Tory manifesto backing for Heathrow runway, during NPS consultation period, turns process into “worthless charade”

Lawyers for HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) will be looking at the Conservative Manifesto pledge to expand Heathrow, despite the public consultation still running. The manifesto states: “We are investing to reduce travel time and cost, increase capacity and attract investment here in the UK.  We will continue our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport – and we will ensure that these great projects do as much as possible to develop the skills and careers of British workers.”  The current 16 week Department for Transport consultation on the Airports National Policy statement (setting out the policy for the basis of a Heathrow 3rd runway) ends of 25th May. The Manifesto was published on 18th May.  Hacan believes the consultation, which is intended to ascertain public opinion about the runway project and conditions that should apply to it, is invalidated by the manifesto pledge.  The NPS consultation also has to be assessed by the Transport Select Committee, and then be voted on in parliament, before it is official government policy. But by seeming to pre-empt this process, the Tory manifesto says the party has already made up its mind, which makes the consultation process into a worthless charade.
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Heathrow expansion opposition group questions Conservative manifesto third runway pledge

Lawyers for HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) will look at the pledge to expand Heathrow, despite the public consultation still running

BY GOOLISTAN COOPER  (Get West London)
22 MAY 2017

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A campaign group is to consult its lawyers over the statement in the Conservative election manifesto that it intends to expand Heathrow .

HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), one of the residents’ groups that oppose the airport’s expansion, claims that the current consultation – which still has a week to run – was invalidated with the pledge on Thursday (May 18) that the Conservatives would proceed with a third runway.

The group’s chairman, John Stewart , believes the pledge to be “unlawful”, saying the consultation risked looking like a “worthless charade”.

The manifesto reads: “We are investing to reduce travel time and cost, increase capacity and attract investment here in the UK.

“We will continue our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport – and we will ensure that these great projects do as much as possible to develop the skills and careers of British workers.”

This left Mr Stewart unhappy. He said: “The manifesto announcement seems to have pre-empted the result of the consultation which doesn’t close until next Thursday.

“We believe this may be illegal and are consulting with lawyers.

“If the government has already made up its mind, the consultation has become a worthless charade.”

Prime Minister Theresa May announced in October that a third runway at Heathrow was the government’s preferred option for expansion.
A consultation on the third runway was released earlier this year in the form of a National Policy Statement.

This will be considered by the Transport Select Committee later this year before being put to a vote in Parliament.

It can only become government policy with the backing of Parliament, HACAN said.

The Conservative Party has been asked to comment.
http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/heathrow-expansion-opposition-group-questions-13062102#ICID=sharebar_twitter

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Read more »

Heathrow expansion plans, and ability to reduce road vehicle trips, threatened by Crossrail costs row

Simon Calder, writing in the Independent, says plans to build a 3rd Heathrow runway could be jeopardised by a row between the airport’s owners and Transport for London (TfL). Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4 are expected to be served by the new Crossrail east-west line, which is due to open  in May 2018. But Heathrow is demanding very high fees from rail users to pay back the estimated £1 billion cost of the privately funded Heathrow Express spur from the Great Western line – into the airport. That opened in 1998. The Office of Rail and Road said that Heathrow could not recoup the historical costs of building this link. Heathrow challenged this decision, and a legal judgment is expected shortly. If the ruling is in favour of Heathrow, TfL may choose not to serve the airport at all — which would throw into doubt predictions of the proportion of passengers using public transport if a 3rd runway was built. The NPS for the runway requires a higher proportion of passengers and staff to use public transport in future, than now.  One of Crossrail’s selling points has been easy access to Heathrow from east London and the City, down to 34 minutes from Liverpool Street to Heathrow. “Without straightforward, low-cost rail links, more airline passengers may opt to go by road to Heathrow — adding to pollution, congestion and noise.”
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HEATHROW EXPANSION PLANS THREATENED BY CROSSRAIL ROW

Britain’s biggest airport accused of demanding £677 every time a train arrives

By SIMON CALDER (TRAVEL CORRESPONDENT, Independent)
22.5.2017

Plans to build a third runway at Heathrow could be jeopardised by a row between the airport’s owners and Transport for London (TfL).

Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4 are expected to be served by the new east-west line, which is due to open between central London and the airport in May 2018.

But Heathrow is demanding a heavy price from the capital’s transport users, in order to pay back the estimated £1bn cost of the rail link. The privately funded Heathrow Express spur from the Great Western line opened in 1998.

The Office of Rail and Road said that Heathrow could not recoup the historical costs of the link, a decision that the airport then asked to be judicially reviewed. A judgment is expected shortly.

If the ruling is in favour of Heathrow, TfL may opt not to serve the airport at all — which would throw into doubt predictions of the proportion of passengers using public transport if a third runway is built.

The National Policy Statement on expanding Heathrow requires that “access to the airport by road, rail and public transport is high quality, efficient and reliable for both passengers and airport workers”.

The Government is committed to maximising the number of journeys made to airports by sustainable modes of transport.

TfL initially plans to run trains four times an hour between Paddington (National Rail) and Heathrow Terminal 4, serving Terminals 2 and 3 along the way, and replacing the existing Heathrow Connect.

One of Crossrail’s selling points has been easy access to Heathrow from east London and the City, as well as Luton and Gatwick airports with a single change at Farringdon.

Once the full service is up and running in 2019, travellers are promised: “The journey time from London Heathrow to the City of London (Liverpool Street) will fall from 55 to 34 minutes.”

But the new link puts the appeal of the Heathrow Express — the existing non-stop service to Paddington — in doubt.

While it still has a time advantage, and will be the only link running to Terminal 5, the Express’s premium price of £25 one-way at peak time may deter some users when a low-cost, high-quality service that goes deeper into London is available.

If TfL decides not to serve Heathrow at all, it is conceivable that passengers could still reach it by changing at Hayes & Harlington to a separate shuttle service. But as well as making the journey more cumbersome for travellers with heavy baggage, it could require them to buy an additional ticket — currently costing £6.30 one way.

While Heathrow’s Underground stations are part of the TfL zonal system, the rail links are not.

A spokesperson for Heathrow told The Independent; “We are committed to increasing public transport to Heathrow and look forward to the arrival of Crossrail in May 2018.

“We need to ensure that track access charges are fair and are waiting on a ruling from the courts on whether the regulations apply and if so, their correct application to costs.”

Heathrow is also intended to be connected to the new High Speed 2 rail link from London to Birmingham via a new station at Old Oak Common in west London.

Without straightforward, low-cost rail links, more airline passengers may opt to go by road to Heathrow — adding to pollution, congestion and noise.

….. and it continues  …..

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/heathrow-expansion-third-runway-transport-for-london-crossrail-trains-express-rail-links-a7748761.html

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See also

Heathrow and Crossrail in legal dispute over how much TfL would have to pay to use 5 miles of track

Crossrail (the Elizabeth line) is a £15 billion train line designed to cross London from west to east, bringing relief for commuters, but it seems it may not now stop at Heathrow because of a legal row with the airport’s owners over fees. Heathrow has its lucrative Heathrow Express service runs partly on a 5-mile stretch of track, built and paid for (over £1 billion) by the airport. The Crossrail link into Heathrow would run on this section of track. It is an expensive (£25 per ticket) route, and Heathrow’s foreign owners want to recoup past spending on the private train line with an “investment recovery charge” of £570 for every train that uses the track, plus extra fees of about £107 per train. But the Elizabeth line, by contrast, will be in line with the fares that apply across the rest of the capital’s transport network. The opening of the new Crossrail service to Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 is expected to throw the financial sustainability of the existing Heathrow Express into question, though Heathrow insists it would continue to run alongside the Elizabeth Line. Heathrow’s owners are now in dispute with the Office of Rail and Road, which sets track access charges, over the amount that TfL, which runs the Elizabeth Line, will need to pay to use the track. The hearings were held earlier this year and a High Court judgment is expected within weeks.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

