UK signs new bilateral deal with China, for 150 return flights per week each (up from 100) – so more opportunity for regional airports

Britain has signed another bilateral deal with China, to increase the number of weekly direct flights between Chinese airports and UK airports. The number will rise from the current limit of 100 return flights per week by each country’s airlines, to 150 flights – ie. a 50% increase. This is being hyped as a deal to “boost trade and tourism after Brexit.” At present 8 airlines operate 9 routes between British airports and 5 Chinese cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Qingdao. Ministers hope the added flights will boost opportunities for British companies in China, and increase income from Chinese tourists coming to the UK. In the first half of 2017 the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UK rose by 47% (compared to the first half of 2016) with 115,000 visits were made. Their spending increased to £231 million, up 54%.  Last year, Manchester airport launched the first direct regional flight between the two countries. Regional airports could now have more, if there is the demand.  Until October 2016, the limit was 40 return flights per week. In 2016, restrictions were also relaxed to allow for an unlimited number of cargo flights between the UK and China. Air China accounts for the highest seat capacity between the UK and China (30.2%), followed by British Airways (20.6%) and China Southern Airlines (12.5%).
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Open skies deal will see China flights take off

By Tim Shipman, Political Editor (The Sunday Times)

December 10th 2017

Britain has signed a landmark airline deal with China in what ministers claim is the first of a series of open skies agreements to boost trade and tourism after Brexit.

The number of direct flights from the UK to the world’s most populous country is set to rise by 50% to 150 per week — with a huge expansion in routes from regional airports expected to help cities outside London.

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Andrew Cowan, chief executive of Manchester Airport, said: “Our connections to both Beijing and Hong Kong have led to significantly higher volumes of exports and inward investment.”

He added that universities in the north of England “have benefited from increased international student numbers and research collaborations with Chinese institutions.”

 

…….. See full article at:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/open-skies-deal-will-see-china-flights-take-off-lxzv30q66

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See earlier:

 

UK and China renew bilateral deal so each could have 100 return flights (up from 40) per week

The DfT has renewed the bilateral aviation agreement with China, to allow more weekly flights between the two countries. Until now, the limit had been 40 flights by UK airlines to China per week, and return 40 flights by Chinese airlines to the UK. This has been raised to 100 flights each. There will be no limit on the number of all-cargo services (but most Heathrow freight goes as belly hold, not separate freighter). Currently Chinese airlines operate 38 flights a week between the two countries, and UK airlines operate 29.  The only UK airports that have flights to  China are Heathrow and Manchester.  The earlier deal was that any UK airline could serve a maximum of 6 separate airports in China. Now UK airlines can operate to anywhere in mainland China. Laying on the hype, Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, said the deal was a “big moment for the UK”. However, airlines will have to decide whether it makes sense to use the extra capacity to offer new Chinese flights to and from China, with doubtful demand, when transatlantic routes are more profitable. The hope is probably for more UK business and UK exports. The DfT ignores the problem that the UK imports from China more than twice as much as it exports to China. More flights may exacerbate that. House of Commons Library data says that: “In 2014, UK exports to China were worth £18.7 billion. Imports from China were £38.3 billion. The UK had a trade deficit of £19.6 billion with China.”  Flights to and from Hong Kong are in a separate bilateral deal.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/10/uk-and-china-renew-bilateral-deal-so-each-could-have-100-return-flights-up-from-40-per-week/

 

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and earlier:

UK/China agreement to raise number of return flights each is allowed from 31 to 40 per week, and from 6 up to 9 airports

Flights between the UK and China are set to increase following an agreement allowing more passenger flights between the two countries. These are controlled, as for all countries, by bilateral agreements to ensure the number is balanced and neither side has too much advantage. Talks were initiated by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin who launched negotiations on improved air links during a visit to China in October last year. The previous agreement, last updated in 2011, limited the passenger airlines of both countries to a maximum of 31 return services per week in each direction, serving up to six destinations in each country. The new deal will increase the weekly maximum available to both countries to 40 direct flights in each direction, and allow UK airlines to serve up to three more Chinese cities than previously. ie. nine. The new deal also allows UK airlines greater freedom to codeshare with Chinese carriers on routes within mainland China. The lack of air links to China is due to the limit on weekly flights, and by the level of demand. It is not limited by the number of flights permitted. The numbers of flights to Hong Kong are under a separate agreement from those to China.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/09/ukchina-agreement-to-raise-number-of-flights-in-each-direction-from-31-to-40-and-from-6-up-to-9-airports/

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Huge cost to many local authorities if Heathrow does not relocate Lakeside waste incinerator

The proposed Heathrow 3rd runway would require the demolition of the Lakeside waste incinerator. Heathrow has made no effort so far to ensure this is relocated. If there is a period without an incinerator, local authorities would have to spend many millions of £s on landfill tax (£86.10 per tonne) to dispose of waste that the Lakeside plant would have dealt with. In their submission to the Transport Committee, Grundon and Viridor say: “The revised draft NPS fails to address the planning policy vacuum that businesses like Lakeside face in trying to relocate in advance of Heathrow securing consent.This vacuum needs to be filled for the benefit of all of those businesses threatened by the new runway … the draft NPS still fails to provide any explicit support for the relocation of the Lakeside EfW or the associated complex.  Indeed, if the Lakeside EfW and the waste complex as a whole were not replaced, given the lack of acceptable alternatives, the direct consequences would be disruptive and financially harmful to the local authorities that rely upon the services provided.  … the revised NPS should state: The Government recognises the role of the Lakeside Energy from Waste plant in local waste management plans. The applicant should make all reasonable endeavours to replace the Lakeside Energy from Waste plant.”
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No site has been found to which to relocate the incinerator. It was a long, difficult process locating the current site, as incinerators are not popular neighbours.  The Lakeside Energy from Waste plant (ie. waste incinerator) deals with waste from numerous local authorities – including some – such as Slough – which support Heathrow’s 3rd runway plans.

However, if there was no incinerator – or a long gap between Lakeside closing and a new one opening – the local authorities would have to pay landfill tax for waste that would otherwise have been incinerated much more cheaply. This cost could run to several million £s per year. Landfill tax is currently £86.10 per tonne of waste that is not inert.

 

The written evidence submitted to the Transport Select Committee inquiry on the Airports NPS, by Lakeside Energy from Waste Ltd, Grundon Waste Management and Viridor (NPS0005)

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/transport-committee/airports-nps/written/73419.html

This includes:

8. Lakeside EfW must be offered the same level of importance as the IRCs given the essential role it plays in the smooth running of the regional waste management system and the reliance upon it of thirteen local authorities, for example. As with the IRCs, there must be no disruption to the services provided by Lakeside EfW as there are no realistic, environmentally acceptable alternatives.

9. The revised draft NPS fails to address the planning policy vacuum that businesses like Lakeside face in trying to relocate in advance of Heathrow securing consent.This vacuum needs to be filled for the benefit of all of those businesses threatened by the new runway.

10. The revised draft NPS was published on 24 October 2017 and is subject to consultation until 19 December.  Despite the Airports Commission’s recommendations,the draft NPS still fails to provide any explicit support for the relocation of the Lakeside EfW or the associated complex.

11. Indeed, if the Lakeside EfW and the waste complex as a whole were not replaced, given the lack of acceptable alternatives, the direct consequences would be disruptive and financially harmful to the local authorities that rely upon the services provided.

12. The Airports Commission was unequivocal that the Lakeside plant should be replaced – “its replacement is necessary”. Therefore, the revised NPS should state: The Government recognises the role of the Lakeside Energy from Waste plant in local waste management plans. The applicant should make all reasonable endeavours to replace the Lakeside Energy from Waste plant.

