The trial of a new flight path to the west of Edinburgh airport started on 25th June. The airport itself does not say how long the trial with last, but reports say either 5 months or 6 months. The trial sees southbound planes take off over Broxburn and Uphall before turning east over the Forth, then south over East Lothian. The aim of the trial is to speed up departures, increase the number of planes than can be handled, and make more money for airlines and the airport. Edinburgh airport says if the trial is a “success,” [a success may mean if the level of opposition is low enough, or can be discounted] it could cut the minimum interval between take-offs from two minutes to one minute, doubling the potential number of flights by large planes from the airport. That could mean increasing the total number of flights by 20% to around 120,000 per year. People finding themselves under the new, narrow, route are experiencing much worse plane noise than before – especially as much of the new flight path is on a turn. People are encouraged to contact the airport and make complaints, if they are not happy with the new situation. Edinburgh airport says: “If the trial is successful it will continue for a bit longer” (ie. no end date?) going through the formal Airspace Change Process by the CAA. Once that is done, the route will be permanent – after a public consultation and the statutory change process.
The map below from Edinburgh Airport shows the three existing routes for westerly take-offs, and the proposed new route to be trialled, “TUTUR” shown in red.
Edinburgh says: ” for the trial of this new route we’re installing noise monitors at various points along the route to measure the amount of noise that may be created by aircraft using it.”.
Anyone wanting to complain about a particular flight needs to contact 0800 731 3397 (freephone 24/7). “All callers will be asked to leave their name and contact information, along with details of the date and time of any disturbance. All calls are recorded and complaints investigated. The airport aims to contact each individual caller within two working days. They will be provided with either an answer to their enquiry or will be told how long they can expect to wait for a full response.”
Edinburgh Airport’s new flight path trial starts
The six-month trial will see southbound planes take off over Broxburn and Uphall before turning east over the Forth, then south over East Lothian.
IT is a change of direction that could see departure times for city flights cut in half and bring the Capital’s airport into the 21st century.
A six-month trial of a new take-off route for flights leaving Edinburgh started yesterday, with all ears on the reaction of local communities it passes over.
If the trial is a success it could cut the minimum interval between take-offs from two minutes to one minute, doubling the potential number of flights by large planes from the hub and increasing the total number of flights in and out of the Capital by 20 per cent to around 120,000 every year.
As well as extensive consultation the airport has installed noise monitors along the new route, which will see southbound planes take off over Broxburn and Uphall, before turning east over the Forth, then south over East Lothian – by which point they should
hit a minimum height of 13,000ft.
And after the first day there seemed to be little concern from affected residents – although the airport admitted it was expecting a mixed reaction in early days.
Fraser Graham, treasurer of the Uphall Community Council, said they had not been
spoken to by the airport ahead of the trial, but admitted
that it was too early to tell what the change would mean for people.
“There’s not been a lot of concern locally, but we will keep an eye on it.
“I have noticed a slight increase in the volume of flights going over the area today but it hasn’t been exactly awful – I must confess I thought it had started last week as we’ve seen the lights of a few more planes overhead, but today has been a noticeable increase.”
Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport, with more than 40 airlines serving 100-plus destinations and over 10 million passengers passed through the airport in 2014 – the busiest year ever for a
And that means increasing the number of flights could provide another step up.
Martyn Day, the MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, said he had not had any feedback from local residents and admitted it was case of waiting to see what happened.
“I’m aware the trial has now started and Edinburgh Airport was very upfront and said some residents had expressed concerns, but we will need to see how it goes.
“It is not a great deal of extra noise, as I understand it, but it is a very rural area where any extra noise will be quite noticeable, so it will be difficult to tell what people will think.
“If it goes well then I suppose it’s good news for everyone and if not then at least there is this period to review complaints and look for an alternative.”
David Wilson, chief operating officer of Edinburgh Airport, said: “A trial like this is of vital importance as aircraft currently flying above Scotland are on a network designed in the late 1970s. We’re aiming to upgrade the airspace around Edinburgh Airport, bringing it into the 21st century.
“Not only will this help alleviate pressure on the three existing westerly departure routes, it means we can
efficiently manage the
continual demand for air travel.”
The Edinburgh Airport FAQ page does not give a duration for the trial, or any end date. But it states:
||What happens when the trial finishes?
||If the trial is successful it will continue for a bit longer while Edinburgh Airport follows the formal Airspace Change Process issued by the CAA. Once the Airspace Change Process is complete the new route will no longer be in its trial phase and will form one of the official departure routes from Edinburgh Airport.If the new route trial has been a success and Edinburgh Airport intends to make this a permanent route, a full community consultation and statutory change process will be followed to allow local residents and our neighbours to voice their opinion.
Edinburgh Airport unveils 5 month trial of flight path to boost the airport’s capacity
Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a 5-month trial of a new flight path for aircraft taking off to the west, in a bid to increase capacity. The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June, will introduce a new SID route, the purpose of which is to allow more flights to use the runway, and allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals. This is to “allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.” Most of the time the flights take off to the west and there are currently 3 SID routes – known as Grice (which goes north), Gosam (which goes south west) and Talla (south). The new route – Tutur – will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, passing over West Lothian and to the east of Linlithgow. The settlements worse affected, with planes at 1900 – 2000 feet, would be Uphall and Dechmont. Map Aircraft will climb as they turn, to fly over the coast and down the Firth of Forth passing North Queensferry, and then fly back over land at approximately 13,000ft near Musselburgh. The airport says the aircraft using the trial route are likely to be their least noisy (B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s). The airport says the trial would monitor the impact on local communities, and noise monitors would be placed along the flight path to collect data on the flights.
Some of the comments below the 26.6.2015 article:
Lots of aircraft noise in South Queensferry from new flight path – all through the night. Ed airport estimates noise level the same as “a vacuum cleaner at 1 metre” away.
I live in Broxburn. Was out in working in the garden today and was “just” aware of the noise of a couple of planes in the new flightpath. Doesn’t sound any louder than the noise from the original flight path and can’t say I have heard it when I’m in the house.
If you are interested in seeing how this is going why not send someone out. Planes already not following the flight path and flying directly over Uphall – this is not the test route as advertised by Edinburgh Airport.
the article mentions extensive consultation. Who did they consult with as the representative from Uphall says there had been no consultation. I asked for feedback in April from Edinburgh Airport and had no response even when I went on their Twitter account to follow up my comment left on their microsite. I have left more feedback today so will see if this gets ignored too. It has been constant this morning – noise levels increased substantially. An absolute joke!