Heathrow and Crossrail in legal dispute over how much TfL would have to pay to use 5 miles of track

Crossrail (the Elizabeth line) is a £15 billion train line designed to cross London from west to east, bringing relief for commuters, but it seems it may not now stop at Heathrow because of a legal row with the airport’s owners over fees. Heathrow has its lucrative Heathrow Express service runs partly on a 5-mile stretch of track, built and paid for (over £1 billion) by the airport. The Crossrail link into Heathrow would run on this section of track. It is an expensive (£25 per ticket) route, and Heathrow’s foreign owners want to recoup past spending on the private train line with an “investment recovery charge” of £570 for every train that uses the track, plus extra fees of about £107 per train.  But the Elizabeth line, by contrast, will be in line with the fares that apply across the rest of the capital’s transport network. The opening of the new Crossrail service to Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 is expected to throw the financial sustainability of the existing Heathrow Express into question, though Heathrow insists it would continue to run alongside the Elizabeth Line. Heathrow’s owners are now in dispute with the Office of Rail and Road, which sets track access charges, over the amount that TfL, which runs the Elizabeth Line, will need to pay to use the track. The hearings were held earlier this year and a High Court judgment is expected within weeks. 
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See Crossrail (the Elizabeth line) map

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Crossrail hits buffers at Heathrow

By John Collingridge (The Sunday Times)
May 21 2017,

The Heathrow Express has an exclusive deal to run services to the airport’s Terminal 5 until 2023

It’s a £15bn train line designed to span London from west to east, bringing much needed relief for commuters — yet Crossrail services may not now stop at Heathrow because of a legal row with the airport’s owners.

The lucrative Heathrow Express service runs partly on a five-mile stretch of track built by the airport for more than £1bn. But the £25-a-passenger service will be upended by the arrival of Crossrail next year.

Full Sunday Times article at 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/crossrail-hits-buffers-at-heathrow-jwrcctt60

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Crossrail and Heathrow in legal dispute over fees

New Elizabeth line will undercut prices of £25 Heathrow Express service

By Gill Plimmer (Financial Times)

21.5.2017

A plan for London’s new £15bn Crossrail line to stop at Heathrow airport when the service fully opens next year may be derailed by a legal dispute over fees.

The Elizabeth line, as it has been named, will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Part of the line will run on track built by Heathrow’s owners, which include the Spanish construction company Ferrovial, plus sovereign wealth funds Qatar Holding and China Investment Corp, who use it for the premium £25-a-trip Heathrow Express service.

……..

The ORR said: “In May 2016, taking into account representations and evidence from affected parties, including considerable documentation and submissions from Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL), we decided HAL is not permitted to introduce all of its proposed new charges for train operators to use its track, which links Heathrow Airport to the Great Western main line.”

Transport for London, the Department for Transport and Crossrail declined to comment.

….. Full FT article at

https://www.ft.com/content/99db1716-3e18-11e7-9d56-25f963e998b2

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Earlier:

Sunday Times reports that Heathrow wants to recoup its Crossrail costs by extra charges for passengers

The Crossrail link to Heathrow is due to open by the end of 2019, and it is expected that this will cut the travel time from Liverpool Street station to Heathrow from 55 minutes to 34 minutes. Heathrow built and paid for a 5.3 mile long stretch of line linking its terminals with the main line to Paddington station. But the Sunday Times reports that now Heathrow wants to recoup the cost of building this stretch of line, which was completed almost 20 years ago, from users of Crossrail. The DfT estimates that meeting Heathrow’s claim could add over £40m on to the annual cost of running Crossrail. The DfT believes Heathrow should not get this money back. If Heathrow gets its way, rail passengers would have to pay inflated prices to travel to Heathrow. Transport for London (TfL), which will oversee Crossrail, will have to decide whether to claw back the cost through ticket prices on the line, or spread it across the whole of London’s transport network. Heathrow says it paid over £1 billion for the tracks, trains and depots, and to get this back, it wants a fee of £597, plus a maintenance charge of £138, to be paid by Crossrail every time one of its trains uses the line. Heathrow also owns Heathrow Express, Britain’s most expensive train service (£26.50 from Paddington to Heathrow). The decision on any financial deal will be in the hands of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/12/sunday-times-reports-that-heathrow-wants-to-recoup-its-crossrail-costs-by-extra-charges-for-passengers/

