Neil’s 400 mile walk to Scotland: Day 14 – Easter Monday meeting with Andy McDonnell MP

On his 400 mile walk from Harmondsworth to Edinburgh, Neil missed spending Easter with his family – but he has his Uncle Ray, his sup[port driver. And powerful determination to save his village from a 3rd Heathrow runway.  He has been walking at least 20 miles per day, getting ahead of schedule.  On Bank Holiday Monday, Neil met up with Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesborough and Labour Shadow Transport Secretary. Andy was interested in the scrapbook of the Harmondsworth community that Neil is taking to Scotland, showing some of the people who would be affected by the runway.  Neil and Andy talked about the amount of taxpayer money (including from people in all the regions) that would be necessary to support the runway – effectively helping fund a foreign company’s infrastructure in the south.  They also talked about the tax evasion loop hole that Heathrow has exploited over the past ten years, paying high dividends but very low corporation tax.  And the failure of Heathrow to live up to jobs promises in the past. Mr McDonald did say that he was looking at the government’s recommendation to see if it passed Labour’s “four tests” and that assessment is “underway.” Neil was impressed that Andy understood many of the issues well, and placed emphasis on ensuring a high quality of life for all.
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Day 14 – Easter Monday in Middlesborough

17.4.2017 (SHE – Stop Heathrow Expansion)

Thirsk:  Lovely place but whatever you do Ray, don’t lose the key to the van. 

Neil has missed spending Easter with his family but he has his Uncle Ray – and a determination to save his village from a third runway at Heathrow.  While the going is good, Neil has been completing a few extra miles each day, which has forced another rewrite of the walking schedule. It’s been so tiring that this blog has been tapped into the tablet from Neil’s bed in the van.

It’s fine for me to walk on beyond my planned destination every day but it can make being in the right place at the right time for some meetings a bit tricky.

On Bank Holiday Monday, it was arranged for Andy McDonald MP for Middlesborough and Shadow Transport Secretary to meet us. He was very welcoming and took time to study the scrapbook of our community that I’m taking up to Scotland with me. He said the scrapbook, with pictures of some of those who would be affected by a third runway, was a very powerful statement.


Andy McDonald MP (Labour)

I was pleased to hear that Mr McDonald understood the impact on the villages, that 3,750 surrounding homes could be unliveable and that 1.2 million Londoners would be adversely affected. It’s probably not surprising that the MP would object to the taxes of the North being used to fund a foreign company’s infrastucture in the south.

We talked about the tax evasion loop hole that Heathrow has exploited over the past ten years and I warned him of the lies Heathrow (HAL) has told us in the past and that job promises had not been delivered locally.

Most people understand that there will be serious health impacts if a third runway is built (a burden on the NHS that we will all pay for) but it was a good opportunity to explain why mitigation is not the answer. HAL propaganda has been spread throughout the country by the company and it can’t be believed. They’ll say anything to get what they want.

It’s now clear that any benefits of a third runway have been greatly oversold and the negatives played down. Mr McDonald did say that he was looking at the government’s recommendation to see if it passed Labour’s “four tests”.  So how is that going? The MP would only say that this process was underway and we could feed into the debate with him via email. I felt we had lots in common and he seemed to give quality of life for all a high priority.

We agreed not to do the usual pictures and I thanked Andy McDonald for giving his time on Bank Holiday Monday. I must say, I found him genuine in his comments.

I left feeling confident that if true independent evidence was used in any judgement, rather than Heathrow and the government’s “magical thinking”, the conclusion would be that a third runway is undeliverable..

http://stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/scotlandwalk/april2017/2017/4/18/day-14

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Blogs from Neil’s Walk to Scotland

For more blogs from Neil’s long walk north (not quite one per day, with time, energy and availability of wifi permitting – see

http://stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/scotlandwalk/april2017

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CAA confirm Route 4 changes to be permanent – local group calls it the “Route to Misery”

Early in April the CAA approved the current P-RNAV design of Gatwick’s Route 4 (the take off route towards the west, that turns north and heads east). This was altered in 2016 in response to the complaints about the way it has recently been altered. Now, dismissing the outpouring of complaints to the current route “as expected”, the CAA says the route will continue.  The CAA has concluded that modified Route 4 “has delivered the aim of the airspace change to an acceptable standard and this change will now be made permanent.”  They recognise that this has an impact on communities and has asked Gatwick to “investigate the potential of meaningful respite” by “alternating or switching a proportion of Route 4 departures onto another route.” Local group, Plane Justice, deeply opposed to the current Route 4, comments that the CAA appears indifferent to the misery of the people who wrote in complaining about the route. They are angry that the complaints are considered just “AS EXPECTED” rather than real expressions of genuine concern and annoyance. The group has a Route 4 Legacy Pledge, which calls on the CAA to revisit its decision and return Route 4 to the geographical position and dispersion pattern it occupied before 2013 (the ‘legacy Route’). They are asking people to sign up to this.
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CAA CONFIRM THE ‘ROUTE TO MISERY’… WITH UNCERTAIN PROSPECT OF ‘JAM TOMORROW’

18.4.2017 (Plane Justice press release)

In a decision that raises many more questions than it answers, the CAA has approved its second redesign of Gatwick departure Route 4 in three years, following its first attempt to introduce P-RNAV on this Route in 2013.

And in so doing, the CAA appeared indifferent to the misery of the people who wrote in complaining about the Route, by saying this outpouring was “AS EXPECTED”.

But it wasn’t so dismissive of the similar number of people who signed a petition complaining about the first redesign of Route 4, that became operational at the end of 2013.

The CAA’s conclusions seem a case of “If at first you don’t succeed, then repeat and compound your errors”.

A Commentary on the CAA’s decision can be found on the welcome page of our web site (www.planejustice.org)

Residents visiting the website are also invited to sign up to the Route 4 Legacy Pledge, which calls on the CAA to revisit its decision and return Route 4 to the geographical position and dispersion pattern it occupied before 2013 (the ‘legacy Route’).

The decision raises many questions that will be posed in the coming weeks, and here are two:

  1. The ROUTE TO MISERY has been designed by first making a ‘correction’ – which the CAA had not required to be made for decades before now.

This ‘correction’ has the highly significant effect of moving the flight path roughly a kilometre further to the south, to a geographical position it has not occupied for decades, if at all (as residents who’ve lived here for 30 or 40 years will attest).  It’s also a major contributor to the over-tight turn of the current Route.

So a question for the CAA is:   Why attempt to design a departure Route blighting many thousands of residents for the first time, which is based on a flight path that in reality has not existed for decades?  

And why was making this correction not considered necessary, when the CAA attempted its first P-RNAV design for Route 4 in 2013? 

  1. The CAA has passed the buck to Gatwick, to conduct a ‘jam tomorrow’ review, to see if anything might be done to reduce the damage to residents of the current Route 4. This includes the suggestion of introducing a second Route 4 swathe to the north of the current one. 

This second swathe, if it came to fruition, would in all probability be located approximately in the position of the legacy Route (i.e. the geographical position of Route 4 prior to 2013, which kept the peace for decades in all communities with negligible complaints.) 

So the question is:  If the CAA can contemplate the addition of such a swathe, then why not simply return Route 4 to its legacy position in the first place?