From what I can see the planes aren’t following the flightpath either….much to close to the village compared to what is on the map produced by Edinburgh Airport
Lying in bed planes flying out approx every 2mins from 06.40—–07.15 about 12 flights wow
Incidentally, they obviously can`t cope with the amount of traffic they currently have at present as they have demonstrated this week, so just think of the even bigger chaos that will ensue if they do get more flights.
Read more »
The CEOs of Heathrow and Gatwick both say they will continue their campaigns for expansion, whatever the Airports Commission recommends (next week?). Holland-Kaye is trying to make out that Heathrow’s plans for a 3rd runway had been so substantially altered since David Cameron blocked them in 2010 that “the prime minister could defend a decision to change his mind.” (The changes are small – different location, better compensation offers, more attempts to overcome local opposition … same need to destroy communities, make areas almost uninhabitable, immense increase in noise and air pollution etc etc). Gatwick keep attempting to persuade people their runway is more deliverable than Heathrow’s. Both fear the report ending up on a shelf, gathering dust. Heathrow expansion is environmentally and politically just about impossible, but it is what the airlines, the industry and its backers want. Holland-Kaye said Heathrow would not give up pressing for another runway even if the Commission recommends Gatwick. “It’s not a binding report … we’d have to wait and see. A decision hasn’t been made and to some extent the campaigns will keep on going.” As one commentator remarked: “… the most likely final resting place for Sir Howard’s report is a dusty shelf, somewhere in Whitehall.”
Davies report won’t stop our campaigns, say Heathrow and Gatwick chiefs
Airport bosses vow to keep pushing for their expansion plans, no matter what commission set up by David Cameron decides
By Gwyn Topham, Transport correspondent (Guardian)
The bosses of Heathrow and Gatwick airports say they will continue their campaigns for expansion, whatever the outcome of a long-awaited report on the future of air travel around London.
Heathrow’s chief executive said its plans for a third runway had been so substantially altered since David Cameron blocked them in 2010 that the prime minister could defend a decision to change his mind.
But Gatwick’s boss said he believed the airports commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, would favour his plans because they were more easily delivered than those of Heathrow, which are bedevilled by strong political and community opposition.
“People are starting to major on deliverablity,” said Stewart Wingate, the Gatwick chief executive. “We’re expecting that Davies, rather than making the same mistake as in the past, which saw a report gathering dust, will choose the only deliverable option.”
Both said they would continue their campaigns after publication of the commission’s report, which is expected next week. Expansion at the west London hub is favoured by most airlines but is politically fraught. Cameron personally made an unequivocal pledge to stop the third runway going ahead, overturning planning permission in 2010.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, said the plans had completely changed since then, with the new proposal designed around sustainability, noise and air quality targets.
“We’ve changed our plans to meet the concerns of politicians. This is such a different plan, politicians can get behind it. When the facts change, politicians are entitled to take a different position,” he said.
Holland-Kaye said the company had listened to the concerns of Cameron, as well as those of London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, and would now invest hundreds of millions of pounds in improved insulation for local residents and cutting emissions, as well as limiting the effects of noise by building the runway further west.
Despite the launch of a renewed campaign of opposition by prominent Conservatives including Justine Greening and Zac Goldsmith, Holland-Kaye said he was “not particularly worried. We always knew where people like that would stand and they’d use their power to oppose the issue”.
He said support had come from businesses and politicians around Britain, including some Labour contenders for mayor of London. “We’ve never been in this position before,” he said.
Holland-Kaye added that Heathrow would not give up its campaign for another runway even if the commission prefers Gatwick. “It’s not a binding report … we’d have to wait and see. A decision hasn’t been made and to some extent the campaigns will keep on going.
“The problem won’t go away, the issue of getting to growth markets will still exist. Expanding Gatwick won’t change that. All that will happen is that other hub airports in Europe will get our growth.”
Gatwick pointed to changing plane technology and the growth of low-cost long-haul to support its case that future flights will be point to point. Annual financial results revealed on Thursday showed a 7% growth in passengers, with more than 40 million people forecast to fly through the airport this year.
The Heathrow boss Holland-Kaye claimed that a runway would deliver 180,000 jobs and £211bn – the top end of figures cited by the commission – and was confident that the verdict would go his way when Davies reports. “We know that he’s bold and he’s logical and he will recommend what he sees to be right – if you want to be connected to all the markets in the world, it’s got to be Heathrow.”
But Wingate countered: “You only get the economic benefits if it gets built. If Davies says Heathrow, it’ll be a travesty for the UK – it simply won’t happen. History tells us that no matter how many times we go down this route, it won’t happen.”
The commission led by Davies was established by the prime minister in 2012 to examine the need for additional airport capacity in south-east England, with a brief to report after this year’s general election. It has shortlisted two proposals at Heathrow, the airport’s own and another plan from the Heathrow Hub group to lengthen an existing runway, as well as Gatwick’s proposal for a second runway.
“But as we have seen before, the most likely final resting place for Sir Howard’s report is a dusty shelf, somewhere in Whitehall.”
Philip Johnston, Telegraph. Link
Read more »
In a blog for Conservative Home, Adrian Pepper sets out some of the reasons why a runway at Gatwick would be unwise – and deeply opposed. These include: due to the low unemployment rate, the need for thousands of homes in countryside, for the inward migration; need for massive investment in road and rail infrastructure; awareness of unacceptability of a Gatwick choice, just to east the strains with the Tory Cabinet; strong opposition from the area’s local Conservative councils, conservation area preservation groups and the little platoons that have been spontaneously springing up, CAGNE, ESSCAN, GON etc; the scale of the nationwide opposition that would happen; big business wants a hub at Heathrow; regional businesses and tourism in the regions want frequent access to a hub airport and they want Heathrow; there would be protests from MPs representing Northern Ireland, Wales, the Midlands, the North and Scotland; “They will castigate David Cameron and his Government for pandering to middle class metropolitan sensibilities, rather than listening to the nation at large” … and “Even after the Davies report has been issued, we are going to be none the wiser as to where the new runway will be built.”
Adrian Pepper: Aviation expansion – the perils of going for Gatwick
By Adrian Pepper (Conservative Home)
Adrian Pepper is Managing Director of Pepper Media. He is a former Special Adviser and Parliamentary Candidate. He stood for the Conservatives in the South East Region in last year’s European elections.