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The list of all the submissions to the Transport Select Committee inquiry into the Airports NPS (ie. Heathrow runway) is at  

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/airports-nps-17-19/publications/ 

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See earlier:

Lakeside incinerator plant would need to move, at Heathrow’s expense, if runway is built

Grundon and Viridor’s Colnbrook incinerator at Lakeside Road would have to be demolished for a Heathrow north west runway. This, as well as local roads and the M25, are significant obstacles to the runway plan. The issue of how much Heathrow will pay for this is being negotiated. Early in 2015, Heathrow was reported to have struck a deal with Grundon and Slough Borough Council to overcome the risk to delivery of a runway, agreeing that the incinerator would be moved a short distance away, onto (Green Belt) land already owned by Grundon. It is not clear this is correct. Heathrow said it was preparing a “joint feasibility study”.  Heathrow said in 2015 that “NATS have given an initial opinion that the site is suitable for accommodating the height of flue stack required (75m).”  Three of the four lakes at Colnbrook Lakeside are now set to be lost, due to the runway.  In order that the incinerator remains open all the time, with no gap, building would need to start at least 3 years before being operational.  But the runway might never get the go ahead …  It is reported that discussions are taking place on payment of the multi-million costs of relocation. Adam Afriyie revealed in Parliament in 2015 that the government would not be paying. Robert Goodwill said it would be “a matter for the airport to take forward with the owners of the site.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/11/lakeside-incinerator-plant-would-need-to-move-at-heathrows-expense-if-runway-is-built/

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HEATHROW EXPANSION IGNITES INCINERATOR RELOCATION PLAN

Plans to find an alternative location for a Berkshire incinerator have begun after the government’s announcement that it has approved a third runway at Heathrow.

Following a cabinet meeting today (25 October), the government stated that Heathrow, and not Gatwick, is its preferred option for the expansion of the UK’s airport capacity, causing issues for Lakeside Energy from Waste Ltd, a joint venture between Grundon Waste Management and Viridor, situated on the site of the proposed runway.

Heathrow expansion ignites incinerator relocation plan

The Lakeside EfW facility

The plant would need to be moved to accommodate the runway and, responding to the announcement, the company said it will seek to ensure that the Lakeside EfW facility, and Grundon’s waste management and recycling facilities located within its Colnbrook complex, can be relocated to a nearby site.The company says that it will seek to move the facility on a ‘like-for-like’ basis, and will work with Heathrow and its surrounding local authorities to find a suitable site with ‘minimum disruption’.

The facility processes commercial and local authority waste from Slough, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell and the West London Waste Authority. The Lakeside company says that ‘any closure of the facility without a like-for-like replacement in the local area would be disruptive and financially damaging to these authorities’.

It adds that the incinerator, which opened in 2010, currently processes over 450,000 tonnes of waste a year, generating 37 megawatts of power, ‘enough to provide electricity to every household in Slough’. Including the Grundon facilities, the Colnbrook complex employs over 200 people, ‘with many more jobs dependent on it within the local supply chain’.

The Lakeside site is situated where the west end of the new runway is due to be built

The company will have some time to find a new site as it will likely be years before construction is even ready to begin on the runway, should it happen at all. A public consultation will be held on the airport expansion before the government makes a final decision. An MP vote will follow at the end of 2017 and the Airports Commission has said that construction would not begin until 2020 at the earliest.Even with the government’s backing, the construction of the runway is not yet certain, and several prominent figures have questioned its feasibility, with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, MP for nearby Uxbridge and South Ruislip, whose plans for an airport on the Thames Estuary have frequently been shot down, calling the project ‘undeliverable’.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also said that he will be challenging the decision in the coming months due to the potential impacts on air quality and noise pollution on residents in West London. Khan’s rival in this year’s mayoral election and Environmental Audit Committee member Zac Goldsmith has also criticised the plans, saying he will resign as MP for Richmond Park following the “catastrophic” decision.

More information on the proposed runway and the Airports Commission’s report into its effect on local businesses can be found in Resource’s previous story.

http://resource.co/article/heathrow-expansion-ignites-incinerator-relocation-plan-11448

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4 main councils opposing Heathrow 3rd runway say it is unbuildable, due to noise and air pollution

Councils opposed to expansion at Heathrow have told the Transport Select Committee (TSC) inquiry into the Airports NPS that the most recent evidence published by the Government continues to demonstrate that a 3rd Heathrow runway could not be built without causing unacceptable air and noise pollution. They say that if ministers continue to support a 3rd runway, it will blight the area around the airport while failing to solve what they see as a “need” for extra airport capacity in the South East.  The councils point out that the DfT’s 2nd consultation on the NPS fails to show how, with a new runway, the airport could meet air quality limits in an area where pollution levels are deteriorating. Councillor Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “… it is clear that a third Heathrow runway is not deliverable within the new timescale of an opening in 2026. The shorter the timescale the more likely that illegal air pollution will result.”  The councils have also warned the TSC that the Government’s refusal to allow more time for consultation on the new evidence (just 8 weeks, ending on 19th December) “supports the view that the Secretary of State has effectively made up his mind to support Heathrow and that this is affecting the fairness of the consultation.”
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Third Heathrow Runway ‘Unbuildable’

Four London council leaders warn MPs on transport select committee that third runway cannot be lawfully built

6.12.2017 (Putney SW15)

www.2MGroup.org.uk

Councils opposed to expansion at Heathrow have told the Transport Select Committee that the most recent evidence published by the Government continues to demonstrate that a third runway could not be built at the airport without causing unacceptable air and noise pollution.

They say that if ministers continue to support a third runway it will blight the area around the airport while failing to solve the need for extra airport capacity in the South East.

The latest evidence which has been published as part of the Government’s revised National Policy Statement (NPS) fails to show how an expanded airport could meet air quality limits in an area where pollution levels are deteriorating. This makes a third Heathrow runway unbuildable while expansion at Gatwick could go ahead without this risk.

Councillor Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said:
“Given the hurdles that would have to be overcome it is clear that a third Heathrow runway is not deliverable within the new timescale of an opening in 2026. The shorter the timescale the more likely that illegal air pollution will result.

“If there is a need for more capacity in the South East it can be built more quickly at Gatwick. It would be achieved at a lower cost and within lawful pollution limits with fewer people affected by noise. It would also offer more domestic routes than Heathrow.”

The councils say that despite the new third runway opening date of 2026 and the projected rapid increase in early passenger demand, the targets set for increased public transport share remain set at 2030 and 2040. In these circumstances increased air pollution from road traffic is inevitable.

The councils have also warned the TSC that the Government’s refusal to allow more time for the new evidence produced for the revised NPS to be analysed supports the view that the Secretary of State has effectively made up his mind to support Heathrow and that this is affecting the fairness of the consultation.

The councils also warn that other parts of the UK could have to pay huge sums for the increased investment in rail projects around the airport. Currently the Government is offering no information on what the costs of improved surface access will be, what proportion of the cost will be met by the taxpayer and whether they will be completed on time.

Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond Council said:
“Expanding Heathrow is more than a West London issue, it affects every community in the country. “The evidence is clear that expanding Gatwick can deliver more domestic routes and more competition, with less impact on quality of life for local residents, all while leaving billions available for public infrastructure investment elsewhere.

“The only argument the Government has left is that Heathrow and the country needs a massive hub. In other words, it is simply a trophy project to boost Heathrow in the league table of world airports, as there is no league table that combines the network of airports serving a city. “In Britain, we should be promoting competition, and a better quality of life for our residents.”

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council said: “The latest evidence proves that a third runway at Heathrow Airport will exceed air quality limits. Expansion will not only cause increased noise pollution, but will damage the environment and will be detrimental to the health and well being of people in London. Gatwick has always been the better option, with more economic benefits and less impact on the environment.”

Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, said: “We are yet to see any evidence that the proposed expansion of Heathrow would do anything other than increase air pollution and have a detrimental effect on those living near to the airport.

“As the revised National Policy Statement shows, and as we have said from the very beginning, Gatwick is the obvious location for airport expansion in the south east and the proposals at Heathrow should no longer be considered a viable option.

“I understand that proposals have been submitted from a private company and there could be other proposals that could save public funds as well as reduce the impact on residents. It is clearly time to establish a new Airports Commission and revisit this flawed decision to expand Heathrow as proposed.”