 

To read the CAA’s full report relating to Gatwick Route 4 go to CAA conclusion to Route 4.

Notes to editors

  • Route 4 is the departure route from Gatwick which takes around 38% of all westerly departing aircraft. The Route was altered in May 2016 and now overflies new clusters of population in Newdigate, Capel, Leigh, Norwood Hill, Sidlow, Salfords and Outwood, with consequential vectoring overflights over Horley.  Despite an improvement over Horley following a ‘re-education’ programme for Air Traffic Control, the problem has worsened again in recent weeks, and the CAA’s decision only collates Horley data up to 23 February 2016.  This is a problem caused by the Route, not ATC.
  • Residents supporting Plane Justice are pressing for Route 4 to be returned (whether using P-RNAV or conventional navigation) to the geographical position and dispersal pattern it occupied for decades up to 2012 (the so-called ‘legacy route’), which kept the peace for decades in all communities north of Gatwick, with negligible complaints about noise. The legacy route is shown in the left-hand map below which shows a day’s-worth of aircraft flying the route.  The red-to-amber colour gradation reflects numbers of aircraft.
  • The swathe of the legacy route is compliant with the relevant ‘noise preferential route’ (NPR) legislation, which states that aircraft are deemed to comply with the NPR if they fly within 1.5 kilometres either side of the NPR centre line.
  • There is clear evidence that the new Route 4 (see right-hand map below), when flown in ‘real world’ conditions, is not compliant with the criteria originally set for it by the CAA and is based on a fundamentally flawed design.
  • Aircraft ‘balloon out’ in the over-tight turn as they struggle to fly it even in modest winds, and the prolonged use of flaps and slats required is spraying higher levels of noise over a wider areas of population. The route then compounds the misery by turning further south (by about a kilometre) than the legacy route did, thereby overflying many thousands more residents for the first time.  In doing so, the Route purports to be following a conventional (i.e. pre-P-RNAV) navigation Route that has not been flown for decades, if ever.

For further information, please contact Plane Justice:

email@planejustice.org   www.planejustice.org   07564 649069

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See also:

CAA announces decision on Gatwick Airport’s Route 4 departure review

2017-04-07  (CAA website)

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published the conclusions of its review of the Route 4 departure from Gatwick Airport.

In 2013 Gatwick Airport sought the CAA’s approval to implement changes to all nine of its departure routes. These changes were approved in August 2013, following consultation carried out by the airport.

This move represents a change from the old ground-based navigation to the improved navigational capabilities associated with satellite-based systems.

Whenever airspace changes are implemented, the CAA conducts a post implementation review to assess whether the anticipated impacts and benefits have met the desired expectations.

In December 2015 we announced the conclusion of our post implementation review, which found that Route 4 had not delivered the aim of the airspace change and needed to be modified to an acceptable standard. Route 4 departs from the westerly runway and then turns right to head east to route north of the airport.

Since then Gatwick Airport has modified Route 4. The CAA has now reviewed this route, which has included a comprehensive study of flight paths flown and an assessment of the significant amount of feedback received from the general public.

In conclusion, the CAA has decided that the modified Route 4 has delivered the aim of the airspace change to an acceptable standard and this change will now be made permanent.

The CAA recognises airspace changes can have an impact on communities and in making this decision, has asked Gatwick Airport to give a number of undertakings including:

  • To investigate the potential of meaningful respite, the airport will consider options for additional Route 4 departure designs, from the points where the route heads east.
  • To consider the potential for obtaining respite by alternating or switching a proportion of Route 4 departures onto another route.

Full list of undertakings can be found on page 10 of the report.

Gatwick Airport has been informed of our conclusions and will provide updates on the above undertakings on their website.

Stuart Lindsey, Airspace Regulation Manager at the CAA, said: “We have been reviewing data on Route 4 and considering in detail the feedback received from local communities to assess whether this route is now performing as required by us. We are satisfied the modified Route 4 is achieving this performance and it will therefore remain in place.

“We absolutely understand that airspace changes can impact communities and that aircraft noise can disturb many people.

“As we have done throughout this entire review, we will continue to consider the environmental impact of all our airspace decisions and have called on the aviation industry and other decision-makers to be much more ambitious in confronting aviation’s environmental challenges.”

https://www.caa.co.uk/News/CAA-announces-decision-on-Gatwick-Airport-s-Route-4-departure-review/

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The Gatwick blog, by Andy Sinclair, states:

 

ROUTE 4

Following the Post Implementation Review (PIR) of the runway 26 Route 4 RNAV 1 Standard Instrument Departures (SID) the CAA has concluded that the modified Route 4 SIDs achieve a satisfactory replication of the nominal track of the corrected conventional SID. The CAA has therefore decided to confirm the RNAV 1 SID designs currently published in the UK Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) as permanent.

In its decision letter (CAP 1531) the CAA provided a series of suggested undertakings that we will study and draw into our work with the Gatwick Noise Management Board. The conclusion of the CAA deliberations and supporting data are published in full on the    [sic]

The CAA’s airspace change process in respect of Route 4 has now concluded.

ROUTE 5

The amendment to our easterly Standard Instrument Departures contained within the Noise Preferential Route known as ‘Route 5’ came into effect on 30 March.

We have established a dedicated website where a briefing document detailing the requirements behind the amendment can be viewed as well as the mechanism for leaving feedback: http://www.gatwickairport.com/route5

Gatwick Airport will collate operational performance data and feedback statistics over a six month period and, as with Route 4, will provide this to the CAA for their consideration.

http://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/aircraft-noise-airspace/airspace/our-blog/

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IAG complains paying unblighted price + 25% + costs is too generous for those forced to leave their homes

IAG claims Heathrow’s proposed compensation package for residents being compulsorily purchased for the runway is too generous. For homes to be bulldozed, and for up to 3,500 that Heathrow admits would be too unpleasant to comfortably live in, Heathrow says it will pay “un-blighted” market price + 25% + legal costs and stamp duty. That amount would scarcely buy those forced to move an equivalent home, in a suitable area – let alone compensate for loss of community, home, local attachment etc.  IAG made its complaints in its response to the Transport Committee call for evidence on the draft Airports NPS. IAG says “While IAG wants to see people properly compensated, [Heathrow] has gone far beyond the usual amounts offered for public compensation. … In doing so, it has no regard for its airline customers who are paying for this as for all elements of the development and has not consulted IAG or others on the topic.”   This has angered local councils which have collaborated to launch a legal fight against the proposed 3rd runway once a plan is confirmed. IAG is using the threat of raising air ticket prices against the government. Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said the Government was now “left trying to sell a scheme which the local community detests and the airlines refuse to mitigate”.
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Full submission by IAG to Transport Committee can be seen at 

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/transport-committee/airports-national-policy-statement/written/49347.html

 

British Airways owner complains Heathrow residents’ compensation ‘far beyond’ level required

By Bradley Gerrard (Telegraph)

14 APRIL 2017

A war of words has broken out between the owner of British Airways and Heathrow after the airline company claimed the airport’s proposed compensation package for residents affected by the planned expansion is too generous.

The airport has pledged to pay what its chief executive John Holland-Kaye called the “unblighted” market price for properties set to be compulsorily purchased plus 25pc, as well as legal and moving fees including stamp duty.

