit to the UK’s connectivity and its long-term economic growth.
He promised to “create the world’s best connected, most efficient and most environmentally responsible hub airport”.
Gatwick Airport’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “It is for the commission to make a recommendation but it is of course for the government to decide. So we now enter the most important stage of the process.” He claimed the commission had “left the door open to us”.
But speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Davies said that while Gatwick had been “not inconceivable” when it was placed on the shortlist 18 months ago, he reiterated the commission’s “clear and unanimous” view that Heathrow offered significantly more benefits.
He said Heathrow was “by a long, long way” the better choice for air freight and exports, and said 60% of the benefit would go to the regions of the UK who could now connect at the hub. He said: “There are only seven airports connected to Heathrow and the reduction in numbers has been relentless. People in the regions have been denied access to Heathrow’s network.”
Asked if politicians would follow his advice, Davies said: “It has become a symbolic point around the world – is the UK and London prepared to make the decisions that are needed.”
Environmental campaigners warned that building a new runway would put climate targets at risk, despite the commission’s insistence that it was compatible with the targets.
Cait Hewitt of the Aviation Environment Federation said: “Increased emissions from a third runway at Heathrow, like all the shortlisted expansion options, would breach the climate change target for aviation unless politically challenging measures are introduced to limit growth at other airports or to substantially increase the cost of flying.”
She added: “The UK has a legal obligation to meet EU air quality legal limits and the Airports Commission still cannot say confidently whether or not expansion would be legal.”
Friends of the Earth said: “Building a new runway at Gatwick or Heathrow would have a hugely damaging impact on local people and their environment and would be a step backwards in UK efforts to tackle climate change.”
A third runway at London Heathrow airport will never fly
Philip Stephens (Financial Times Columnist)
1.7.2015 You need not be a cynic to suspect policy-based evidence-making
Britain’s Airports Commission has done what was expected of it. It has called for a third runway at Heathrow. You do not have to be a cynic to suspect policy-based evidence-making. Unkind souls might call the report an establishment stitch-up. Never mind. Its conclusions are destined for the long grass. The pity is that money, time and energy will be wasted on a debate that can have only one outcome. Forget the commission’s expensively deceptive cost-benefit analyses. The runway will never be built.
Heathrow is in the wrong place — on the wrong side of the capital, more precisely. Its flight paths run directly above some of the city’s most densely populated neighbourhoods. Some 750,000 people — a full 28 per cent of those across the entire EU whose lives are blighted by aircraft noise — are unlucky enough to live near London’s largest airport.
Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled that air pollution levels around Heathrow — most dangerously, nitrogen dioxide — already breach the legal limits. To add another 250,000 flights a year to the present 470,000, with the concomitant increase in road traffic, is simply unimaginable.
For all the £20m spent on the report, it is still not certain that London actually needs a new runway. The city already has seven spread over six sites, as good as any serious competitor in Europe, and much of the capacity remains unused. Air traffic projections are notoriously unreliable. Only a fool would gamble tens of billions of pounds on a flimsy prediction that London may be short of capacity by 2030.
The case made by Heathrow management that London’s reputation as a centre for global business depends on the airport upgrading its “hub” status by handling more transit passengers is flimsy at best. The proportion of business passengers has been falling — from 38 per cent at the turn of the century to 30 per cent last year. More than two-thirds of those who pass through the airport are tourists. To slot in more flights for business leaders to the booming cities of China, Heathrow has merely to cede to Gatwick or Stansted a few bucket-and-spade routes to Mediterranean resorts.
The importance of transit customers is overstated. The growth in air travel has been in point-to-point flights by smaller, fuel-efficient aircraft. And, unlike Frankfurt or Amsterdam, London is the final destination for the vast majority of air travellers. Heathrow counts 36 per cent of its passengers as in transit but across the capital’s airports the figure falls to below 15 per cent.