The Airports Commission led by Sir Howard Davies will shortly recommend which of two London airports – Gatwick or Heathrow – should be given the right to build a new runway. The vacuum left by his impressively leak-free Commission has been filled by media speculation as to whether the politicians will act on his recommendations.
In one journal, we may read that David Cameron is said to be warming to Gatwick; in another, George Osborne is reported to favour backing business’ preferred option of Heathrow. Zac Goldsmith’s threat to resign from Parliament if the latter gets the nod has conveniently coincided with his preferred decision to run for Mayor of London, which might end up with him leaving the Commons anyway. And, as for Boris, his freedom to fulfil his pledge to lie in front of the steamrollers building Heathrow’s third runway will be circumscribed by the doctrine of collective Ministerial responsibility, assuming he takes a job in Cameron’s Government in a year’s time.
Over the past two years, I have had the chance to canvass residents’ opinions in numerous constituencies near both Heathrow and Gatwick airports. When you talk to people about local issues, it is remarkable how few people spontaneously mention aviation expansion even as an issue of concern to them. It does not register on a scale of their political priorities (which is topped by the economy, immigration and the NHS.)
If you raise the issue with residents, you discover that the vast majority of people support aviation expansion in principle – a view that, since the establishment of the Airports Commission, has also been shared by the Conservative Party. [That is probably untrue for people close to, and affected by, airports – unless they work for the industry. AW note].
In some West London constituencies, you discover that there are at least as many residents who quietly support the expansion of Heathrow as residents who loudly oppose it. You might not believe this by listening to their elected representatives, but many of them have succumbed to sustained pressure from a well-organised protest movement against Heathrow which has had years to establish itself. There is no grassroots movement in favour of expansion – just a silent majority who recognise that a big global city like London needs a big hub airport to serve its needs. [This is also probably not true. Surveys in 2013 in Hounslow, Hillingdon and Richmond found huge opposition to a Heathrow runway. Link. AW note].
In some constituencies near Heathrow, such as Spelthorne, the jobs argument outweighs any concerns about noise or air quality. There are more votes in defending the jobs of constituents who work in aviation and related industries than in letting them move elsewhere.
If Gatwick were expanded, many jobs would move there. Yet the area around Gatwick is one where there is already low unemployment – so the change would mean inward migration and the building of 40,000 new homes in the Surrey and Sussex countryside.
That explains in part why, around Gatwick, opposition to expansion of the local airport among voters is significantly more widespread, and the conviction runs much deeper among local residents. They fear that an expanded Gatwick would require a massive investment in new road and rail infrastructure. The airport is served by just one motorway, the M23 (accessed via the M25), and one train line (to Brighton); whereas people get to and from Heathrow via the M40, M4, M25 and M3 as well as by tube, rail, Crossrail and, in due course, HS2.
Right now, the Gatwick opposition campaign – like the residents themselves – is much more understated than Heathrow’s. But it should not be underestimated.
We have already seen a group of backbench Conservative MPs led Crispin Blunt, a former Minister, demand of the Chief Whip that Ministers local to both airports should recuse themselves from involvement in the Government’s final decision. Link
If Gatwick is recommended by Davies, we will also be hearing a lot more in the months to come from the area’s local Conservative councils, conservation area preservation groups and the little platoons that have been spontaneously springing up : Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE), the High Weald Parishes Aviation Action Group, the East Sussex Campaign against Noise, and Gatwick Obviously Not – to name but a few.
A Reuters report recently quoted a claim that if Davies opts for Gatwick, the Conservatives will pop the champagne corks and come out and announce that Gatwick will expand tomorrow. But if Ministers think that opting for Gatwick is going to be politically any more palatable than Heathrow, they underestimate the scale of nationwide opposition that they will encounter.
Opposition to Gatwick expansion does not stop in the rural southern Home Counties. Big business wants a hub at Heathrow.
Regional businesses and tourism in the regions rely on frequent access to a hub airport too – and that can only mean expanding Heathrow. If the Government chooses Gatwick, we should expect to see protests from MPs representing Northern Ireland, Wales, the Midlands and the North of England as well as Scotland. They will castigate David Cameron and his Government for pandering to middle class metropolitan sensibilities, rather than listening to the nation at large.
The point of asking independent experts on the Airports Commission to reach a verdict was to take politics out of this issue. Yet now the Government is offering a further six months of consultation after the Commission has reported.
We are about to witness a fractious political tussle, which will overshadow the calm and thorough process of deliberation that Sir Howard Davies has been leading. Even after the Davies report has been issued, we are going to be none the wiser as to where the new runway will be built.
Read more »
A report commissioned by Gatwick airport, in its bid to beat Heathrow in getting a new runway, says Heathrow’s north west runway plan would cost £500 million more than estimated because of the amount of potentially contaminated landfill that would have to be treated. The report by environmental consultancy RSK Group claims that Heathrow would have to launch one of the UK’s largest land clearance operations ever if it was allowed to build the runway. RSK claims the need to excavate and clear up to 9 million cubic metres of potentially hazardous landfill would increases the total cost from £18.6 billion to £19.1 billion. A report in June 2014 for Heathrow by Amec showed there are 2 current landfills and 16 historical landfills on the site, the detailed construction of which is not known. The operation to treat the landfill could not only risk releasing hazardous gases and other pollutants, but would also encourage vermin and birds – a key concern since this would take place near the existing airport. There are also risks to ground and surface water, and a Site Environmental Management Plan should be in place including details of emergency procedures to deal with incidents or unexpected contamination.
Landfill clear-up ‘would add £500m’ to Heathrow runway cost, claims report commissioned by Gatwick
By JON REES, FINANCIAL MAIL ON SUNDAY
Heathrow Airport’s plan for a third runway would cost £500million more than estimated because of the amount of potentially contaminated landfill that would have to be treated, according to a report commissioned by the airport’s rival Gatwick.
The report from environmental consultancy RSK Group was submitted to the Airports Commission – run by former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England Sir Howard Davies – which is due to announce this month which of the two airports should be allowed to expand.
The report claims that Heathrow would have to launch one of the UK’s largest land clearance operations ever if it was allowed to expand by building a third runway.
It claims the cost of excavating and clearing up to 9million cubic metres of potentially hazardous landfill would add £500million to the cost of the scheme, which the commission already reckons will cost £18.6billion.
Another scheme under consideration, called Heathrow Hub, envisages extending one of the two present runways, though this has not been proposed by the airport’s owner, Heathrow Airport Holdings, which is owned mainly by Spain’s Ferrovial and Qatar.