But International Airlines Group, which also owns Aer Lingus and Iberia, has written to the Government as part of its response to the consultation on the Heathrow expansion proposal and claimed the pledged compensation scheme is too generous.

“While IAG wants to see people properly compensated, [Heathrow] has gone far beyond the usual amounts offered for public compensation,” it said.

“In doing so, it has no regard for its airline customers who are paying for this as for all elements of the development and has not consulted IAG or others on the topic.”

The comments from the airline group have angered local councils which have collaborated to launch a legal fight against the proposed third runway once a plan is confirmed.

Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said he thought the airline was now “clearly threatening to raise ticket prices” and suggested the Government was now “left trying to sell a scheme which the local community detests and the airlines refuse to mitigate”.

Richmond Council is working alongside Wandsworth, Hillingdon and Windsor and Maidenhead local authorities – the latter being Prime Minister Theresa May’s constituency. Greenpeace and one resident are also working with the councils.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The Government and Airports Commission have been clear that expansion should only be allowed on the basis of a world-class compensation package.

“We look forward to meeting this test and will continue to work with our stakeholders to develop an affordable and financeable package that strikes the right balance for local communities and airport users.”

IAG also said it thought it was “unlikely” airlines would be able to operate domestic services on a commercial basis based on the current costs for the new runway.

A DfT spokesperson said the consultation sets out the benefits and potential impacts of expansion and it welcomed all views. It added the plan came with a “world-class package of compensation” to support local communities.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/04/14/british-airways-owner-complains-heathrow-residents-compensation/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw

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See also, from the IAG response to the Transport Committee:

Willie Walsh adamant Heathrow must have arrivals well before 5.30am – then full on for next 2 hours

International Airlines Group (IAG), which is Heathrow’s biggest customer, has submitted its evidence to the Transport Committee, to its inquiry into the Airports NPS. IAG does not agree there should be a ban on night flights of six and a half hours, that the NPS and the DfT are proposing – hoping that would overcome local opposition to the runway. The WHO says for good health, people need 7 – 8 hours sleep, and more for some age groups. Therefore even six and a half hours is not enough. But IAG says …”the NPS does not recognise the operational flexibility required for flights to connect and deliver the associated benefits. The Government should therefore avoid unreasonable restrictions on night operations that would prevent economically valuable connections.” … from small changes IAG has made “Local communities have therefore benefited … from a reduction in noise while no additional night movements have been granted at Heathrow in return.” … if Heathrow opened at 7am, that would be 2 hours later than Frankfurt … to make the best use of the new runway, increase connectivity etc … “the first arrivals will need to be scheduled to have landed and be on-stand ready to disembark passengers by 05:30, with a high arrival movement capacity in the subsequent 1-2 hours.”

Click here to view full story…

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Builders Balfour Beatty want expansion of regional airports – as well as Heathrow – and Gatwick

Balfour Beatty claims that a 3rd runway at Heathrow will not be enough to address overcapacity at UK airports and that other airports around the country should also be allowed to expand.  In a report, “Getting off the ground – an aviation policy for a post-Brexit Britain”, they say there is no clear airports strategy from the government and outline a series of conclusions to address key issues, including relaxing planning legislation to help expand regional airports. None of that is surprising, as they are a building company, wanting lucrative building work.  Balfour Beatty report is sceptical about whether the 3rd runway at Heathrow will ever be built, as legal and political obstacles will mean the planning process is likely to be delayed “well into the 2020s”.  Their report wants airports elsewhere, especially in Scotland, Birmingham and Manchester, to be allowed to expand. They also want Crossrail to be extended to Stansted – as well as a 2nd Gatwick runway.  ie. build baby, build …. pour concrete and make us rich …. They are quite right that the government does not have a proper aviation policy for the whole UK, preferring instead to force through the Heathrow runway, and only then think about the wider picture.
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Expand regional airports not just Heathrow, says new report

18…4.2017 (ACE)

Balfour Beatty claims that a third runway at Heathrow will not be enough to address overcapacity at UK airports and that other airports around the country should also be allowed to expand.

In a report, Getting off the ground – an aviation policy for a post-Brexit Britain, the infrastructure firm highlights the lack of a clear airports strategy from the government and outlines a series of conclusions to address key issues, including relaxing planning legislation to give regional hubs a boost.

The government chose Heathrow over Gatwick as its preferred site for a new runway at the end of 2016 but the Balfour Beatty report is sceptical about whether the third runway at Heathrow will ever be built, claiming that legal and political obstacles will mean the planning process is likely to be delayed “well into the 2020s”.

As a result, the report recommends that airports elsewhere, especially in Scotland, Birmingham and Manchester, should be allowed to expand. The report also calls for the extending of Crossrail to Stansted and for a further runway to be built at Gatwick.

Leo Quinn, chief executive at Balfour Beatty, said: “Consideration of where to add capacity must be given not just to London and the South-East but all regions. Failure to take this UK-wide approach could see our trade with international markets and potential economic growth fail to get off the ground.”

The report’s ten key conclusions are: –

  1. The vote to leave the EU must be taken into account in considering aviation capacity requirements.
  2. A lack of runway capacity has an impact on the trade negotiations the government will conduct post-Brexit, with many countries likely to require access to Heathrow for their national carrier as part of any deal. Nor does the UK have direct flights to some of the countries it will wish to target as key trade partners.
  3. Balfour Beatty supports a third runway at Heathrow. However, one additional runway will not be enough to provide sufficient capacity to meet increasing demand over the long-term, given that international connectivity will be more important than ever post-Brexit.
  4. Post-Brexit, it is even more important that all parts of the UK are well-connected; the Northern Powerhouse for example, needs direct routes to global markets, as do manufacturing industries in the Midlands, and Cambridge and its growing IT hub. We urge the government to begin work now to identify where further runways are required to best benefit a post-Brexit UK.
  5. The growth in demand for air travel demands expansion not just at Heathrow and Gatwick, but at other airports across the country, including for example, Scotland, Birmingham and Manchester.
  6. A plan should be developed to address the growing demand for air services during the 10 to 15 years it will take to deliver any new runway. This plan should include measures to better use existing runway capacity at other airports – particularly the five other London airports – and to improve surface access to those airports.
  7. The piecemeal approach to aviation policy-making must end. As recommended by the Airports Commission, the government should now develop a national aviation strategy, which considers the country’s future aviation needs holistically and addresses the contribution all the UK’s airports can make to improving the UK’s global connectivity, driving growth across the country.
  8. A national aviation strategy should include a national strategy for improving road and rail links to UK airports both in the short-term, future proofed to ensure that we have the infrastructure we need for the long-term.
  9. A national aviation strategy should also include an assessment of ways in which smaller airports might be supported and given the opportunity to thrive.
  10. While we must limit the environmental impact of airport expansion these issues should not stand in the way of ensuring that the UK economy is in a strong position to take advantage of the opportunities Brexit offers.