The submission to the Transport Select Committee has been complied by Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils. You can read the full submission on the TSC website at  http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/transport-committee/airports-nps/written/74809.html 

and a large number of submissions can be seen at  http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/airports-nps-17-19/publications/

December 6, 2017

http://www.putneysw15.com/shared/issueheathrowsw051.htm

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See earlier:

 

Leaders of 4 main councils opposed to Heathrow favour a Gatwick runway, and tell residents to respond to NPS consultation

Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils have been campaigning against Heathrow expansion for more than a decade. They argue that expanding the airport will have a major impact on West London. The expansion will cause irreconcilable damage to the environment and people’s health. It will cost tax payers as much as £20bn. The four councils are encouraging their residents to respond to the 2nd NPS consultation, about a possible 3rd Heathrow runway (deadline 19th December). This consultation is happening partly due to complaints from the councils that the DfT had withheld important new information from the public.  Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “A third runway at Heathrow would be disastrous for Londoners….”  Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond Council, said:  “This is all about having a single trophy airport, instead of a network of airports that brings greater benefit. Over the past ten years people in Richmond upon Thames have voiced their concerns about the possible expansion of Heathrow in their thousands. We must not stop telling the government that Heathrow expansion is the wrong choice.”  The leaders of the four councils back a runway at Gatwick instead, preferring to transfer the misery onto others, whose interests they do not represent.

Click here to view full story…

Leader of Richmond Council: Government aviation strategy ignores Heathrow health impacts

The Leader of Richmond Council, commenting on the DfT’s consultation on the draft aviation strategy (closed 13th October), says it tries to shut down any discussion on expansion at Heathrow and puts the demand for additional flights ahead of the health impact on communities affected by increased noise and worsening air quality. Leader Paul Hodgins, speaking on behalf of Wandsworth, Richmond, Hillingdon and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, said: “It is difficult to see what purpose the draft aviation strategy serves when, in it, the government is ignoring the problem of Heathrow. First we had a pro-Heathrow airport draft national policy statement with no details on flightpaths, out of date passenger demand figures, an economic case which doesn’t stand up and unattainable pollution limits. Now we have a national strategy that leaves out Heathrow.  Any serious attempt at a UK-wide policy must come before any policy on individual airports, including Heathrow.”  He also said: “The Government should withdraw this partial and disingenuous strategy document, abandon its unjustified policy support for Heathrow and begin again with an approach that people can trust.”

Click here to view full story…

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Labour Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald: “Heathrow is not a silver bullet for solving our air capacity constraints”

Andy McDonald said:  “Following the decision to leave the EU, supporting UK aviation has become more, not less, critical if the UK is to remain a global, outward-looking trading nation. A third runway at Heathrow remains subject to a Commons vote and, even if given the final go-ahead, it will not be completed for at least another 10-15 years.  Heathrow is not a silver bullet for solving our air capacity constraints.  We face capacity challenges here and now. That’s why more needs to be done to support connectivity into and out of other airports across the UK to unlock existing unused capacity, and develop the huge potential they have.” Airports like Luton are keen to capitalise on the years before any new runway was built, if it ever happens. The CEO of Luton hopes of fast rising air passenger demand for years, and that the aviation industry “must be granted the conditions to help it capitalise on this growth potential … If the UK is to fully realise the economic potential of the aviation industry, airports must be supported by better transport links.” The East of England CBI says the “re-letting of the new East Midlands Rail franchise offers the opportunity to deliver more fast trains to Luton Airport by simply stopping trains that already pass through the station every day”, which would help Luton serve more passengers. 
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“A third runway at Heathrow is not a silver bullet”

How can regional airports help the UK deliver on its air capacity needs? Three perspectives weigh in.

BY LUTON AIRPORT’s CEO Nick Barton

… in the New Statesman

7.12.2017

To ensure the UK remains a global, outward-looking trading nation in the near future there are two clear priorities for our aviation sector. Firstly, we need to secure an agreement with the EU which allows our airlines to continue to fly in and out of Europe. Recent reports suggested the Commission sees little room for creativity or a “bespoke” arrangement that the UK is hoping to negotiate. Therefore, the government must ensure the negotiations do not enable our European counterparts to squeeze airlines out of the market.

Secondly, we need to ensure the UK’s airports have the capacity to keep up with soaring demand for air travel. Figures from The Department for Transport (DfT) predict that passenger demand will double to 535m passengers per year by 2050. Our aviation industry must be granted the conditions to help it capitalise on this growth potential and the benefits it will bring.

While the debate centres around a third runway at Heathrow there are less capital-intensive, quicker to enact solutions that will ease the UK’s air capacity woes. For example, the Transport Select Committee has identified inadequate rail links as a significant limiting factor for the ability of airports to meet their potential. If the UK is to fully realise the economic potential of the aviation industry, airports must be supported by better transport links.

London Luton Airport (LLA) is a prime example of an airport which can do more. We are currently investing £150m to improve the airport and increase our annual capacity by 50 per cent by 2020. This expansion will almost double LLA’s economic contribution to £2.3bn per year by 2030 and create an additional 10,500 jobs over and above the 27,000 which exist today.

But LLA’s ability to deliver this economic uplift and future capacity is being constrained by inadequate rail links. LLA is London’s fastest growing airport but currently the only major London airport without the direct express-style rail links that London’s main airports, and so many airports on the continent, take for granted.

The DfT’s ongoing consultation on the new East Midlands Rail franchise offers the opportunity to deliver more fast trains to LLA by simply stopping trains that already pass through the station every day. Doing so would improve the journeys of the thousands of passengers who travel on the line, and drive significant economic growth in the local region and across the UK.

It also offers an opportunity for positive environmental impacts too. More fast trains would see a greater use of public transport with an estimated 70,000 fewer car journeys and a reduction of CO2 emissions by 500 tonnes each year.

These social, environmental and economic outcomes can be achieved through timetable change alone, meaning it requires no capital expenditure from government. What’s more, it would deliver £110m extra revenue for the rail industry. At a time when the public purse strings are tighter than ever, this is an opportunity the government cannot not afford to ignore.

There is a clear and immediate opportunity to deliver quick and inexpensive measures that will ensure the UK remains connected and competitive and, in doing so, help make sure the aviation sector can play its part in securing the nation’s prosperity.

Let’s not miss that opportunity.


Andy McDonald – Shadow Secretary of State for Transport

Following the decision to leave the EU, supporting UK aviation has become more, not less, critical if the UK is to remain a global, outward-looking trading nation.

A third runway at Heathrow remains subject to a Commons vote and, even if given the final go-ahead, it will not be completed for at least another 10-15 years. Heathrow is not a silver bullet for solving our air capacity constraints.

We face capacity challenges here and now. That’s why more needs to be done to support connectivity into and out of other airports across the UK to unlock existing unused capacity, and develop the huge potential they have.


Richard Tunnicliffe – CBI Regional Director, East of England

As the government seeks to boost Britain’s economic prosperity, ensuring productivity is spread across the UK must be a priority. As set out in the CBI’s Unlocking regional growth report, the prize for doing so is a £175bn boost to England’s economy over the next decade. Improving infrastructure to better connect our towns and cities with each other, as well as with the rest of the world, will play a key role in this.

Businesses recognise the need to link the whole of the UK to international markets at a time when boosting UK trade is more important than ever. In welcoming the Heathrow expansion decision the CBI was clear that this must be the starting point for more strategic thinking on UK aviation, and businesses are therefore encouraged that the process to develop an aviation strategy is underway. With new capacity taking up to, and possibly beyond, a decade to deliver more intensive use of existing airport capacity is clearly needed.

But there are steps that can be taken in the short term too. Regional airports are key to easing the capacity crunch but inadequate public transport links are a significant limiting factor in them realising their full potential. One example is right on our doorstep; the re-letting of the new East Midlands Rail franchise offers the opportunity to deliver more fast trains to London Luton Airport by simply stopping trains that already pass through the station every day. Doing so will provide a significant boost in maximising our region’s growth and bringing local businesses closer to the world.