Any operation to treat the landfill could not only risk releasing hazardous gases and other pollutants, but would also encourage vermin and birds – a key concern since this would take place near the existing airport.
Heathrow Airport said all its proposals were fully costed: ‘Any brownfield development must meet stringent environmental standards. Heathrow’s proposals for expansion includes a detailed and privately funded remediation plan which meets the Commission’s sustainability requirements, whilst providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put the land to safe and productive use.’
Gatwick, owned by New York-based private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners, wants to build a second runway in a £9.3billion scheme.
The report by AMEC for Heathrow, on the issue of contaminated land is
“Geo-Environmental Assessment” (June 2014)
From this report, the
Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) is proposing to expand the existing Heathrow Airport site to the north-west. The proposed development includes construction of a third runway, taxiways, stands, several new airport buildings,ancillary buildings and car parks. The proposed development area is large and the current land use across the area
can be summarised as:
• Industrial/ commercial estates, office buildings, agricultural land, recreational areas, car parks, hotels, an active landfill, gravel pits, residential areas, a major road (M25), petrol stations, an energy from waste plant, a British Pipeline Association (BPA) site and potentially a pipeline, a biodiversity site and surface water features; lakes and six water courses.
The ground conditions are considered to be similar across the development area in terms of solid geology with slight variations in the superficial geology. The general anticipated ground conditions comprise the following:
• Worked ground/ made ground/ Topsoil underlain by;
• Alluvium (where present), a Secondary aquifer, underlain by;
• Langley Silt Member (where present) underlain by;
• River Terrace Deposits (RTD) (where present), a Principal aquifer, underlain by;
• London Clay Formation.
As the development will be undertaken on mainly brownfield land the development will result in an improvement to high-value commercial land.
The main potential sources of contamination at the site are 2 currently active landfills and 16 historical landfills (some of which are partly within the site) which are present as a result of historical sand and gravel quarrying.
Given the number of landfills, the type of waste present and uncertainty over the landfill construction, there is a high likelihood that the Principal aquifer in the RTD, where present following quarrying, has been impacted by contaminants leaching from these landfills. There is also a possibility that surface water features have been impacted given their proximity to the landfills in some areas of the site.
In the current condition, prior to mitigation measures, there are anticipated to be low risks to current site users (those spending a considerable proportion of their time on-site, residents and workers) and low risks to off-site residents.
During the construction phase, risks to construction and maintenance workers are considered to be low based on the assumption that, as is standard practice, the workers will be wearing suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), adopt best-practice site hygiene procedures and comply with site health, safety and environmental management plans.
There is the potential for spills and leaks from equipment and storage areas during the construction and operation phase of the development. In order to ensure low risks from spills and leaks to environmental receptors, including ground and surface water, a Site Environmental Management Plan should be in place including details of emergency procedures to deal with incidents or unexpected contamination.
During the operational phase it is assumed that mitigation measures will have been included in the construction process to reduce risks to human health and environmental receptors. Risks may include presence of ground gas, contaminated soils and groundwater and the potential creation of preferential pathways during construction works.
Outline recommendations for mitigation measures have been included in Section 5 of this report. These recommendations should be reviewed following completion of finalised development proposals, confirmation of foundation design, location of landscaped areas, river diversions and flood storage areas.
Read more »
The RHC has published eight Heathrow Factsheets, which have been sent to every MP. There is also a summary of all eight are at rhcfacts.org. They are on: (1). The UK Economy: the Commission’s own figures show that Heathrow expansion would not add significantly to the UK economy or add further connectivity to the UK as a whole. (2). Deliverability: Heathrow expansion may require £54 billion or more of funding. State aid would be difficult to justify given the spare capacity at other airports and the prevalence at Heathrow of transfers and leisure passengers. (3). Carbon: It is very likely that Heathrow’s growth would be constrained by the impact of carbon emissions, rendering a 3rd runway uneconomic. (4) Air Quality: It seems unlikely that a third runway could be built while remaining within legal limits. (5) Noise: Heathrow expansion is likely to expose several hundred thousand Londoners to aircraft noise for the first time. (6) Local Economy: The local economy will grow with or without a runway, and providing enough housing is a problem. (7). Surface Access: Transport for London (TfL) has calculated that an investment of up to £20 billion would be needed to support. (8). Safety: Proposals for steeper flight paths on landing and for curved approaches raise concerns, as does the Heathrow Hub extended runway model.
Richmond Heathrow Campaign – Heathrow Factsheets
The Airports Commission led by Sir Howard Davies is due to submit its final report shortly. Last Wednesday, the Richmond Heathrow Campaign launched a set of factsheets about Heathrow expansion. In summarising facts and evidence they expose several myths that have not been questioned before.
There are eight factsheets. There is also a summary of all eight that can be found on the homepage of a new website, rhcfacts.org. We have sent this to every MP, and also distributed it to journalists at the launch of Zac Goldsmith MP’s New Heathrow Flight Path Campaign (see below for more details of this).
In short, the facts are:
(1). The UK Economy: the Commission’s own figures show that Heathrow expansion would not add significantly to the UK economy or add further connectivity to the UK as a whole. Instead it would artificially stoke overheating of the South-East at the expense of the rest of the UK.
(2) Deliverability: Heathrow expansion may require £54 billion or more of funding. State aid would be difficult to justify given the spare capacity at other airports and the prevalence at Heathrow of transfers and leisure passengers from the UK, which provide little benefit to the UK economy.
(3) Carbon: It is very likely that Heathrow airport’s growth will be constrained even more than currently predicted in the Airports Commission’s modelling by the impact of carbon emissions, rendering a third runway uneconomic.
(4) Air Quality: Given that existing airport operations already result in a breach of legal air pollution limits, it seems unlikely that a third runway could be built while remaining within the law.
(5) Noise: Heathrow expansion is likely to expose several hundred thousand Londoners to aircraft noise for the first time and the uncertainty of flight paths may blight parts of London for several years.
(6) Local Economy: The local economy will grow whether or not Heathrow expands. Moreover, it has not yet been shown how sufficient housing could be provided to support Heathrow expansion.
(7) Surface Access: Transport for London (TfL) has calculated that an investment of up to £20 billion will be needed to support a third runway at Heathrow. The consequences of inadequate investment would be poor travelling experience on public transport and increased resort to road transport, generating more air pollution and traffic congestion.
(8) Safety: Proposals for steeper flight paths on landing and for curved approaches to reduce noise raise new safety concerns. The multi-use of a single extended runway for take-off and landing has not been tested at any airport in the world, let alone one as busy as Heathrow.