Click here to download Getting off the ground – an aviation policy for a post-Brexit Britain.

https://www.acenet.co.uk/expand-regional-airports-not-just-heathrow-says-new-report/3981/2/1/610/3

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Easter Saturday: Neil makes it to 200 miles – halfway to Scotland – with support from Rachael Maskell

Day 12 saw Neil cross the halfway point on his 400-mile walk from Harmondsworth, the main village that would be demolished with a 3rd Runway, to Edinburgh. He is seeking to raise awareness of the campaign and speak with Scottish politicians, as the SNP is intending to vote as a block in favour of the runway. He wants to ask they why they are prepared to destroy his home, community and the health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of Londoners, for vague pledges of help for Scotland and more air freighted salmon and whisky. In York, Neil was met by Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central,at the iconic York Minster, Rachael offered her support to Neil and the campaign, commenting: “It’s great to be here today with Neil … to raise awareness of the impact that a third runway at Heathrow would have. It’s fantastic he’s made it so far on this journey about what’s going to happen to housing, air pollution issues, noise pollution and of course the cost of the project. I’ll be taking his message out into the city, do a public meeting and ensure that people understand the real impact on the local community on a third runway…. Whilst we hear so many jobs will be created, what’s really important is the community voice is also part of the consultation and people understand the consequences of what will happen if a third runway actually goes ahead.”
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Neil makes it to York – halfway to Scotland!

15.4.2017  (Stop Heathrow Expansion – SHE)

Day 12 saw Neil cross the halfway point on his 400-mile walk from Harmondsworth, the villages that would be demolished with a 3rd Runway, to Scotland, as he seeks to raise awareness of the campaign and speak with Scottish politicians about why they are prepared to destroy his home, community and the health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.


Neil with Rachael Maskell MP at York Minster
Neil was met by Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central as he reached the halfway point of the walk. Meet at the iconic York Minster in the City Centre, Rachael offered her support to Neil and the campaign, commenting: “It’s great to be here today with Neil who’s now walked 195 miles to raise awareness of the impact that a third runway at Heathrow would have. It’s fantastic he’s made it so far on this journey about what’s going to happen to housing, air pollution issues, noise pollution and of course the cost of the project. I’ll be taking his message out into the city, do a public meeting and ensure that people understand the real impact on the local community on a third runway.”

Video clip here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7SCWPuvzi0 

Rachael added: “Whilst we hear so many jobs will be created, what’s really important is the community voice is also part of the consultation and people understand the consequences of what will happen if a third runway actually goes ahead.”

Later in the day Neil met two York City Councillors, who offered their strong support to the campaign. Green group leader Andy D’Agorne and Cllr Denise Craghill who were collecting signatures for a local petition about air pollution. Neil explained that Hillingdon, the borough that includes Heathrow Airport, breaches nitrogen dioxide limits more than any other local authority in the United Kingdom. The legal limits are 40 micrograms per cubic metre, Hillingdon has readings of 68mcg. Both councillors agreed that this needs addressing now, and air pollution must be brought into legal limits, before any talk of runway expansion could ever begin.


Nitrogen Dioxide readings around Heathrow are reaching 68 microgrames per cubic metre. The legal maximum limit is 40.


York City Councillors Andy D’Agorne and Denise Craghill meet Neil as he passes the halfway mark on Saturday afternoon
With half the walk complete, Neil is feeling optimistic about the rest of his journey, commenting “Walking this far is challenging, but I’m feeling good and looking forward to the second half. It is vitally important that politicians in the north of the UK and in Scotland hear the reality of Heathrow expansion – it will not deliver on its fanciful projects they have promised places such as York.

Tomorrow Neil will be taking a break from walking, but will be visiting an anti-Fracking camp in Kirby Misperton which is slightly off-route. More updates from us on here on Easter Monday. In the meantime, check our Twitter page for the very latest updates @StopHeathrowExp.

On behalf of all of Neil, and all of us at Stop Heathrow Expansion, we wish you a peaceful Easter.

http://stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/scotlandwalk/april2017/2017/4/15/neil-makes-it-halfway-to-scotland

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Michael Gove criticised after turning down public meeting on Heathrow 3rd runway plans with constituents

The DfT held 20 public consultation events on the draft National Policy Statement about plans for a 3rd Heathrow at places near, of affected by, the airport.  A 21st is now to be held, which Greg Hands MP will chair, for Chelsea and Fulham. But though seriously overflown by Heathrow planes, Surrey Heath was not given a DfT event. On March 17th, Surrey County Council publicly challenged the DfT’s refusal to hold an information event in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge – but there will still not be one. The local campaign group, Aircraft Noise 3 Villages (AN3V) is highly critical of their MP, Michael Gove, who has not got a public meeting arranged, and declined to either hold one himself or even attend one. Rosalie James, from AN3V (representing Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot, said to Michael Gove: “The public meeting was requested by many people keen to understand what your position and that of the council is in terms not only of existing noise, but how residents will be protected from yet more noise IF expansion is finally approved.” Had Mr Gove bothered to attend a public meeting on the Heathrow runway proposals, it would have been an important opportunity for constituents to find out the position being taken by the MP, and their local council – and find out how their representatives are intending to protect their area from increased aircraft noise.
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Heathrow expansion: Michael Gove under the spotlight after turning down public meeting with constituents

The Surrey Heath MP has been criticised for turning down a public meeting with campaigners “yet again”

BY   (Get Surrey)

12.4.2017

The battle for representation in the Heathrow Airport consultation continues for Surrey Heath, despite efforts by Surrey County Council (SCC) to include the borough in the expansion talks.

On March 17, SCC publicly challenged the government’s refusal to hold Heathrow Airport expansion meetings in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge .

However, such attempts have not satisfied campaign group, Aircraft Noise 3 Villages (AN3V) who demand action over increased aircraft noise in Lightwater , Windlesham and Bagshot .

While Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) and SCC continue to be prodded, campaigners are now putting local MP Michael Gove under the spotlight for refusing to take part in a public meeting with constituents.

  • Council challenges consultation process
    Representing AN3V, Rosalie James told Get Surrey : “Michael Gove has yet again turned down the offer of a public meeting at which constituents could question those responsible for representing our best interests.

“He has, however, confirmed the Department of Transport (DfT) will not leaflet or hold consultation events in this area.”

In an email to Mr Gove, Mrs James stated: “The public meeting was requested by many people keen to understand what your position and that of the council is in terms not only of existing noise, but how residents will be protected from yet more noise IF expansion is finally approved.

“It would have presented an opportunity for you and those who will be directly involved in taking that final decision by way of House of Common vote, to reassure constituents that concerns are being adequately addressed and outline how this area will be protected from further aircraft noise.”

Mrs James continued: ” I urge you to reconsider your position on a meeting or at least provide some detail on how you are proposing to defend the interests of Surrey Heath residents already considerably affected by noise.”

In February, Mrs James accused SCC and SHBC for ignoring complaints and having their “heads in the sand ” over plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

A month later, the group said the consultation process was “flawed” and “biased ” after the three villages were missed during the distribution of one and-a-half million leaflets inviting people to free public consultations.

Since, AN3V has filed two Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, demanding to see evidence of the information reported back by the SHBC’s two representatives at the Heathrow Community Noise Forum (HCNF).

Another request was issued to see the correspondence passed between SHBC and DfT regarding the leafleting for the public consultation events Surrey Heath was excluded from.

When approached for comment, Mr Gove said: “I believe it is important for my constituents to be consulted regarding the draft Airports National Policy Statement, and that is why I joined forces with two other Surrey MPs to argue for Consultation Information Events to take place in our constituencies.”