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2017/12/third-runway-heathrow-not-silver-bullet

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Heathrow coach company fined £21,000 + for dumping toilet waste into River Crane

The Environment Agency (EA) has revealed that a Heathrow coach company has been fined for dumping toxic waste in the River Crane. Symphony Chauffeurs Ltd, based near Heathrow Airport, broke environmental law when staff poured waste into sewers, instead of taking the waste to an approved site for disposal.  The company has been fined and charged with allowing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter into the River Crane, between May 2015 and February 2016, and failing to provide the EA with documents relating to their activities. Responding to the news the Chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) Jackie Clark-Basten, said: “We are glad about the outcome of this investigation by the Environment Agency.  Heathrow have a poor record of polluting the local area with hazardous substances (eg. de-icers like ethylene glycol, as well as cleaning fluids, paint, and kerosene) and yet in the Government’s draft National Policy Statement, they admit the likely detriment to local water quality with expansion, but also admit no work has been undertaken on this issue and it will only be undertaken at a much later stage in the process. The wider question that needs to now be asked is can we really afford to take the chance of further contamination of local water?”

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Heathrow coach company fined for dumping toilet waste in River Crane

Responding to the news that a Heathrow coach company has been fined for dumping toxic waste in the River Crane (1), Chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion Jackie Clark-Basten, said:

“We are glad about the outcome of this investigation by the Environment Agency.

Run off water from Heathrow containing hydrocarbons, de-iceants, cleaning fluids, paint, kerosene and other toxic liquids are being dumped daily into three large open balancing pits around the airport. 

Heathrow have a poor record of polluting the local area with hazardous substances and yet in the Government’s draft National Policy Statement, they admit the likely detriment to local water quality with expansion, but also admits no work has been undertaken on this issue and it will only be undertaken at a much later stage in the process.

The wider question that needs to now be asked is can we really afford to take the chance of further contamination of local water?”

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Notes:

  1. Environment Agency Press Release https://www.gov.uk/government/news/heathrow-coach-firm-polluted-river-with-toilet-waste?utm_source
  2. Chemicals used to de-ice aircraft are ethylene glycol and propylene glycol, both deadly substances in small quantities. Ethylene glycol causes central nervous system depression and kidney and liver damage.  Just a 1.4ml dosage of these substances is deemed toxic. Additional pollutants, including aircraft fuel and other substances are also washed off the planes during de-icing procedures. These pollutants have been found in local rivers and lakes, presenting not only a hazard to the public, but also wildlife and biodiversity. How much worse would this become with expansion?
  3. Background information on Heathrow water quality http://www.cranevalley.org.uk/documents/Improvements_to_Heathrow_Airport_Water_Discharges_from_Eastern_Balancing_Reservoir-Stakeholder_document.pdf

For more information: Rob Barnstone, 07806947050; info@stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk 

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From the Government:

Heathrow coach firm polluted river with toilet waste

From: Environment Agency 

5 December 2017

Environmental detective work leads to £21,000 fines and £12,000 costs.

A west London river was contaminated after toilets from luxury coaches were emptied into public drains.

Symphony Chauffeurs Ltd, based near Heathrow Airport, broke environmental law when staff poured waste into sewers, instead of taking the waste to an approved site for disposal.

Officers from the Environment Agency turned detective in 2015, tracing pollution in the River Crane to where Symphony operated, a trading estate minutes from the airport.

A monitoring device, called a sonde, found the river had been polluted, and other sondes identified Symphony as the source, which officers confirmed through a network of drains.

The watercourse was further polluted when chemicals and dirty water entered the drains after staff washed vehicles on Symphony’s premises. The firm had been warned by the Environment Agency and the company’s landlords doing so was against the lease. Symphony would have stayed within the law by disposing of the chemicals at an approved site, or by cleaning their cars and coaches at an authorised location.

Symphony Chauffeurs Ltd, Eastern Business Park, Ely Road, Hounslow, was fined £18,000 by Ealing Magistrates’ Court, which ordered the firm to pay £12,113.62 in costs, and a victim surcharge of £170. The company was charged with allowing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter into the River Crane, between May 2015 and February 2016, and failing to provide the Environment Agency with documents relating to their activities.

The sole director of the firm, Allen Jeyakumar, of Lee Road, Greenford, was fined £3,134 by the court, for allowing Symphony to commit the offences. Mr Jeyakumar also had to pay a victim surcharge of £142.

Mathew Reed, who led the investigation for the Environment Agency, said:

Incidents like this have the potential to have a serious and long-term impact on the health of the river. Symphony Chauffeurs Ltd was given repeated warnings about its activities.

People might think we will find it too difficult to trace the cause of pollution, but this case proves that some detective work leads to a conviction.

Identifying pollution through a complex network of drains can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. We have the skills and technology to do it.

Both Symphony Chauffeurs Ltd and Allen Jeyakumar pleaded guilty to all charges at an earlier hearing.

For media enquiries, please call 0800 141 2743, or email southeastpressoffice1@environment-agency.gov.uk.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/heathrow-coach-firm-polluted-river-with-toilet-waste?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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Symphony website is at http://s-coaches.com/

Address

Heathrow International Trading Estate,
Green Lane, London
TW4 6HB
Phone: 020 8756 0004
Fax: 020 8589 0804
Website: www.s-coaches.com 
Email: info@s-coaches.com

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Some earlier incidents of Heathrow water pollution:

Airports, glycols in de-icing liquids and Heathrow local water pollution

There are two main water pollutants arising from the Heathrow site, glycol used for de/anti-icing activities and hydrocarbons from oil and fuel. On 15th December, before the heavy snow on 17th and 18th which closed the airport for several days, that ” Heathrow  had  500,000 litres of de-icing fluid at their disposal.” But the de-icing chemicals are not without their environmental problems, and if allowed to enter ground water or water courses, exert levels of  biological oxygen demand (BOD). 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2011/01/airports-glycols-in-de-icing-liquids-and-heathrow-local-water-pollution/

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Heathrow water pollution incidents:

Heathrow Airport fined for causing death of hundreds of fish

By Dan Coombs.    Uxbridge Gazette

17.5.2010

Heathrow Airport has been fined £13,000 for causing the death of hundreds of fish in a nearby lake.

The Airport last week pleaded guilty to discharging pollutants into the Clockhouse
Lane Pits lake system near Bedfont in April 2008.

This caused oxygen to plummet, killing numerous stickleback, perch and tench,
and thousands more fish had to be relocated to an adjacent lake.

The airport uses a tunnel system allowing it to discharge surface water runoff
into the lake, but on this occasion the maximum lawful limits of pollutants was
exceeded.

The discharge contained glycol, a common ingredient of de-icing fluids, applied
to aeroplanes and runways during periods of cold weather at Heathrow, and it was
this which caused the death of the fish in the lake.

A spokesperson for the Environmental Agency described the effects on the fish
population as having a ‘devastating impact’ and caused a significant loss of revenue
for recreational companies working in and around the lake.

The airport paid £195,000 in compensation to the Princes Ski Club, who lease
the lake, for their loss of business, as it was forced to close for a week as
the clean-up took place.

The airport was also asked to pay £15,000 in court costs.


 

29.9.2010   (Water Briefing)
https://www.waterbriefing.org/index.php/home/regulation-and-legislation/item/2817-company-fined-%C2%A340k-for-heathrow-groundwater-pollution?tmpl=component&print=1

 

Company fined £40K for Heathrow groundwater pollution

A London company responsible for supplying jet fuel at Heathrow Airport was fined

£40,000 last week and ordered to pay the Environment Agency in excess of £14,000
for its costs, after severely polluting groundwater beneath the airport, with
at least 139,000 litres of Jet A-1 aviation fuel.