Over the coming weeks we will be socialising these messages with journalists and decision-makers. If you are able to help in the process, please contact us.
New Heathrow Flight Path Campaign
Last Wednesday, 17th June, Zac Goldsmith MP launched a campaign to highlight the impact of new flightpaths that would result from a new runway at Heathrow. While no firm plans have been published, there is a high degree of certainty that are several areas of London would suffer aircraft noise for the first time.
If you have friends in Hammersmith, Chiswick and Brentford, please alert them to Zac’s campaign and direct them to its web page at heathrowflightpaths.co.uk. Why? Because with an additional runway at Heathrow, they would experience noise levels equivalent to those in Barnes, Mortlake, Richmond and Kew, including night flights from 4:30am onwards.
The Airports Commission’s final report marks the end of technical analysis but only the start of the political process.
In 1971 the Roskill Commission recommended development of a site at Cublington in Buckinghamshire. The political process then overruled this in favour of building an airport at Maplin Sands in Essex. Ultimately no new airport was ever built, and instead Stansted was developed.
So whichever way Davies reports, it won’t necessarily be final, and our campaign continues.
Read more »
Boris Johnson has warned that a 3rd Heathrow runway would lead to “paralysis” and insisted that the government will not approve it. He will “counsel” David Cameron “very strongly” against it. He said David Cameron and George Osborne pledged that there would be no Heathrow 3rd runway in the Conservative Party manifesto in 2010. “I think that the government will stick to that.” David Cameron had said, in election literature: “No ifs, No buts, no third runway.” Boris will be free to campaign against a Heathrow runway, after the Commission reports, as he is not a member of the full Conservative cabinet. He said during LBC’s State of London debate: “It is perfectly obvious to me that there is going to be an unholy mess when Sir Howard reports. …They will plonk this great document on our desk. I will study the document with great care and I will reflect for about 40 seconds. If it comes out very firmly in favour of Heathrow I think that will lead to paralysis.” He did not say Gatwick should get a runway, as he has stated in the past that it could only be a “compromise.” Boris commented that he believes Stansted would be a better option.
Boris Johnson says David Cameron will not approve third Heathrow runway
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, says he thinks David Cameron and George Osborne will stand by previous pledge not to build third runway at Heathrow
Boris Johnson has warned that a third runway at Heathrow airport will lead to “paralysis” and insisted that the government will not approve it.
Sir Howard Davies, the chairman of the UK Airports Commission, will next month publish a flagship report into airport capacity in the South East.
Mr Johnson said that he will “counsel” David Cameron “very strongly” against building a third runway at Heathrow.
He said that Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne pledged that there would be no third runway in the Conservative Party manifesto in 2010. “I think that the government will stick to that,” he said.
Mr Johnson will be free to campaign against a third runway at Heathrow in the wake of Sir Howard’s report as he is not a member of the full Conservative cabinet.
He said during LBC’s State of London debate: “It is perfectly obvious to me that there is going to be an unholy mess when Sir Howard reports.
“It’s going to happen fairly soon, within the next few weeks. They will plonk this great document on our desk.
“I will study the document with great care and I will reflect for about 40 seconds. If it comes out very firmly in favour of Heathrow I think that will lead to paralysis.”
He added that a third runway would lead to a significant rise in the levels of noise and pollution.
He said: “I would counsel him [David Cameron] very strongly against it. David Cameron, George Osborne and I made a very clear manifesto commitment – no ifs, no buts there wouldn’t be a third runway at Heathrow. I think the government will stick to that. ” He said he believes Stansted airport in Essex would be a better option.
Actual text from Conservative election leaflet for the May 2010 election. Full leaflet
The moment of truth is dawning for Cameron on Heathrow
Successive governments have chosen cowardice and prevarication over airport expansion
By Philip Johnston
Long article …………..
A couple of extracts from it:
Perhaps the Prime Minister’s horizons are wider than that, but such an accusation would resonate beyond Feltham and Staines. The incumbent London mayor Boris Johnson is now MP for Uxbridge in west London and has long been implacably hostile to Heathrow’s expansion. The seats of several Cabinet ministers lie on the flight path. The potential for internal party strife is obvious. The argument advanced by some ministers that Mr Cameron’s pledge was only meant to last for the last Parliament simply won’t wash.
At least if the Aiports Commission opts for Gatwick, Mr Cameron is not hamstrung by a promise he probably wishes he had not made; but his problems don’t go away entirely. All the seats around Gatwick are Conservative-held and the MPs have formed an alliance to oppose a second runway there.
The Tory election manifesto promised nothing more than “to respond to the Airports Commission’s final report” which it could do by putting the recommendations to a vote in the Commons, though it is impossible to predict how this would go. Mr Cameron must dearly hope that the Airports Commission makes his life easier by opting for Gatwick. But even if it does, would MPs support it in a free vote? Labour has been all over the place on a third runway at Heathrow but it was once official party policy; meanwhile the SNP support it. Polls show that most MPs are in favour of Heathrow.
Gatwick has spare capacity and its expansion would be cheaper and less disruptive. However, the transport links from London, both road and rail, leave a great deal to be desired. The expectation among business leaders is that the Commission will plump for Heathrow because the economic case is better. But as we have seen before, the most likely final resting place for Sir Howard’s report is a dusty shelf, somewhere in Whitehall.
Gatwick Tory MPs warn of ‘political stitch-up’ on runways by anti-Heathrow faction in Cabinet
A group of senior Conservative MPs has warned David Cameron that he must avoid a “political stitch-up” that would favour cabinet ministers, and other party heavyweights led by Boris Johnson, who are campaigning against a Heathrow 3rd runway. Crispin Blunt, the former justice minister who chairs the 9-strong group of Tory MPs representing constituencies around Gatwick, told the Tory chief whip, Mark Harper, this week that cabinet ministers opposed to a third runway at Heathrow airport should “recuse” themselves [ie. not take part in a decision, due to danger of a potential conflict of interest or lack of impartiality] when the government considers the Airports Commission’s findings. The decision by the government must be taken in an impartial manner. The Gatwick area MPs are concerned that as well as Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith, both keenly against a Heathrow runway, in Cabinet there are also Justine Greening, Theresa May and Philip Hammond, who are openly against a Heathrow runway. The Gatwick MPs are concerned about a political stitch-up on the runway decision. They do not believe a runway at Gatwick is in the national interest.