He added: “I am pleased that the Department for Transport has now agreed to send representatives to such a meeting and I will work to ensure our meeting takes place shortly.”

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/heathrow-expansion-michael-gove-under-12873665#ICID=ios_GetSurreyNewsApp_AppShare_Click_MailShare

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See earlier:

Heathrow expansion: Council brands decision to exclude Surrey Heath and Elmbridge boroughs from third runway consultation ‘utterly perverse’

Surrey County Council has called for Surrey Heath and Elmbridge boroughs to be included in the public consultation on expanding the airport

BY ISABEL DOBINSON (Get Surrey)
20 MAR 2017

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Surrey County Council (SCC) has publicly challenged the government’s refusal to hold Heathrow Airport expansion meetings in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge boroughs.

SCC says the two areas should be included in the consultation on Heathrow’s proposed third runway

 

The council states while public consultation events were being held in Runnymede and Spelthorne, “no meetings are planned for Surrey Heath and Elmbridge, even though the two areas have been affected by changes to flight paths around the airport and flight path trials”.

Councillor Mike Goodman, SCC’s cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Residents in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge must be given a proper opportunity to make their views known on proposals for a third runway at Heathrow and it seems utterly perverse to deny these areas public events.”

He continued: “There is already concern in the two boroughs about levels of aircraft noise and no one yet knows the exact impact of expanding Heathrow which is why we are urging the Government to make sure the consultation on this momentous decision is full and fair to everyone who could be affected.”

However, this demand for action is perhaps a little too late for campaigners who have spent months struggling to make their voices heard.

Aircraft Noise 3 Villages, a campaign group representing residents of Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot, has previously raised concerns over exclusion from the consultation process.

On March 8, the group said the consultation process was ‘flawed’ and ‘biased’ after the three villages were missed during the distribution of one and-a-half million leaflets inviting people to free public consultations.

This has increased friction between campaigners and both SCC and Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) initially caused by objections over increased aircraft noise over the area.

In February, Rosalie James from Aircraft Noise 3 Villages accused representatives from both councils for ignoring complaints and having their ‘heads in the sand’ over Heathrow’s third runway.

In an email to the villages’ councillors, including Cllr Goodman, she said: “Where is the representation from SHBC and SCC to protect the rights of, and engage with affected residents?

“It is your collective responsibility to ensure ALL residents’ views are dealt with equally and impartially, regardless of personal opinions.”

Since then, Ms James has criticised Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove over his lack of action on the issue.
http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/heathrow-expansion-council-brands-decision-12755760

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See earlier:

“Aircraft Noise 3 Villages” says DfT’s Heathrow consultation is ‘flawed’ as Surrey Heath left in the dark

The Aircraft Noise 3 Villages group, that represents residents in Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot, is angry that local councils are not doing anything to get the amount of aircraft noise from Heathrow reduced. They want action by Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) and Surrey County Council  to tackle the issue of increased aircraft noise. They are also concerned that their areas were excluded from the distribution of 1.5 million leaflets by the DfT, inviting members of the public to a series of public events on the Heathrow National Policy Statement (NPS) consultation. The DfT is holding 20 events in areas affected by Heathrow, but this has not covered many of the places that either already get, or will  get, intense levels of plane noise if there was a 3rd runway. Rosalie James, from the Aircraft Noise 3 Villages group, has written to the DfT, Surrey Heath MP, Michael Gove and Surrey County Councillor, Mike Goodman, to say their areas should have had a DfT info event. The absence of DfT events is yet another way in which the NPS consultation is widely regarded as deeply flawed. Even if people can attend a DfT event, they will find no information on future flight paths, though it is known that almost 50% more Heathrow flights, using more concentrated flight paths, would cause severe noise problems for those overflown.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/03/aircraft-noise-3-villages-says-dfts-heathrow-consultation-is-flawed-as-surrey-heath-left-in-the-dark/

 

 

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Extra DfT consultation date added for Chelsea & Fulham constituents on draft NPS plans

The DfT originally planned 20 of its consultation information events in areas relatively near, and affected by, Heathrow.  There was outrage that some areas badly impacted by the airport did not get one.  One such area was Chelsea and Fulham. Now its MP, Greg Hands, has persuaded the DfT to add a session for his constituency, which he will chair. This will be at Fulham Library on 19th April from 6.30 – 8pm. This is the day before the final event, at the O2 arena, on 20th April. The arrival route from the east, onto the proposed 3rd runway, would be directly over parts of Chelsea and Fulham, with planes at about 3,000 feet. There could be an aircraft overhead every 90 seconds or less, for large parts of most days (depending on the wind). At that level of noise, it is difficult to hold a conversation outdoors at normal speech volume, when a plane goes overhead.  Greg Hands said he opposes a Heathrow 3rd runway, (though believes the UK needs more airport capacity) and he also wants a ban on night flights- for seven hours – from 11pm to 6am (Heathrow wants flights to start by 5.30am). 
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Heathrow third runway: Extra consultation date added for Chelsea and Fulham constituents to view plans

The event take place at Fulham Library after the Department for Transport had originally omitted the information roadshow from the constituency altogether

BY GOOLISTAN COOPER (Get West London)
11 APR 2017

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An extra date has been added by the Department for Transport to its Heathrow public consultation schedule following intervention from MP Greg Hands.

Mr Hands had been left disappointed when the government omitted his Chelsea and Fulham constituency from its original list of consultation event venues .

Now a date has now been added on April 19 at Fulham Library, in Fulham Road, running from 6.30pm to 8pm.
A series of public consultation events have been held around west London following the government’s Heathrow third runway decision last year.

The Conservative MP was left upset upon learning that none were due to take place in his constituency, in spite of the current and expected future impact that Heathrow Airport might have on residents.

He said: “I know that the announcement on the proposed Heathrow expansion came as a disappointment to many of my constituents in Chelsea and Fulham, as well as to those I campaigned with when I represented Hammersmith as their MP.

“I fully acknowledge the need to increase airport capacity in the South East of England, but I remain opposed to the prospect of a third runway at Heathrow .”

He spoke of his calls for a ban on night flights before adding: “I look forward to hosting this Heathrow consultation event on 19 April, and I should like to thank the Department for agreeing to host an event in Chelsea and Fulham.

“I shall make my own submission to this consultation in due course, and I urge all of my constituents to get their opinions heard , by responding to the Department for Transport.”

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/heathrow-third-runway-extra-consultation-12877159

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See earlier:

Greg Hands (MP for Chelsea & Fulham) urges DfT to ban Heathrow night flights from 11pm to 6am

Chelsea and Fulham MP (Cons) Greg Hands has urged DfT ministers to impose a ban on all night flights at Heathrow. Greg renewed calls for all planes to be grounded between 11pm and 6am, a period of 7 hours, and says he is frequently woken up at night by noise from aircraft passing over west London.  In a letter to Lord Ahmed, the parliamentary under secretary of state for transport, Mr Hands argued that there should be a “comprehensive” ban on night flights at Heathrow. He said the lives of local people are being unfairly disrupted by the noise, and research from international health bodies, including the WHO and the BMJ, highlights the damaging impacts of sustained sleep deprivation on people’s wellbeing. “These Londoners have jobs to do and families to look after, for which they require a good night’s sleep.”  A ban of flights for a 7 hour night period would “lessen the detrimental impact on hundreds of thousands of Londoners living beneath the flight path”.  … “I find it unacceptable that the convenience, quality of sleep, and the health of millions of residents in London and the wider South East under the flight path is sacrificed for the sake of a few thousand inbound passengers per night”.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/03/greg-hands-mp-for-chelsea-fulham-urges-dft-to-ban-heathrow-night-flights-from-11pm-to-6am/

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Greg Hands MP: Why do we fly 1,000 planes a day over London?