Heathrow Hydrant Operating Company Limited (HHOpCo), of 8 York Road, London SE1

had pleaded guilty at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in June this year to causing
polluting matter to enter the Taplow Gravels groundwater, contrary to section
85 (1) and (6) of the Water Resources Act 1991. The case had been committed to
Isleworth Crown Court for sentence.

The court heard that on 29 November 2007 HHOpCo informed the Environment Agency

of a leak in the fuel supply pipeline to aircraft stands at Heathrow’s Terminal
One building. The leak was discovered by HHOpCo nine days earlier following an
unrelated report from BAA about a report of jet fuel odour in a nearby access
tunnel. Without this unrelated report, it is not known how long the leak would
have continued to go undetected for. HHOpCo conducted an overnight pressure test
on the hydrant system and confirmed the leak, but failed to notify the Environment
Agency immediately.

On further investigation HHOpCo staff identified a valve chamber full of approximately
8,000 litres of aviation fuel. Once the valve chamber was emptied, fuel was seen
leaking out of one of the attachments on the hydrant. Two bolts on the attachment
were so badly corroded that they had caused the leak, which was estimated at the
time of discovery to flow at 10 litres of fuel per minute. A later estimate corrected
the leak to 7 litres per minute. It is not known how long the leak had been going
on for or the total volume of fuel lost.

All bolts and valves on that section of pipeline were subsequently replaced to
stop the leak. The section was pressure tested and returned to normal operation
the following morning. The chamber in question has now been decommissioned.

HHOpCo attended an interview under caution at the Environment Agency office on

the 12 March 2009. The company admitted during the interview that a £7 million
automated leak detection system had been malfunctioning at the time and had not
detected the leak. This was also indicated in HHOpCo’s investigation report, which
revealed that the leak detection system was not working for at least five months
prior to the Environment Agency being notified of the incident. The company did
not put a manual testing system in place despite knowing that the automated system
was not working properly.

It quickly became clear that jet fuel had been leaking for some time. A specialist

remediation company sank boreholes to recover fuel and remediate the affected
area. As at June 2010 139,391 litres have been recovered and is still being recovered
at a rate of 80—100 litres per week.   The cost of remediation to date is approximately
£1 million.

Mohammed Jama, the Environment Agency’s lead officer on the case, said:

“Heathrow Hydrant Operating Company’s carelessness has led to the extensive pollution of groundwater. Fortunately, to date, we have not seen any major impact to local rivers but jet fuel in groundwater has the potential to seriously harm the environment and water quality. The fine issued reflects the serious effect that HHOpCo’s failures have had on the Taplow Gravels.”

“Once groundwater becomes polluted it is very difficult to clean up. We hope that the fine issued will act as a prompt to HHOpCo and similar companies, reminding them of the importance of compliance and making sure that their actions do not cause harm to or damage the environment.”

HHOpCo’s contractors have been in charge of remediation and monitoring of the
fuel plume and continue to provide updates to the Environment Agency.

 

 

 

Company  fined £40K for Heathrow groundwater pollution

29.9.2010 (due to oil spill, not de-icing fluid)

In the recent snowy and icy weather, immense volumes of de-icing liquids were
used on planes at our airports, with Gatwick and Heathrow using the most.   On
15th December, before the heavy snow on 17th and 18th which closed the airport
for several days, that ”  Heathrow now has 69 vehicles on its Snow Team, with 500,000 litres of de-icing fluid at their disposal.”

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and more at end of this page  http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2011/01/airports-glycols-in-de-icing-liquids-and-heathrow-local-water-pollution/

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Read more »

Heathrow may back 3rd runway play by Arora, destroying even more homes than NW runway scheme

Heathrow have backed a new plan for a 3rd runway, which appears to cut construction costs for the scheme at the expense of the loss of even more homes and communities, in an attempt to persuade politicians to vote through the scheme in 2018. The scheme, proposed by the Arora Group is for a 500 metre shorter runway, a bit further east. It might cost £6.7 billion less than Heathrow Airport’s own North West Runway plan. John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s CEO, said : “it would not surprise us if we do something with him [Arora] as we expand the airport.” The Arora plan would bring parts of Harlington inside the new airport boundary, along with the whole of Sipson. It would also leave Longford village boxed in and sandwiched metres between two runways. The total number of homes that would be set for demolition would be much closer to a thousand, even higher than Heathrow’s own proposal of 783 homes lost. The plan would bring the new airport boundary closer to the original scheme put forward by BAA in 2009, which was successfully defeated in the High Court. That plan proposed a 2,200-metre runway across Sipson and Harlington. Residents in the Heathrow villages are upset, as this causes yet more uncertainty, worry and fear about their future. 
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Heathrow back new runway play destroying even more homes

4 December 2017 (Stop Heathrow Expansion press release)

http://heathrow.thearoragroup.com/proposal/smarter-runway-modifications/

Heathrow Airport have backed a new plan for a third runway, which appears to cut construction costs for the scheme at the expense of the loss of even more homes and communities, in an attempt to persuade politicians to vote through the scheme in 2018.

The scheme, proposed by the founder of the Arora Group, Surinder Arora, would bring the runway further east and reduce its length by 500 metres, costing £6.7bn less than Heathrow Airport’s own North West Runway plan.

John Holland-Kaye, the company’s CEO, revealed today that “it would not surprise us if we do something with him [Arora] as we expand the airport” before adding “he is an important local stakeholder and it would amaze me if we don’t do something together” (1).

The plan would bring parts of Harlington inside the new airport boundary, along with the whole of Sipson. It would also leave Longford village boxed in and sandwiched metres between two runways (2). The total number of homes that would be set for demolition would be much closer to a thousand, even higher than Heathrow’s own proposal (3).

Jackie Clark-Basten, Chair of campaign group Stop Heathrow Expansion, said“People’s lives are being played with. This proposal by Arora and now backed by Heathrow shows that Heathrow is acting out of desperation in order to get this runway, with little care as to who and how they blight people who previously thought they were not going to face losing their home.

 “Despite Heathrow spending millions over the past 5 years telling politicians how much different this proposal is from their previous proposal, it is looking more and more similar.”

The plan would bring the new airport boundary closer to the original scheme put forward by BAA in 2009, which was successfully defeated in the High Court. That plan proposed a 2,200-metre runway across Sipson and Harlington.

Christine Taylor, Harlington resident whose home falls within the proposed Compulsory Purchase Zone for the first time, said: “This is ludicrous. Despite Heathrow claiming the last third runway proposal is totally different, it may turn out very similar to the original proposal we fought off last time.

“Clearly a third runway is undeliverable and endless versions and proposals serve only to show their desperation, as we head towards a parliamentary vote.”

Ends.

Notes for editors:

  1. Daily Telegraph, 4 December 2017 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/12/03/heathrow-may-work-rival-runway-expansion/
  2. Map of the Arora Scheme http://heathrow.thearoragroup.com/proposal/smarter-runway-modifications/
  3. http://heathrow.thearoragroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Response-from-the-Arora-Group.pdf

http://stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/press-releases-1/2017/12/4/heathrow-backs-new-runway-plan-destroying-even-more-homes

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See earlier:

Holland-Kaye not ruling out Heathrow working with rival bid, by Arora, on building 3rd runway scheme

Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye has said he is not ruling out some form of collaboration with the team behind the Arora group bid to build a 3rd Heathrow runway.  Surinder Arora, a rich businessman who owns 16 hotels, a golf course and his own private airfield, is the largest single landowner on the site marked for Heathrow expansion. In July he put forward a plan, with US engineering firm Bechtel, in which he claimed the expansion could be done for £12.4 billion (shorter runway, bit further east) – roughly £5 billion cheaper than Heathrow’s initial estimate. Heathrow has since altered its plans to bring down construction costs, as airlines and investors are opposed to the sky-high costs.  Now Heathrow may also try to work with Mr Arora’s company in some way. Holland-Kaye said: “It would not surprise us if we do something with him …” but would not speculate on what. Heathrow and the Arora Group are currently working on two  Heathrow hotels. The 2nd DfT consultation on the Airports NPS (for the 3rd Heathrow runway) welcomed competing bids for the work and stated the Government did not have a preference for who constructed the 3rd runway as long as it met the specifications outlined by the Airports Commission.  Jock Lowe is still promoting his “Heathrow Hub” scheme, for an extended northern runway, which is claimed to cost around £10 billion.