Read more »
Darren Johnson, Green Party Assembly Member at the London Assembly, Great London Authority, has obtained figures for the amount spent by the two airports. This is just on Transport for London, so on buses, tubes and trains. The Mayor revealed that Heathrow spent £1.7 million on advertising across the TfL network (from the start of 2012 until April 2015). Gatwick spent £1.6 million on advertising across the TfL network (from the start of 2014 until April 2015). Darren commented: “I’m not surprised that Heathrow has spent almost two million on ads on buses, tubes and trains. The grim reality of aviation expansion will be more noise, pollution and traffic hell for Londoners. As well as the acceleration of climate change which is the biggest threat to our economy. You need a big budget to paper over those huge cracks in your argument.” In December 2014 campaigners against a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick wrote to the Airports Commission to say the multi-million ££ advertising and PR campaigns being mounted by both airports for their runway plans were “subverting democracy”. They said the advertising was drowning out discussion of alternatives – and the basic question of whether a runway should be built at all.
News from Darren Johnson AM: Heathrow spends £1.7m marketing runway expansion to London commuters
As Heathrow Airport escalates their advertising campaign in the run up to the Airports Commission’s decision on runway expansion, it was revealed that Heathrow has spent £1.7m on their runway expansion advertising campaigns across the London transport network. This information was received in a written answer received by London Assembly Member Darren Johnson to a question submitted to the Mayor of London.
Darren Johnson said:
“I’m not surprised that Heathrow has spent almost two million on ads on buses, tubes and trains. The grim reality of aviation expansion will be more noise, pollution and traffic hell for Londoners. As well as the acceleration of climate change which is the biggest threat to our economy. You need a big budget to paper over those huge cracks in your argument.”
Darren Johnson’s written question submitted at 21 May 2015 Mayors Question Time. Answers received 27 May.
|Heathrow expansion – advertising
Question No: 2015/1501
How much has the Heathrow Airport expansion campaign spent advertising on the tube system or other parts of the TfL network?
Written response from the Mayor
In total, this campaign has spent £1.7m on advertising across the TfL network (from the start of 2012 until April 2015).
Gatwick expansion – advertising
||Mayor’s Question Time
||Thursday, 21 May 2015
How much has the Gatwick Airport second runway campaign spent advertising on the tube system or other parts of the TfL network?
Complaint to Airports Commission that ££ multi-million Gatwick & Heathrow ads & PR blitz is ‘subverting democracy’
Campaigners against a new runway at Heathrow r Gatwick, have attacked the multi-million ££ advertising and PR campaigns being mounted by both airports for their expansion plans. They say this huge expenditure is “subverting democracy” and drowning out discussion of alternatives – and the basic question of whether a runway should be built at all. A coalition of environmentalists and senior MPs has written to Sir Howard Davies, the head of the Airports Commission, to say the two airports are exerting “unfair influence” because of their marketing power and huge budgets for advertising and PR. There has been a blitz of large adverts in the national press and billboards or posters in prominent places, including Westminster Tube station and also close to the offices of Airports Commission. Heathrow has placed billboards as far afield as Newcastle and Manchester. One media buying agency told The Independent that the cost of both campaigns was likely to have exceeded £7m. Heathrow has also funded an astroturfing campaign called “Back Heathrow”, and repeatedly refused to say how much it has spent – and continues to spend – on this.
Read more »
Campaigners fighting aircraft noise have accused Gatwick bosses of trying to buy them off with a free cappuccino and glossy printed pamphlet. The leaflet, dropping through the letterboxes of thousands of homes in a 20 mile radius of Gatwick airport, is a blatant PR stunt in the face of a 5 fold increase in complaints about noisy planes. It is edition one of “AirMail” – airport news for residents. It boasts of Gatwick’s developments and “activities in the local community” including grants to community groups, local residents discount parking rates and free coffees. Chairman of the High Weald Aviation Action Group, Richard Streatfeild said Gatwick needs to listen, not make cheap gestures. “A free cappuccino is not going to make up for hundreds of aircraft over your home area when people are trying to spend quality family time and enjoy the countryside. They are obviously upping their PR game. They are being told by the CAA that they must involve the local community with their decision making” …what they need to do is “take into account the feedback they are getting from the local community.” Martin Baraud from GON said: “They can send out all the brochures they like but at the end of the day they are part and parcel of creating noise ghettos through the garden of England.”
Anti Gatwick campaigners accuse airport chiefs of cheap leaflets publicity stunt
By Kent and Sussex Courier Green below
CAMPAIGNERS fighting aircraft noise have accused Gatwick bosses of trying to buy them off with a free cappuccino and glossy printed pamphlet.
They say the leaflet, dropping through the letterboxes of thousands of homes in a 20 mile radius of Gatwick, is a blatant PR stunt in the face of a 5 fold increase in complaints about noisy planes.
The leaflet, edition one of “AirMail” – airport news for residents – boasts of the East Sussex’s airport’s developments and “activities in the local community” including grants handed to community groups , local residents discount parking rates and free coffees.
But chairman of the High Weald Aviation Action Group, Richard Streatfeild said Airport chiefs needed to listen not make cheap gestures.
“A cappuccino is not going to make up for 250 planes over your home on a Sunday afternoon when you are trying to spend quality family time and enjoy the countryside,” he said.
“They are obviously upping their PR game. They are being told by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) that they must involve the local community with their decision making.
“But what we need them to do is take into account the feedback they are getting from the local community.”
The Airports Commission is due to publish its findings on a second runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow in the next few weeks but anti-aircraft noise campaigner, Martin Barraud said anger was directed at the airport now – because of a change to flight paths.
Gatwick Obviously Not spokesman, Mr Barraud said the narrowing of the path was “heaping untold misery” on thousands and was likely to get worse with the landing arc moving over Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough.
“They can send out all the brochures they like but at the end of the day they are part and parcel of creating noise ghettos through the garden of England,” he said.
“We are all getting impaled on the spear of Gatwick’s avarice – we really are. And the CAA which should be acting as regulators are increasing people’s misery.
The Courier asked Gatwick for a response but we are awaiting a reply.
*Are you one of the thousands who have received a Gatwick newsletter? Do you think it is a genuine attempt to inform or a PR stunt in the face of growing hostility? Let us know what you think on facebook or by emailing reporter email@example.com.
They mean the Long-horned bee, (Eucera longicornis). Details about it at https://www.buglife.org.uk/sites/default/files/Long-horned%20bee_0_0.pdf
Reasons for decline The Long-horned bee requires large areas of flowery habitat. It is has been badly impacted by the 97% loss of flower-rich grassland during the 20th century. It is particularly vulnerable to overgrazing and poor management of grassland.