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Taxpayers to cover Heathrow’s £160 million contribution to Crossrail – CAA claims Heathrow doesn’t need more passengers coming by rail

Plans for the £14.8 billion Crossrail line across London originally envisaged – in 2008 – a £230 million contribution from Heathrow, to reflect the benefit it is expected to gain from the link to central London, Maidenhead, and Brentwood. But now it emerges that the taxpayer must cover a £160 million shortfall, which Heathrow will now not pay. Now Heathrow will only pay £70 million.  [Heathrow is pushing hard for a 3rd runway – surely if it got that, it would  need all the rail  passengers from Crossrail that it can get]. The CAA has said that with the airport already running at or near capacity, (it is not at capacity for terminal space, only runway space) Crossrail would deliver no net benefit in terms of additional passengers. After the CAA set aside a provisional pot of £100 million to pay towards Crossrail, the DfT lowered its proposal to £137 million, and now down to £70 million. The National Audit Office said the shortfall means that the DfT’s contribution to the project will rise from £4.8 billion to almost £5 billion; but this remains inside the £5.2 billion set aside in case it failed to secure sufficient funding from private sources. Crossrail is now half built and is due to open by December 2019. It will run from Maidenhead, via Heathrow, out to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/01/19584/

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HEATHROW EXPANSION PLANS THREATENED BY CROSSRAIL ROW

Britain’s biggest airport accused of demanding £677 every time a train arrives

By SIMON CALDER (TRAVEL CORRESPONDENT, Independent)
22.5.2017

Plans to build a third runway at Heathrow could be jeopardised by a row between the airport’s owners and Transport for London (TfL).

Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4 are expected to be served by the new east-west line, which is due to open between central London and the airport in May 2018.

But Heathrow is demanding a heavy price from the capital’s transport users, in order to pay back the estimated £1bn cost of the rail link. The privately funded Heathrow Express spur from the Great Western line opened in 1998.

The Office of Rail and Road said that Heathrow could not recoup the historical costs of the link, a decision that the airport then asked to be judicially reviewed. A judgment is expected shortly.

If the ruling is in favour of Heathrow, TfL may opt not to serve the airport at all — which would throw into doubt predictions of the proportion of passengers using public transport if a third runway is built.

The National Policy Statement on expanding Heathrow requires that “access to the airport by road, rail and public transport is high quality, efficient and reliable for both passengers and airport workers”.

The Government is committed to maximising the number of journeys made to airports by sustainable modes of transport.

TfL initially plans to run trains four times an hour between Paddington (National Rail) and Heathrow Terminal 4, serving Terminals 2 and 3 along the way, and replacing the existing Heathrow Connect.

One of Crossrail’s selling points has been easy access to Heathrow from east London and the City, as well as Luton and Gatwick airports with a single change at Farringdon.

Once the full service is up and running in 2019, travellers are promised: “The journey time from London Heathrow to the City of London (Liverpool Street) will fall from 55 to 34 minutes.”

But the new link puts the appeal of the Heathrow Express — the existing non-stop service to Paddington — in doubt.

While it still has a time advantage, and will be the only link running to Terminal 5, the Express’s premium price of £25 one-way at peak time may deter some users when a low-cost, high-quality service that goes deeper into London is available.

If TfL decides not to serve Heathrow at all, it is conceivable that passengers could still reach it by changing at Hayes & Harlington to a separate shuttle service. But as well as making the journey more cumbersome for travellers with heavy baggage, it could require them to buy an additional ticket — currently costing £6.30 one way.

While Heathrow’s Underground stations are part of the TfL zonal system, the rail links are not.

A spokesperson for Heathrow told The Independent; “We are committed to increasing public transport to Heathrow and look forward to the arrival of Crossrail in May 2018.