Click here to view full story…

Rival Heathrow expansion consortium, Arora, upbeat as Government opens door to competition

The Telegraph reports that the government has said it welcomes competition in the construction of the nation’s airports. Hotel owner Surinder Arora had earlier this year proposed a cheaper way to build a Heathrow 3rd runway, cutting about £5 billion off the price. Government documents related to the expansion had previously assumed Heathrow would be in charge of the construction project and choose which contractors it wanted to help it fulfil the scheme. But the DfT says in the revised consultation on its Airports NPS (National Policy Statement) that it would welcome competing bids for the work. The NPS consultation says: “For the avoidance of doubt, the Airports NPS does not identify any statutory undertaker as the appropriate person or appropriate persons to carry out the preferred scheme.” And there could be “more than one application for development consent, dealing with different components individually”. The Telegraph believes a key difference, if a body other than Heathrow did the building, would be that the party behind the construction would receive the associated income it generates from passenger and airline charges, as well as retail rental payments. But there could be more risks, more costs etc.

Click here to view full story…

Airport hotel tycoon, Surinder Arora, wants Heathrow runway built soon – but a bit cheaper

A wealthy hotel tycoon, Surinder Arora, has submitted plans for a 3rd Heathrow. He has been a long time backer of a runway, and says his plan would be £5 billion cheaper than what Heathrow is offering (costing £17.5 billion). He has put his proposal to the government’s public consultation on Heathrow (the NPS consultation actually closed on 25th May.) Heathrow has been trying to find ways to make their runway + terminal scheme cheaper, as the airlines are not keen on paying the higher charges that would be needed. Ticket prices would rise. (ie. lower airline profit). The Arora Group’s proposals include altering the design of terminal buildings and taxiways, and reducing the amount of land to be built on.  They know the alterations to roads, including the M25 and the junction of the M25 and the M4, are massive problems and “threaten deliverability” of the runway project. They therefore want to “shift the runway”. Where to?  All this shows how very uncertain the runway plan has become, and the immense doubts – especially on money. Heathrow said they would welcome views on various options  “in the public consultation later this year.” The plans must first be assessed by the Commons transport committee, be amended by the DfT and then voted on in Parliament …. it is not a quick process.

Click here to view full story…

Arora’s plan for a cheaper 3rd Heathrow runway means putting it further east. ie. more noise for London

Surinder Arora, a hotel magnate, wants to get the 3rd Heathrow runway built quickly, and has made some suggestions of how it could be done more easily – and at least £5-6 billion more cheaply. But his scheme, for a shorter northern runway, means there would be even more noise pollution over London than from Heathrow’s own £17.6bn proposal. Heathrow airport did not, apparently, know of his plans till he went public with them.  If the new runway was shorter (3.2km not 3.5km) and moved a bit east, to Sipson, there would be cost savings. But this could mean noisier flights over London as aircraft may have to fly slightly lower over London by something like 300 feet or so (at a guess). One of Heathrow’s reasons for its own location for the runway was to get this 300 ft or so height gain, claiming it would make all the difference to noise levels.  The 2009 scheme, by Heathrow, for a much shorter 2.2km runway failed in part because of noise concerns, as did a plan for a 2.8km runway rejected by the Airports Commission. Willie Walsh of IAG, and Craig Keeper of Virgin Atlantic, want the cheapest scheme possible, to keep their costs down, and avoid having to increase the cost of their air fares. Amusingly, the Heathrow airport runway plan involves demolishing one of Mr Arora’s 5 hotels at the airport, two of which are under construction. Mr Arora says he was not informed by Heathrow (Willie Walsh claimed the same, for his head office building).

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/07/aroras-plan-for-a-cheaper-3rd-heathrow-runway-means-putting-it-further-east-ie-more-noise-for-london/

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Read more »

Holland-Kaye not ruling out Heathrow working with rival bid, by Arora, on building 3rd runway scheme

Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye has said he is not ruling out some form of collaboration with the team behind the Arora group bid to build a 3rd Heathrow runway.  Surinder Arora, a rich businessman who owns 16 hotels, a golf course and his own private airfield, is the largest single landowner on the site marked for Heathrow expansion. In July he put forward a plan, with US engineering firm Bechtel, in which he claimed the expansion could be done for £12.4 billion  (shorter runway, bit further east) – roughly £5 billion cheaper than Heathrow’s initial estimate. Heathrow has since altered its plans to bring down construction costs, as airlines and investors are opposed to the sky-high costs.  Now Heathrow may also try to work with Mr Arora’s company in some way. Holland-Kaye said: “It would not surprise us if we do something with him …” but would not speculate on what. Heathrow and the Arora Group are currently working on two  Heathrow hotels. The 2nd DfT consultation on the Airports NPS (for the 3rd Heathrow runway) welcomed competing bids for the work and stated the Government did not have a preference for who constructed the 3rd runway as long as it met the specifications outlined by the Airports Commission.  Jock Lowe is still promoting his “Heathrow Hub” scheme, for an extended northern runway, which is claimed to cost around £10 billion.
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Heathrow may work with rival on runway expansion

Heathrow may find some way of collaborating on part of its expansion with rival Arora Group

By Bradley Gerrard and Alan Tovey (Telegraph)

3 DECEMBER 2017

Heathrow boss John Holland Kaye has said he is not ruling out some form of collaboration with the team behind a rival expansion plan for the airport’s third runway.

Surinder Arora, a business magnate who owns 16 hotels, a golf course and his own private airfield, is the largest single landowner on the site marked for expansion.

He has released a plan alongside US engineering firm Bechtel in August in which he claimed the third runway project could be delivered for £12.4bn – roughly £5bn cheaper than Heathrow’s initial estimate. Heathrow has since altered its plans to bring down construction costs but may also try to work with Mr Arora’s company in some way.

“It would not surprise us if we do something with him as we expand the airport,” Mr Holland Kaye said. “He is an important local stakeholder and it would amaze me if we don’t do something together.”

Heathrow boss John Holland Kaye says he is working with airlines to try to keep charges close to today’s levels

Heathrow and the Arora Group are currently working on two hotels at the site but Mr Holland Kaye said he “really could not speculate” about what further collaboration might involve.

The comments come shortly after the Department for Transport issued a revised draft Airports National Policy Statement, a document which forms part of the process of airport expansion and which will be scrutinised by the Transport select committee in the House of Commons this week.

The document welcomed competing bids for the work and stated the Government did not have a preference for who constructed the third runway as long as it met the specifications outlined by the Airports Commission.

Mr Holland Kaye said, however, it was important for one organisation to run the airport and claimed this model had helped Heathrow improve punctuality and customer satisfaction in ­recent years.

The plans to add a runway at Heathrow have been criticised by one of the rival proposals, Heathrow Hub, which claims they will not be able to deliver the promised annual 740,000 flights.

Heathrow Hub said rather than building an entirely new runway, the northern one should be extended and used simultaneously for take-offs and landings, a solution it said could be ­delivered for less than £10bn.

The group commissioned engineering consultancy Ebeni to examine the current plan. Ebeni said a taxiway needed to link the new northern runway would reduce the amount of flights, because tail fins of large aircraft such as Airbus A380s and Boeing 747s using the taxiway would get in the way of aircraft taking off, creating a possible safety risk.

Ebeni said having to wait for these aircraft to clear the space required for take-off would create delays and reduce capacity from the stated 740,000 flights a year under the current plans to fewer than 700,000.