[And Gatwick’s runway means concreting over hundreds of acres of meadow and grassland].
From the free leaflet ……………. (laugh or cry, according to preference ………..)
Read more »
South Ruislip residents are desperately calling on recently-elected MP Boris Johnson to get RAF Northolt to stop allowing planes to fly over their houses. A local resident has collected over 520 signatures,asking that the planes and helicopters stick to the designated flight path. People know for certain that aircraft are flying over areas they did not fly over before. RAF Northolt is said to use one runway with a designated flight path but residents who signed the petition regularly see planes taking off over their houses. In 2013, the decision to keep RAF Northolt as a military airfield included an instruction from defence ministers that it should aim to increase its revenue from commercial aircraft. The increase was set to rise from 7,000 flight movements, taking off or landing, to 12,000 a year. But an RAF spokesman admitted: “Military and government movements are uncapped but expect to remain constant with the total number of movements in 2016 not expecting to exceed 17,500.” Not the 12,000. John Stewart (HACAN) said the “flight paths seem to have changed without any thought of the impact of local communities.” Residents say they have not been listened to by Northolt in the past and a letter to them was “dumped in the bin.” They hope Boris will step in and do something.
Residents fight against ‘noisy neighbour’ RAF Northolt
17.6.2015 (Get West London)
By Katherine Clementine
South Ruislip residents believe planes from the military airbase are deviating from the set flight path
[Photo of Douglas Lewington, with 523 signatures, outside RAF Northolt ]
South Ruislip residents are desperately calling on recently-elected MP Boris Johnson to halt flights from RAF Northolt flying over their houses.
Retired electrician Douglas Lewington, of Mahlon Avenue, has collected more than 500 signatures in a bid to ensure aeroplanes and helicopters stick to the designated flight path.
He said: “I’m prepared to go to court and swear that planes and helicopters are flying over our houses in South Ruislip. 523 people have agreed that RAF Northolt are not sticking to flight path.
“If they’re sticking to their flight path as they’re supposed to, they cannot fly over Mahlon Avenue.
“If they’re flying over our houses, which they are, they’re not sticking to the flight path and that’s all our argument’s been about.
“We’ve been up and stood on the flight path but little did we know they’ve got cameras so they can see us standing there and so then they take off on the proper flight path.”
RAF Northolt is said to use one runway with a designated flight path but residents who signed the petition regularly see planes taking off over their houses.
Mr Lewington, 78, started the fight against the military airfield five years ago. Since then, the number of flights has been steadily increasing.
In 2013, the decision to keep RAF Northolt as a military airfield included an instruction from defence ministers that the base should aim to increase its revenue from commercial aircraft.
The increase was set to rise from 7,000 flight movements, taking off or landing, to 12,000 a year.
However, according to an RAF spokesman: “Military and government movements are uncapped but expect to remain constant with the total number of movements in 2016 not expecting to exceed 17,500.”
The increase in the number of flights has raised concerns locally about the levels of noise and air pollution.
John Stewart, Chair of Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN), showed concern for the rising number of flights.
He said: “RAF Northolt has become a noisy, useless neighbour. This has only happened because flight paths seem to have changed without any thought of the impact of local communities.
“The result of this could be increased noise pollution, particularly with local schools means more noise for local communities.”
Mr Lewington, who has sent numerous letters, attended residents’ associations and had the support of previous Uxbridge & South Ruislip MP, John Randall, now sees new hope that Boris Johnson will help fight his corner.
He said: “We sent our petition to Wing Commander Willis, who’s now left RAF Northolt. I got a letter from Allan Kauffman, our councillor, after we complained to him which went to Mr Willis who then threw it in the bin. He dumped it.
“I met Boris Johnson at his surgery and spoke to him about the amount of flights there are here and I think he’s definitely going to get involved.”
High Court decision that RAF Northolt must have same safety standards for private jets as civilian airports
A legal judgement, brought by rival airports (Oxford and Biggin Hill) against RAF Northolt, says the CAA is the statutory regulator required to determine safety standards for civilian aircraft using government owned military aerodromes. This means Northolt will have to meet higher safety standards for business jets than those in place for military flights, and this will be expensive for them. As the number of military flights has fallen from Northolt, there have been more business jets – up to a total of 12,000 per year. The trigger for the current proceedings came in April 2012 when the MOD decided to increase the limit on civil flights at RAF Northolt from 7,000 to 12,000 movements. Ministers had repeatedly argued before that they didn’t need to meet stricter, costlier civilian safety standards and the CAA had no regulatory powers at military aerodromes. This meant that smaller private airports reliant on business jets were being significantly undermined, as RAF Northolt became a competitor without incurring the higher costs of complying with civilian safety standards. Although the arguments in the case have been about the application of safety standards, the motivation for the challenge is the claimant airports’ commercial interests as competitors.
Heathrow funded report suggests using RAF Northolt as an interim 3rd runway for domestic flights
Heathrow airport set up and funds a body called the “National Connectivity Task Force” (NCTF). This produced a report in March, looking at regional connectivity – and putting arguments that suit Heathrow. (Gatwick airport, unsurprisingly strongly disagrees with it). As well as saying how important links to regional airports are from Heathrow, though these have progressively been cut as long haul flights are more profitable, the NCTF report says RAF Northolt airport, just a few miles north of Heathrow, should be used as an extension to Heathrow, for smaller planes to regional airports. As this news broke about the same time as the Germanwings plane tragedy, it did not get press attention. What Heathrow wants is to have Northolt brought into service, as an interim measure, before it can get a new runway. If Gatwick was chosen for a runway, Heathrow could use Northolt for domestic flights it has been promising regional airports, in order to get their backing for a Heathrow runway. Heathrow says the Northolt runway could not be used at the same time as a Heathrow north-west runway. RAF Northolt does not comply with the safety standards required for a civilian airport. Its runway ends just short of the busy A40.