Greg Hands, MP for Fulham & Hammersmith, asks why Heathrow is one of the very few cities which have so many planes flying over hundreds of thousands of people, on their way to the country’s largest airports.  There was a recent interview, in the BA in-flight magazine, in which a pilot said:  ‘I always enjoy flying over London, because there are so few approaches over cities’. Greg Hands questions not only the noise implications, but also safety – everyone was recently reminded of the problem when the BA jet with one of its engines in flames was routed directly over London – including Chelsea, Fulham and Hammersmith. Greg says: “Thankfully, it made it back to the airport and nobody was hurt, but it again begs the question: why do we fly more than 1,000 planes a day over London?”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/06/greg-hands-heathrow/

 

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Freight train to China leaves UK – carrying whisky, pharmaceuticals etc – not needing air freight

The first rail freight train from China to the UK arrived three months ago, carrying imports. Now the first return trip is being made, on 10th April, leaving Essex, on the 7,500 mile trip. Thirty containers contain British produced goods including whisky, soft drinks, vitamins, baby products and pharmaceuticals. The DB Cargo locomotive leaves the DP World London Gateway rail terminal in Stanford-le-Hope for the city of Yiwu in Zhejiang province, eastern China. After going through the Channel Tunnel the train will pass through France, Belgium, Duisburg in Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, arriving at Yiwu on 27th April. The operators say it is cheaper to send goods by train than by air and faster than by sea. The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West. The train link means products can be both imported and exported from the UK, as well as by ship – with both being far lower carbon modes of transport than air. Heathrow claims it is vital to the UK economy because of its exports of items like pharmaceuticals and whisky. But it makes better sense to ship these by rail, rather than use so much fuel getting them up to 38,000 feet …. Items that are non-perishable do not need to be air freighted. Frozen fish (Scottish salmon) can be carried by rail.
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First UK rail freight service to China to depart

9.4.2017

The first rail freight train from China to the UK arrived three months ago

The first rail freight service from the UK to China will depart on a 7,500-mile journey from Essex on Monday.

Thirty containers filled with British produced goods were setting off on the 7,500-mile journey from Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. They include whisky, soft drinks, vitamins, baby products and pharmaceuticals.

A DB Cargo locomotive will leave the DP World London Gateway rail terminal in Stanford-le-Hope for the city of Yiwu in Zhejiang province, eastern China.

After going through the Channel Tunnel the train will pass through seven other countries before arriving on 27 April.

These are France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.

After passing through the Channel Tunnel into France and on to Belgium, the train will call in Duisburg, Germany before InterRail pull the cargo through Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazahkstan and arrive at Yiwu, eastern China on April 27.

‘Significant occasion’

The operators say it is cheaper to send goods by train than by air and faster than by sea.

The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West dating back more than 2,000 years.

DP World chief executive Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said it was a “significant trade occasion”.

“DP World London Gateway, one of the UK’s largest logistics hubs, is designed and developed to ensure products can be both imported and exported from the UK via ship or train in a faster, safer and more reliable way than ever before,” he added.

“We look forward to enabling and facilitating more trade between the UK, China and the whole world.”

The first rail freight service in the opposite direction, from China to the UK, arrived three months ago.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39549077

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The journey is cheaper than air freight and faster than sea freight.

The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West, initially created more than 2,000 years ago.

International trade minister Greg Hands said: “This new rail link with China is another boost for global Britain, following the ancient Silk Road trade route to carry British products around the world.

“It shows the huge global demand for quality UK goods and is a great step for DP World’s £1.5 billion London Gateway port as it also welcomes its first regular container ships from Asia.”

DP World chief executive Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said the first freight service from the UK to China is a “significant trade occasion”.

He went on: “DP World London Gateway, one of the UK’s largest logistics hubs, is designed and developed to ensure products can be both imported and exported from the UK via ship or train in a faster, safer and more reliable way than ever before.

“We look forward to enabling and facilitating more trade between the UK, China and the whole world.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/first-train-from-uk-to-china-set-to-depart-from-essex-a3511281.html

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Whisky is also a key export for the UK, with Scotch whisky accounting for a quarter of UK food and drink exports, generating £4 billion for the economy. –

http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Brand-News-22/6203 

 

New data has revealed over £7 billion worth of British exports travelled to China via Heathrow between August 2014 and July 2015, representing a 117% increase on the previous 12 months and over 15% of total UK export goods via Heathrow by value.

http://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/UK-exports-via-Heathrow-rise-9.7/64745.htm#.WOtbyVPyvBI


See earlier:

China starts rail cargo link from Shanghai to London (Barking) – cheaper than air freight, faster than sea

China has launched its first freight train to London, travelling from Yiwu West Railway Station in Zhejiang Province, Eastern China (near Shanghai) to Barking. The trip will take around 18 days to travel over 7,400 miles  (about 6,200 miles, as the crow flies).  The route runs through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, on the way to London. The UK is the eighth country to be added to the China-Europe service, and London is the 15th city. There are hopes that it will strengthen China- UK ties.  The railway is a major strategic development to assist Xi Jinping’s multi-billion dollar ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy. The plan is to create a trade network connecting Asia with Africa and Europe along old Silk Road trading routes. There are currently 39 routes linking 16 Chinese cities to 12 European cities. The train to London carried a cargo of clothes, bags and other household items. In October a train arrived in Hamburg from China after a 13 day trip.  Its 45 containers carried consumer goods, furniture, clothes, lamps and electronics, which were then transported to various European cities. The trains returning to China have carried items such as German meat products, Russian woods and French wines. Transporting goods by rail is a much cheaper and lower carbon method than air freight via Heathrow, and faster than sea cargo.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/01/china-starts-rail-cargo-link-from-shanghai-to-london-barking-cheaper-than-air-freight-faster-than-sea/

 

 

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Grayling tells the Welsh that Heathrow 3rd runway will be of huge benefit to them

On Friday 7th April the DfT held one of its regional events, promoting the 3rd Heathrow runway – as part of its draft NPS consultation (ends 25th May). Chris Grayling must have felt the need to try to encourage attendance (which has been woefully low at other regional events) so he had a piece in the local paper, Wales Online. He pushes the potential benefits of the runway for Wales as hard as he can, with comments like how it will “boost jobs” and “promote our innovative industries on the world stage” and “the new runway could provide better links to more destinations around the world, a wider choice of airlines ….”   He said: “According to Heathrow, it currently handles £2.8 bn of Welsh exports each year. The new runway could double the airport’s freight capacity, linking Welsh businesses with fast growing global markets.”  And so on.   Heathrow signed up to a deal with the Welsh government in January, in which the airport gave some very dubious figures of how much Wales would benefit. These figures are based on Heathrow’s own assumptions, based on assumptions, based on an out of date, highly exaggerated figure of economic benefit of the runway, of £147 billion (that is, over all the UK, over 60 years). Even the DfT no longer believes that figure.
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How the Welsh economy will benefit from a third runway at Heathrow, says Chris Grayling

The UK Government’s Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling on how Welsh exporters will benefit

Aviation expansion is hugely important for Wales, and the whole of the UK, to boost jobs and promote our innovative industries on the world stage.