Heathrow’s chief executive wants to offer more regional routes, including to towns such as Newquay.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/12/03/heathrow-may-work-rival-runway-expansion/
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See earlier:

Rival Heathrow expansion consortium, Arora, upbeat as Government opens door to competition

The Telegraph reports that the government has said it welcomes competition in the construction of the nation’s airports. Hotel owner Surinder Arora had earlier this year proposed a cheaper way to build a Heathrow 3rd runway, cutting about £5 billion off the price. Government documents related to the expansion had previously assumed Heathrow would be in charge of the construction project and choose which contractors it wanted to help it fulfil the scheme. But the DfT says in the revised consultation on its Airports NPS (National Policy Statement) that it would welcome competing bids for the work. The NPS consultation says: “For the avoidance of doubt, the Airports NPS does not identify any statutory undertaker as the appropriate person or appropriate persons to carry out the preferred scheme.” And there could be “more than one application for development consent, dealing with different components individually”. The Telegraph believes a key difference, if a body other than Heathrow did the building, would be that the party behind the construction would receive the associated income it generates from passenger and airline charges, as well as retail rental payments. But there could be more risks, more costs etc.

Click here to view full story…

Airport hotel tycoon, Surinder Arora, wants Heathrow runway built soon – but a bit cheaper

A wealthy hotel tycoon, Surinder Arora, has submitted plans for a 3rd Heathrow. He has been a long time backer of a runway, and says his plan would be £5 billion cheaper than what Heathrow is offering (costing £17.5 billion). He has put his proposal to the government’s public consultation on Heathrow (the NPS consultation actually closed on 25th May.) Heathrow has been trying to find ways to make their runway + terminal scheme cheaper, as the airlines are not keen on paying the higher charges that would be needed. Ticket prices would rise. (ie. lower airline profit). The Arora Group’s proposals include altering the design of terminal buildings and taxiways, and reducing the amount of land to be built on.  They know the alterations to roads, including the M25 and the junction of the M25 and the M4, are massive problems and “threaten deliverability” of the runway project. They therefore want to “shift the runway”. Where to?  All this shows how very uncertain the runway plan has become, and the immense doubts – especially on money. Heathrow said they would welcome views on various options  “in the public consultation later this year.” The plans must first be assessed by the Commons transport committee, be amended by the DfT and then voted on in Parliament …. it is not a quick process.

Click here to view full story…

Arora’s plan for a cheaper 3rd Heathrow runway means putting it further east. ie. more noise for London

Surinder Arora, a hotel magnate, wants to get the 3rd Heathrow runway built quickly, and has made some suggestions of how it could be done more easily – and at least £5-6 billion more cheaply. But his scheme, for a shorter northern runway, means there would be even more noise pollution over London than from Heathrow’s own £17.6bn proposal. Heathrow airport did not, apparently, know of his plans till he went public with them.  If the new runway was shorter (3.2km not 3.5km) and moved a bit east, to Sipson, there would be cost savings. But this could mean noisier flights over London as aircraft may have to fly slightly lower over London by something like 300 feet or so (at a guess). One of Heathrow’s reasons for its own location for the runway was to get this 300 ft or so height gain, claiming it would make all the difference to noise levels.  The 2009 scheme, by Heathrow, for a much shorter 2.2km runway failed in part because of noise concerns, as did a plan for a 2.8km runway rejected by the Airports Commission. Willie Walsh of IAG, and Craig Keeper of Virgin Atlantic, want the cheapest scheme possible, to keep their costs down, and avoid having to increase the cost of their air fares. Amusingly, the Heathrow airport runway plan involves demolishing one of Mr Arora’s 5 hotels at the airport, two of which are under construction. Mr Arora says he was not informed by Heathrow (Willie Walsh claimed the same, for his head office building).

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/07/aroras-plan-for-a-cheaper-3rd-heathrow-runway-means-putting-it-further-east-ie-more-noise-for-london/

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Read more »

Safety report by consultants Ebeni says Heathrow 3rd runway could only be used part of the time, due to taxiway location

A report from engineering safety consultants, Ebeni, says Heathrow will not be able to expand to its promised 740,000 flights a year because of safety flaws involving its proposed 3rd runway. Heathrow needs to get the number of flights up, to pay for the massive cost of the runway and associated building, but Ebeni believes there could not be more than 700,000 flights per year, because the new taxiway (linking the 3rd runway to the terminals) at the end of the northern runway could interfere with departures. Ebeni’s aviation experts think the tail fins of large planes like the A380 or 747 are so high that they would infringe on the clearance space needed by planes taking off over them. Therefore that taxiway could be used only between departures on the northern runway, reducing the number of flights by 15 per hour. The Ebeni report was commissioned by Heathrow Hub, that wants to build a 3rd runway, but as a western extension of the current northern runway.  Ebeni also expect the Heathrow north-west runway scheme would would have a much worse noise impact on homes than Heathrow has suggested.  The full report is not available to the public, but Heathrow Hub’s Jack Lowe is giving oral evidence to the Transport Committee on 4th December.
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Heathrow Hub tweeted: 

Report by engineering consultant Ebeni accuses Heathrow runway expansion plan of safety flaw

Airport’s runway plan impossible to deliver, says report

By John Collingridge (The Sunday Times)
December 3 2017

Heathrow will not be able to expand to its promised 740,000 flights a year because of safety flaws involving its third runway, a new report claims.

The airport will be restricted to fewer than 700,000 flights annually, undermining a core pillar of its £17.6bn expansion plan, according to the report by the engineering consultancy Ebeni. The main concern is a new taxiway at the end of the northern runway, which it is claimed could interfere with departures.

Ebeni’s aviation experts think the tail fins of large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 superjumbo and Boeing 747 would infringe on the clearance space needed by other planes taking off.

 

See full  Times story at

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/report-by-engineering-consultant-ebeni-accuses-heathrow-runway-expansion-plan-of-safety-flaw-6x7hmkfrv

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Read more »

Moody’s expects a slowdown in traffic growth at UK airports as airlines move capacity elsewhere

Moody’s report on European airports in 2018 expects “strong” growth at most, though “significant event risks around Brexit could slow the pace of growth in passenger numbers in the UK.”   This is the first time Moody’s has assigned a separate outlook to the European airport sector. Previously, the rating agency had assigned an outlook to the overall European transport infrastructure sector, comprising the toll road, airport and sea port sectors. For air travel Moody’s sees an improved economic environment, continued low fuel costs, relatively contained airfare inflation and growing airline capacity – so increasing the demand. They expect traffic growth of 5%-7% for continental airports but 3%-6% at UK airports. “This reflects the UK’s more subdued macro prospects, as well as the decision by some airlines to move some capacity away from the UK to more profitable markets, such as Germany, resulting in lower capacity increases than those experienced in recent years.”  While Moody’s base case is for new aviation agreements to be put in place post-Brexit, in the most extreme case, if no new aviation agreements are reached, UK airports would be exposed to a sudden loss of air traffic rights covering around 80% of current passenger traffic volumes. [But the DfT is anticipating rapidly rising air travel demand, to justify building a new runway at Heathrow … now in question?]

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Moody’s expects a slowdown in traffic growth at UK airports as airlines move capacity elsewhere

29 November 2017

By Rebecca Smith (City AM)

The report said significant event risks around Brexit could slow the pace of passenger growth at UK airports

While Europe’s airport sector as a whole is poised to reap the rewards from robust traffic growth over the next year and a half, the UK faces the prospect of a slowdown as airlines shift capacity elsewhere, according to a new report from Moody’s.

The influential ratings agency said the 2018 outlook for European airports overall was positive, as traffic growth looks set to remain strong, though it did forecast a slowdown at UK airports, reflecting “the UK’s more subdued macro prospects”.

Moody’s also flagged the decision by some airlines to move some capacity away from the UK to “more profitable markets, such as Germany”, resulting in lower capacity rises than those reported in recent years.

Continental airports are expected to report traffic growth in a range of five to seven per cent, while the UK is expected to post three to six per cent growth.

Over the first nine months of 2017, the 10 largest European airports reported average passenger growth of 4.9 per cent, and Heathrow remains Europe’s busiest, despite its capacity crunch. It reported a three per cent rise in passengers over that period, boosted by larger and fuller aircraft.