Read more »
Zac’s all party group of MPs has produced a new map showing where flight paths might be, with a Heathrow 3rd runway. Their map shows that hundreds of thousands more London residents would find themselves under new flight paths if the runway was built. Senior Tories including Justine Greening and Boris Johnson joined Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith in Parliament to launch a campaign alerting people to the potential impact on neighbourhoods across the capital. Heathrow disputes the map, and nobody knows exactly where the flight paths would be. Zac said Heathrow was “already the biggest [noise] polluter in Europe by far” and that additional noise was just one of the reasons to oppose expansion. Boris Johnson said David Cameron should honour his 2010 pledge of “No if, No Buts, No 3rd Runway”. Jenny Jones and the Green Party were the only politicians present who said no runway should be built.myself. Zac Goldsmith is aware of the environmental reasons why no runway should be built. However, he has chosen not to say this and go with the dubious assumption that it is just a choice between Heathrow and Gatwick. He commented: “I recognise by piling pressure against Heathrow expansion, I make it more likely that you have Gatwick expansion, but my first priority is to stop Heathrow expansion, it has to be.”
MPs and Lords at the launch of the map by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in Parliament.
Details at http://heathrowflightpaths.co.uk/
Do you live within this blue area? You could be impacted by an expanded Heathrow.
CLICK THE MAP TO ZOOM IN AND SEE IF YOU ARE UNDER A NEW FLIGHTPATH (Map will open in a new tab). http://heathrowflightpaths.co.uk/images/areas.jpg
The blue area illustrates the flight path corridors for an expanded Heathrow Airport, based on the respite option indicative flight paths Heathrow submitted to the Airports Commission. It is unclear which of these flight paths are to be used for arrivals or departures and what type of navigation will be used, so we have followed standard practice of drawing 1.5km Noise Preferential Routes around each flight path to provide an approximation of where planes might fly.
Note: Heathrow have not released their final flightpath plans yet so the above is subject to change.
The red lines indicate what Heathrow have published as potential new flight paths if the airport expands. The blue lines are the current flight paths from Heathrow’s existing two runways.
CLICK THE MAP TO ZOOM IN AND SEE IF YOU ARE UNDER A NEW FLIGHTPATH (Map will open in a new tab) http://heathrowflightpaths.co.uk/images/home.jpg
Note: Heathrow have not released their final flightpath plans yet so the above is subject to change.
Current flight paths
The red lines are the flight path centre lines, and the blue lines are the Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs) and nominal approach routes.
To see a larger version of this map, click on it or here http://heathrowflightpaths.co.uk/images/current.jpg
Heathrow Airport, by a colossal margin, is the largest noise polluter in Europe. It currently affects over 720,000 people from noise at levels that cause significant annoyance.
Up to 1,000,000 people could be affected if Heathrow is expanded.
World Health Organisation (WHO) research has demonstrated the harmful effects of excessive noise, particularly on the vulnerable – children, the elderly, those with underlying cardiovascular and mental health conditions.
The WHO’s key guidance documents links noise pollution above 55 decibels with, among other effects, aggressive behaviours; stress hormones, high blood pressure levels, reducing helping behaviours and hindering child development.
Transport for London Noise Map with a Third Runway
You can see from Figure 4 below, the significant areas surrounding the runway that are over the WHO noise limit of 55 decibels.
To see a full size version of this image please click http://heathrowflightpaths.co.uk/images/noise_main.jpg
Details at http://heathrowflightpaths.co.uk/
MPs and Lords including Zac Goldsmith and Boris Johnson reveal map showing alleged new flight paths as they fight third runway at west London hub
by Gwyn Topham (Guardian)
Hundreds of thousands more London residents would find themselves under new flight paths should Heathrow be expanded, a cross-party group of MPs and Lords has warned.
Senior Tories including Justine Greening and Boris Johnson joined Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith in the Commons on Wednesday to launch a campaign alerting people to the potential impact on neighbourhoods across the capital as the airports commission prepares to deliver its recommendation for a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick.
Flanked by a map depicting what he claimed would be newly overflown regions of the city – although Heathrow disputes it – Goldsmith said Heathrow was “already the biggest polluter in Europe by far” and that additional noise was just one of the reasons to oppose expansion. He said a third runway would mean “unmanageable congestion”, while the “economic case had entirely crumbled” and reinforcing Heathrow would see UK aviation “reverting to a taxpayer-funded monopoly”.
Johnson reminded the prime minister of his former unequivocal pledge to oppose Heathrow expansion, including a tree adopted by David Cameron on the site of the last planned third runway. He said: “I think that everybody remembers the manifesto that we ran on in 2010.
“It was a very clear campaign, it was the right campaign. I think the prime minister should stick with it. No ifs, no buts, no to a third runway, he said. He was right then and he would be right now.”
Although Johnson has promised to lie down in front of the bulldozers should a third runway be approved, he ruled out resigning as either an MP or from his increasingly intermittent role as mayor of London.
The senior Conservatives were joined by council leaders and MPs from constituencies neighbouring Heathrow – including Labour’s John McDonnell and Ruth Cadbury and Liberal Democrat Tom Brake. Green peer Jenny Jones said her party opposed expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick, although several Tories, including the Windsor MP Adam Afriyie, urged building at Gatwick instead.
Goldsmith said: “We’ve been given a choice by the commission – that’s not one I’d set myself. I recognise by piling pressure against Heathrow expansion, I make it more likely that you have Gatwick expansion, but my first priority is to stop Heathrow expansion, it has to be.”
Johnson said: “We don’t think that Gatwick is optimal either.” But, he added: ”The reality is that on any utilitarian calculus or environmental calculus of damage done to human life, Heathrow would be far, far the worse option.”
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The map published today is inaccurate and unhelpful to local residents. The independent airports commission, made up of objective, technical experts has made its views clear – Heathrow expansion can take place while reducing the number of people impacted by noise.”
The commission, set up by Cameron in 2012 and chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is due to deliver a recommendation on whether Heathrow or Gatwick should be the preferred choice for the additional runway that it has already concluded Britain needs.
Zac Goldsmith denounced a 3rd Heathrow runway as “politically unworkable” and said there would be a one-million-strong army of protesters to oppose it. Zac has urged Tory colleagues to ignore the findings of the Airports Commission when they are announced – perhaps next week.
Zac Goldsmith: “We can study the report but if it is the wrong conclusion we can reject it. We’re not elected to delegate difficult decisions to other people.”
Boris reminded David Cameron that he had made a “no ifs, no buts” promise in 2010 not to proceed with a Heathrow runway.
Boris urged David Cameron to “find the tree” — in an oblique reference to the moment the Tory leader joined celebrities in planting an orchard on the site of the proposed runway.
Some senior Tories believe that the government could go ahead with Gatwick even if the Commission recommends Heathrow because there is considered to be far less opposition to its expansion.
Are you one of “the million” due for plane noise: MPs unveil Heathrow expansion map
Read more »