We recently published the draft Airports National Policy Statement, setting out the planning criteria that should be met before a proposed new runway at Heathrow Airport could gain consent.

For the people and businesses of Cardiff, the new runway could provide better links to more destinations around the world, a wider choice of airlines, and lower fares through increased competition at Heathrow.

The expansion will have a direct impact on the economy of Wales too. According to Heathrow, it currently handles £2.8 bn of Welsh exports each year. The new runway could double the airport’s freight capacity, linking Welsh businesses with fast growing global markets.

Access to London and Heathrow from Wales will be improved by the upgrade to the Great Western rail line. Cardiff Airport is seeing growing passenger numbers, reaching over 1.3 million in 2016.

We expect it to continue attracting new airlines and growing its network of destinations, and expansion at Heathrow could provide passengers with even more choice and opportunity.

With a new runway, Heathrow plans to double its freight capacity. It already handles more freight by value than all other UK airports combined, accounting for 31% of non-EU trade. The expansion would create even more opportunities for exporters in Wales and other nations.

For instance, I hear that Newport firm SPTS Technologies exports more than 95% of its products, all of which are shipped from Heathrow. The company says that Heathrow’s extra capacity for shipping freight could potentially open up new trading routes and lower costs, while new routes could help improve connections for international customers visiting its facilities.

The UK Government wants people and businesses in the area to put their views forward. Today we’ll be listening to Cardiff’s businesses, community groups, manufacturers, freight operators, passenger organisations, local authorities and any interested parties and encouraging them to respond to the consultation.

This Government is not only making the big decisions that previous Governments didn’t, but getting on with delivering them too. It’s all part of our Plan for Britain – to build a stronger, fairer UK with proper investment in skills and sectors, to spread prosperity and opportunity here in South Wales and around the country.

We believe the case for the new runway is compelling. Between 2009 and 2015, Heathrow slipped from being the world’s second busiest airport to the sixth busiest. Heathrow’s two runways are full. By comparison, its main competitors – Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam – have ample spare runway capacity into which to grow.

We have explained why we consider the proposed runway would best meet the pressing need for new airport capacity in the South East in the draft Airports National Policy Statement, which also sets out strict planning obligations Heathrow would have to meet to get approval for the new runway.

It is out for public consultation and will be scrutinised by MPs before a final National Policy Statement could be laid in Parliament next winter.

The draft Airports National Policy Statement is a big step forward for what would be one of Britain’s most important infrastructure projects. Now it is vital that Cardiff is engaged in the consultation process, so it can ensure its interests are represented.

So please join the debate and make your voice heard.”

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/how-welsh-economy-benefit-third-12860434

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See also

 

A new partnership (Welsh Government and Heathrow) could see a flight from Wales to Heathrow Airport

Airport chairman says it could boost economy in Wales by £6.2bn

By Chris Pike (Wales online)

6.3.2017

A new partnership between the Welsh Government and Heathrow Airport could help deliver 8,400 new skilled jobs and £6.2bn in economic growth for Wales.

An agreement is set to be signed today signalling the start of what aims to be a close working relationship between the two.

It will look at mutually beneficial commercial opportunities to support economic growth and the delivery of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

‘Broaden supply chain’

This partnership opens up new business opportunities in Wales as Heathrow, which invests more than £1bn a year at its site, wants to broaden its supply chain to support demand.

The partnership will mean airlines wanting to operate a route from Wales to Heathrow would be eligible to bid for the £10m route development fund.

The first ever Heathrow Business Summit Wales will take place on July 5 providing Welsh businesses with the opportunity of winning new business with the airport’s biggest suppliers.

It will also look at the possibility of locating off site manufacturing logistic hubs in Wales to support delivery for the third runway.

This new strategic partnership will be signed in Cardiff by First Minister Carwyn Jones and Heathrow’s chairman Lord Paul Deighton today.

Lord Deighton said: “I want to ensure that every corner of Britain benefits from Heathrow expansion. This strategic partnership will bring us closer to Wales and help us to deliver an expanded Heathrow.

We want to make it a success’

A new Heathrow runway will unlock up to 8,400 new skilled jobs and underpin up to £6.4bn in growth from construction through to increased tourism and exports for Wales.  [These figures are based on a study, done for Quod, that does some manipulation of out of date predictions, coming up with numbers of jobs and benefits. They are based on a figure of £147 billion of economic benefit.  That is actually the benefit, without taking off the costs. The DfT in October 2016 said the £147 figure should be replaced by £61 billion. Even that is before costs are taken off. It is shameful that the Welsh government is being this badly misled by Heathrow, and given numbers that they are unclear how to interpret.  AW note] This new partnership is a sign of our commitment to ensuring Heathrow expansion delivers tangible benefits for every corner of Britain and we are looking forward to working closely with the Welsh Government and Welsh businesses to make it a success.”

[See the article below, for how Scotland has also been taken for a ride by Heathrow – as have all the regions – based on really dodgy figures, from the Quod study.]

The First Minister said the partnership “opens the door” for Wales to explore new opportunities particularly for Wales’ existing supply chain companies that have the experience and expertise to support infrastructure projects at Heathrow.

He said: “I would certainly like to see a far higher percentage spend in Wales and the Welsh Government will do all it can to support companies in Wales to bid and win more business at Heathrow.

“I am also pleased to announce that plans are already underway to host the first Heathrow Business Summit in Wales, where our supply chain companies will have the chance to meet and discuss opportunities with Heathrow’s procurement team.

“It certainly marks a great start for this new relationship and there are very many other areas we are keen to explore with Heathrow Airport.”

The UK Government confirmed its backing of the expansion of the west London airport in October last year.

At the time, the First Minister welcomed the announcement but said he wanted to see Wales get a fair allocation of landing slots and a spur rail link to Heathrow from the mainline allowing direct rail travel from South Wales.

The planned spur would enable travellers to avoid going into and out of Paddington to get to Heathrow. Trains would deviate from the line towards London after Slough, between the stations Langley and Iver, and go into a tunnel that would take them to Terminal 5.

The rail journey between Reading and Heathrow would be reduced by around 35 minutes. The project has been out for public consultation and feedback is currently being reviewed before another round of consultation.