“An improved economic environment, particularly in continental Europe, combined with continued low fuel costs, relatively contained air fare inflation, and growing airline capacity, will continue to stimulate demand for air travel and support the European airport sector’s positive outlook,” said Xavier Lopez del Rincon, vice president – senior credit officer at Moody’s.

The outcome of Brexit negotiations also weighed on Moody’s consideration, saying Britain’s departure from the European Union brings in further downside risks for UK airports.

The report said:

While Moody’s base case is for new aviation agreements to be put in place post-Brexit, in the most extreme case, if no new aviation agreements are reached, UK airports would be exposed to a sudden loss of air traffic rights covering around 80 per cent of current passenger traffic volumes.

The UK’s aviation industry has been vocal about the need to secure certainty over future flying rights, with the outgoing boss of London City Airport saying last month he was “incredibly worried” about the “level of complacency that appears to be drifting into our thinking”.

“I see no clear path, all I see is a huge degree of uncertainty facing the industry, and I think it’s bad for the UK, and it’s bad for the EU,” Declan Collier said.

The government meanwhile, has said it is committed to getting the right deal for Britain, calling aviation “absolutely crucial” to the UK’s economy.

http://www.cityam.com/276652/moodys-expects-slowdown-traffic-growth-uk-airports-airlines

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The Moody’s report

https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-Strong-passenger-growth-supports-European-airport-sectors-positive-outlook–PR_376108

 

Announcement: 

Moody’s: Strong passenger growth supports European airport sector’s positive outlook into 2018

Global Credit Research –
29 Nov 2017

Robust traffic growth will underpin the positive outlook on Europe’s airport sector over the next 12-18 months, though significant event risks around Brexit could slow the pace of growth in passenger numbers in the UK, says Moody’s Investors Service in a report published today.

Moody’s report, “Airports — Europe: 2018 outlook positive as traffic growth remains strong, but with downside risks,” is available on www.moodys.com. Moody’s subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the end of this press release. The rating agency’s report is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action.

This is the first time Moody’s has assigned a separate outlook to the European airport sector. Previously, the rating agency had assigned an outlook to the overall European transport infrastructure sector, comprising the toll road, airport and sea port sectors.

“An improved economic environment, particularly in continental Europe, combined with continued low fuel costs, relatively contained airfare inflation and growing airline capacity, will continue to stimulate demand for air travel and support the European airport sector’s positive outlook,” says Xavier Lopez del Rincon, Vice President — Senior Credit Officer at Moody’s.

Moody’s estimates that traffic growth will remain strong in 2018, in the range of 5%-7% for continental airports, but expects a slowdown at UK airports, with growth in the range of 3%-6%. This reflects the UK’s more subdued macro prospects, as well as the decision by some airlines to move some capacity away from the UK to more profitable markets, such as Germany, resulting in lower capacity increases than those experienced in recent years.

Brexit introduces further downside risks for UK airports. While Moody’s base case is for new aviation agreements to be put in place post-Brexit, in the most extreme case, if no new aviation agreements are reached, UK airports would be exposed to a sudden loss of air traffic rights covering around 80% of current passenger traffic volumes.

Terrorism and geopolitical risks continue to introduce volatility and drive geographical divergence in traffic performance. Barring further shocks, Moody’s expects that leisure travel will be better distributed among Mediterranean destinations from 2018 onwards, as passenger traffic at non-EU Mediterranean countries, such as Turkey, and North Africa continues to recover.

While Manchester, Schiphol and Stansted airports will ramp up large expansionary projects in 2018 and average capital expenditure levels will rise at Birmingham, Brussels and Copenhagen airports, Moody’s does not foresee increased investment levels as having a significant impact on issuers’ financial profiles. This is because projects have been designed so that they can be deferred or postponed to match trading conditions, they will in most cases boost tariffs, and they are being financed at historically low rates.

Airline industry consolidation and increasing oil prices present risks to traffic growth in the medium term. As the airline industry consolidates, stronger airlines and higher oil prices could lead to higher fares and rationalisation of capacity.

Subscribers (only) can access the report at:

http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_1100063

https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-Strong-passenger-growth-supports-European-airport-sectors-positive-outlook–PR_376108

 

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Stevenage aircraft noise: Luton airport extends delayed landing gear trials

Planes flying over Stevenage on their way into Luton will continue to delay lowering their landing gear as part of an extended trial to reduce noise over the town.  Luton airport started the trial between May and June this year, with more than 75% of aircraft delaying their landing gear deployment – which cuts down drag and reduces noise for the areas that benefit. The trial started after discussions between the airport, Stevenage residents, town MP Stephen McPartland and Stevenage Borough Council. Over the trial period, Luton airport says average noise from aircraft reduced by 2.7dB at six nautical miles and 3.4dB at seven nautical miles from the airport, meaning (technically) that noise on the ground was reduced by an average of 50%. (In reality, 3 dB is the smallest change in noise the human ear can detect, and the “50%” reduction is just because noise is measured on a logarithmic scale …. that makes the cut sound far better than it is ….) But there has been a small but noticeable reduction in noise and communities that have benefited have asked the airport to continue running the trial. Luton airport has revised its arrival code of practice to include recommendations to delay the deployment of landing gear. Three airline operators have also amended their standard operating practices to include the recommendations.
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Stevenage aircraft noise: Luton airport extends delayed landing gear trials

By Martin Elvery

1.12.2017

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Aeroplanes passing over Stevenage on their way into London Luton Airport will continue to delay lowering their landing gear as part of an extended trial to reduce noise over the town. 

LLA began the trial between May and June this year, with more than three quarters of aircraft delaying their landing gear deployment – which the airport says cuts down drag and reduces noise.

The trial came after discussions between the airport, Stevenage residents, town MP Stephen McPartland and Stevenage Borough Council.

Over the trial period, the airport says average noise from aircraft reduced by 2.7dB at six nautical miles and 3.4dB at seven nautical miles from the airport, meaning noise on the ground was reduced by an average of 50 per cent.

As a result, it says communities reported a noticeable reduction in noise and have asked the airport to continue running the trial.

Mr McPartland has applauded the extension.

He said: “I would like to congratulate London Luton Airport on their efforts to reduce the impacts of aircraft noise for those living below the flightpath in Stevenage.

“I am extremely encouraged by the work they have put into this trial, but will continue to lobby the airport to ensure they do all they can to minimise the impacts and maximise the benefits of the airport on my constituents.”

Councillor John Gardner, executive member for environment and regeneration at SBC, said: “The council has been an active member of the London Luton Airport Consultative for a number of years and we thank them for holding a special Aircraft Noise Surgery for Stevenage residents earlier this year.

“We welcome the results of the landing gear trail reducing noise levels and will continue to talk to the Airport authorities and central government as we are aware that this is a problem for Stevenage residents.

“We recognise the important economic benefits of Luton Airport, but it is vital that Airport management continue to listen to the concerns of those that live on the flight paths and use the latest technologies and innovation to reduce the impact of noise. We will be meeting with Luton Borough Council to discuss the issues raised by the growth plans for Luton Airport as we hope the positive measures the airport has taken will not be lost as the number of flights increases.”

LLA has revised its arrival code of practice to include recommendations to delay the deployment of landing gear. Three airline operators have also amended their standard operating practices to include the recommendations.

LLA continues to work with the airlines and aircraft operators which did not take part in the trial to encourage them to delay deployment of landing gear where possible.

Luton Airpot operations director Neil Thompson said: “The trial is just one part of our commitment to reducing noise, and we’re working hard to ensure more of our airline partners adopt this initiative.

“The 50 per cent noise reduction and positive feedback from local communities has been great to see. “

“Noise is an unavoidable part of running an airport, and our aim is to work constructively with local communities and our partners to strike the right balance between minimising the impact of this noise while maximising the benefits of a successful airport to the communities it supports,” he added.

http://www.thecomet.net/news/stevenage-aircraft-noise-luton-airport-extends-delayed-landing-gear-trials-1-5303619

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