As it happens, Heathrow is a terrible advertisement for Britain. Beyond the superficial glitter of Terminal 5, much of the site comprises a series of down-at-heel sheds bursting at the seams with lucrative (for the airport operator) shopping concessions. Those unfortunate enough to arrive at, say, Terminal 3 can only shake their head in wonderment that one of the world’s pre-eminent cities can be content with such squalor. Delays and disruption are endemic. Of the dozen flights I took in and out of Heathrow in the past two months, I counted only two that left or arrived in time.
The cost to the public purse is prohibitive. The commission guesses at a price tag of £18bn or so for the runway, with another £5bn-£6bn for the necessary improvements to surface transport to cope with the extra passengers. Transport for London has suggested the latter figure could end up as high as £20bn. That may be an overestimate. But, whichever way you look at it, British taxpayers would have to pay a massive subsidy to the shareholders of Heathrow.
So why has Heathrow fought so hard for a new runway? Easy. It wants to stifle competition. The airport is a cash cow, but slightly less so since the Competition Commission forced it to divest ownership of Gatwick. London’s second airport has been transformed by the break-up, but a third runway, the Airports Commission acknowledges, would divert back to Heathrow traffic from London’s other airports. The owners would regain a near monopoly.
What London needs are better surface connections between the other airports and faster rail and road routes into the capital. Heathrow will soon benefit from Crossrail. Rather than spend billions diverting the M4 and M25 motorways around Heathrow the government should be investing in surface connections to Gatwick and Stansted. If, as is possible, capacity does come under strain, it would be much cheaper and faster to add a second runway at Gatwick.
Politics will combine with logic to doom a third runway. David Cameron, the prime minister, does not have the majority to take the legislation through parliament. The heavyweights in the Conservative party opposed to expansion are led by Boris Johnson, the London mayor, and his would-be successor, Zac Goldsmith. They are backed by several members of the cabinet and by many local Tory MPs.
So this is one of those moments in politics when a prime minister can marry principle with pragmatism. “No ifs, no buts, no third runway”, the prime minister promised a few years back. He was right.
Today we have the mystifying spectacle of ministers keeping at arm’s length a three-year airports report which they commissioned at a cost to the public purse of £20 million.
Blame the Liberal Democrats. The Tories never expected to win a majority and be in government alone.
Meanwhile the prospect of a third runway at Heathrow was unconscionable for Liberal Democrats. While most Lib Dems were opposed to Gatwick expansion too, Nick Clegg was more open. Positions had been readied for a coalition agreement compromise and Heathrow could well have been sacrificed at the birth of a new government in favour of Gatwick, and both sides would have been happy to let the Lib Dems take both the credit and the blame.
When the election delivered a majority Tory government, there was nowhere to hide and the Tory factions and divisions come to the fore. On one level the divisions are well known: Boris Johnson and his possible successor Zac Goldsmith, plus Greg Hands and Justine Greening would all be lying in front of the bulldozers in Hounslow.
MPs in the southeast more affected by Gatwick expansion such as John Whittingdale, Dominic Raab and the like never ran the same sort of high-profile campaign to protect their own back yards, and now could well be the losers. (Somewhere in the city the firm lobbying for Heathrow should be shot by the airport operator for failing to do so).
Even this explanation masks more interesting divisions at the top. David Cameron made a clear public promise shortly after becoming leader that there would be no third runway at Heathrow. It was George Osborne who became increasingly sympathetic through the last parliament to this option. Now the chancellor is likely to be the one with the more difficult choice of conscience: what does abandoning Heathrow mean for his northern powerhouse for instance?
Have no pity for Sir Howard Davies, this is an entirely appropriate fate for his review. The Airports Commission was always just a magician’s prestige, a delaying device designed to extricate the government from a tricky political decision it would rather not take.
And while Sir Howard is trying to insist he is delivering a more clear-cut recommendation than some senior Tories had hoped and expected, he still says Gatwick is “conceivable” – allowing ministers to portray building here as a quick win while delaying decisions on Heathrow yet further.
Perhaps the real lesson is how easily David Cameron will waste £20 million for nothing when it suits him.