If given the go-ahead, work could begin in 2019 and be completed by 2024.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/new-partnership-between-welsh-government-12695511

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See earlier, to understand how Heathrow is producing these disingenuous figures:

 

SNP misled by Heathrow inflated claims of number of jobs for Scotland due to a 3rd runway

The SNP decided to give its backing to a Heathrow runway, rather than one at Gatwick – having been led to believe that the only choice on offer was between these two. They were led, by Heathrow PR, to believe there would be greater benefits for Scotland. The SNP hoped to get exports from Scotland (salmon and razor clams) shipped through Heathrow. The Airports Commission came up with a figure of economic benefit from a Heathrow runway of UP TO £147 billion to all the UK over 60 years. Heathrow got a consultancy called Quod to work out the number of jobs. They came up with the figure of 16,100 jobs for Scotland (over 60 years) from the runway. The DfT has now downgraded the £147 billion figure, as it included various speculative elements, and double counted benefits. The new figure (also still far higher than the reality) from the DfT is UP TO £61 billion for the UK over 60 years. That, pro rata, would mean up to about 9,300 jobs for Scotland – not 16,100. It is unfortunate that the SNP were misinformed, as were other MPs, Chambers of Commerce etc across the regions.  Heathrow also pledged benefits for Scotland such as using its steel for construction, and using Prestwick as a base. The Scottish Green party see the SNP backing of a Heathrow runway as a betrayal of those badly affected by it, and of Scotland’s climate commitments.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/11/snp-misled-by-heathrow-inflated-claims-of-number-of-jobs-for-scotland-due-to-a-3rd-runway/

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Ferrovial (owns 25% of Heathrow) halts future UK investment over Brexit – but will keep on with Heathrow

The Spanish company that owns 25% of Heathrow has said that uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU has put a halt on future UK investment deals.  It is not investing more, but it is not divesting either. Ferrovial’s Chairman Rafael del Pino said that though investment in Heathrow is not in doubt, he saw “no opportunities” in the UK in terms future merger and acquisition deals.  However, Ferrovial hopes Brexit would have “positive side effects”, including “a more favourable view of Heathrow expansion” – in fact the current government is so panicked by Brexit that it is desperate to try to show the world Britain is “open for business” by building a new runway, largely as a symbolic gesture.  As well as a 25% stake in Heathrow, Ferrovial also owns stakes in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports. Those help make the UK one of Ferrovial’s most important markets, with about 30% of its revenue generated here.  Del Pino said Ferrovial viewed the Brexit process “prudently”, not just because of its effect on the UK “but also throughout Europe”, as nobody knows what the consequences will be.  Last month, Heathrow’s investors said they would invest £650 million in Heathrow. Not a lot seeing they have taken £2.1 billion in dividends since 2012, and paid hardly any corporation tax.
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Heathrow owner halts future UK investment over Brexit

6.4.2017 (BBC)

The Spanish owner of Heathrow airport has said that uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU has put a halt on future UK investment deals.

Although investment in Heathrow is not in doubt, Ferrovial chairman Rafael del Pino said he saw “no opportunities” in the UK, Spain’s ABC newspaper reported.

Brexit may even have “positive side effects”, including a more favourable view of Heathrow expansion, he added.

The comments referred to future merger and acquisition deals, Ferrovial said.

A public consultation on a third runway at Heathrow ends on 25 May.

Later this year or early next year, MPs are expected to be asked to vote on the runway. It would end decades of debate over how to expand airport capacity in south-eastern England.

Ferrovial also owns stakes in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports.

Those businesses help make the UK one of Ferrovial’s most important markets, with about 30% of its revenue generated in the country.

However, Mr del Pino is taking a “prudent” attitude to the UK.

“Nobody, not even the UK, knows how the process and consequences will be carried out,” he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39512027

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“We do not invest more in the UK, but we do not divest either,” he said at the group’s general meeting of shareholders.

Del Pino said the company viewed the process “prudently”, not just because of its effect on the UK “but also throughout Europe”, as nobody knows how Brexit will unfold and the consequences it will have.

Ferrovial, which also owns stakes in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports, makes around 30% of its revenue in the country.

He did though, add that Britain leaving the European Union may have “positive side effects”, including the “most favourable attitude” of the government to expand London Heathrow Airport.

Last month, the London airport announced its shareholders, including Ferrovial, Qatar Investment Authority, GIC and the China Investment Corporation, were pressing ahead with plans to invest an additional £650m into the airport over the course of 2019.

http://www.cityam.com/262492/heathrow-owner-ferrovial-puts-brakes-uk-investment-because

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Heathrow’s ownership:

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited is in turn owned by FGP Topco Limited, a consortium owned and led by the infrastructure specialist Ferrovial S.A. (25.00%), Qatar Investment Authority (20.00%), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) (12.62%), GIC (11.20%), Alinda Capital Partners of the United States (11.18%), China Investment Corporation (10.00%) and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) (10.00%).


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In its annual report, Ferrovial said the situation “remains difficult” in the UK for its services division due to budget cuts at some of its clients – predominantly local governments – and because of the uncertainty generated by Brexit.

“In this sense Amey launched in 2016 a restructuring plan [Fit 4 Future], to adapt the company to the new environment,” Mr del Pino said.

Mr del Pino also noted that while initial estimates for the performance of the UK economy made following the referendum predicted a “considerable GDP easing” with a possible short-term slowdown, these estimates had “been tweaked toward a more optimistic outlook”.

Heathrow is Ferrovial’s largest asset in the UK but Mr del Pino believed forecasts for a potential slowdown in the British economy were “not expected to significantly affect its activity” given its size and importance, and the fact it is already running at full capacity.

The UK makes up roughly 30pc of Ferrovial’s turnover, rising to 38pc if dividends are counted. Besides Heathrow, Ferrovial has a 50pc stake in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports, and owns infrastructure company Amey and construction firm Ferrovial Agroman UK.

In spite of Mr del Pino’s comments on further investments, in fact Heathrow’s overseas backers recently pledged £650m in investments for major projects likely to include the expansion of Terminal 2 and a new southern access tunnel for road traffic to the airport.

The Government is currently consulting on the proposed expansion of Heathrow, a process that should end on May 25. After September, the Transport Select Committee is expected to conclude its separate inquiry and the Department for Transport will finalise its national policy statement. This will be presented to Parliament and voted on.

It is expected legal challenges to the expansion of the airport could be launched at this point.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/04/06/heathrows-largest-shareholder-sees-positive-side-effects-brexit/

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Sunday Times reports how Heathrow has paid its owners dividends of £2.1 billion since 2012 – but just £24 million in Corporation Tax

The Sunday Times reports that Heathrow has paid its owners back £2.1 billion in dividends, starting in 2012. But it has only paid a total of £24 million in corporation tax since 2006, with that payment being last year. Heathrow’s owners are rewarded whenever the value of the airport increases. If new airport infrastructure is built, the passengers pay for it through the £20 cost on their ticket (and other spending), and the owners benefit.. The CAA calculates how much is spent on investment, and allows Heathrow’s investors to earn a return on the total. The more Heathrow spends, the more its backers can earn. If Heathrow was to spend £17.6 billion on its expansion, the value of the airport would be considered to have increased that much. Due to the huge debts Heathrow has (£12.5 billion out of the £16 billion Ferrovial paid in 2006) the airport’s banks prevented dividends to owners, until 2012. They got £240 million in 2012, which has risen to £2.1 billion. Some of the proceeds of the sale of Gatwick, Edinburgh etc has been used for dividends. The Sunday Times says: …”with a debt-to-assets ratio of about 85% is one of the most heavily indebted airports in the world.” Heathrow will have to recoup the money by high passenger charges, years before the runway is built and open, as otherwise Heathrow’s massive investors are not prepared to take the financial risk. Heathrow is no longer a company quoted on the stock exchange, but that could happen in future.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/01/sunday-times-reports-how-heathrow-has-paid-its-owners-dividends-of-2-1-billion-since-2012-but-just-241-million-in-corporation-tax/

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