“We need to ensure that track access charges are fair and are waiting on a ruling from the courts on whether the regulations apply and if so, their correct application to costs.”

Heathrow is also intended to be connected to the new High Speed 2 rail link from London to Birmingham via a new station at Old Oak Common in west London.

Without straightforward, low-cost rail links, more airline passengers may opt to go by road to Heathrow — adding to pollution, congestion and noise.

….. and it continues  …..

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/heathrow-expansion-third-runway-transport-for-london-crossrail-trains-express-rail-links-a7748761.html

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Inadequate and unsatisfactory replies from Sir Jeremy Sullivan to complaints about the NPS consultation process

Many people have taken part in the DfT’s consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS). The NPS is to provide the policy to support a 3rd Heathrow runway. The DfT appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan, a retired judge, to oversee the consultation and ensure it was carried out adequately. However, it appears Sir Jeremy is only looking at process, and not at content.  Responses by Sir Jeremy to letters to him, complaining about the consultation, have received some unsatisfactory responses – and some of these are copied below. Sir Jeremy is unconcerned that the material in the exhibitions by the DfT was biased, and gave only partial information. His view is that as the government is in favour of the runway, it would be expected that the material would reflect this. To all those who complained to him, he merely advises that all comments and points should be sent to the DfT in consultation responses. In response to many people who complained about the absence of flight path detail, he comments that “In my view it is still possible to have a fair consultation upon the basis of indicative flight paths, provided it is made clear that they are only indicative.” And on selective quotes from backers of Heathrow (no balance with other comments) he says: “In my view using quotes from business leaders and others which are in support of this position is in keeping with the purpose of the [DfT consultation] events.”
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Sir Jeremy Sullivan was appointed, by Chris Grayling, in October 2016  to oversee the draft Airports National Policy Statement consultation. 

Chris Grayling:   “I have appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan, the former Senior President of Tribunals, to provide independent oversight of the draft Airports National Policy Statement consultation process and ensure best practice is upheld.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/people/jeremy-sullivan

If you have any comments on the consultation process, please contact Sir Jeremy at independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk.

“Sir Jeremy will not comment or respond on any issue relating to government policy on airport expansion, but will consider all comments he receives on the consultation process.”


 

Response 1:

Dear XXXXXX (name given)

Thank you for your email.

I will respond to each of the points which have raised in turn if I may.

  1. While I agree that the signposting at the event locations might have been improved, this is the kind of matter which the Department for Transport would need to consider and take into account when running future consultations. However, the Departments records show that a combined total of 560 people attended the events at Maidenhead and Twickenham so people were able to find their way to the events.
  2. I should make it clear that the ‘policy’ to which you refer is the Government’s policy and not ‘my policy’.
  3. I note your view that the Departmental representatives at the events were unable to answer some of the questions which they were asked. However, this view was not one which was shared by 72% of those who attended the events and completed a questionnaire form to state the view that they felt that the representatives had been able to adequately answer their questions.
  4. One of the main purposes of a consultation is to enable consultees to raise points which they contend should/should not have been considered by the decision taker. You should make your concerns about safety in your response to the consultation.
  5. I respectfully disagree with your view that the consultation is not a genuine consultation under the 2008 Planning Act.
  6. See my response to 4 above.
  7. I have noted your comment.

Kind Regards,

Sir Jeremy Sullivan

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The original complaint said (by email)
Sent: 09 May 2017
To: independentadviser <independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk>
Subject: Complaint about so-called ‘consultation’ process.

Dear Sir,

Having managed to attend two of the consultations, no thanks to the direction signs that were not effectively put out, and the lack of proper advertisement of such sessions (it took the local council to do that, when it should have been you doing it), I have serious concerns about its viability as a ‘consultation’.

  1. The lack of physical signposts. For instance, I went to the Maidenhead consultation. Had I not managed to find out where it was by other means, and known that it was supposed to be there, I would never have found it if left to the signposting. There was one small notice placed in a position where those coming in by car found it almost impossible to see. Even then the signposting then ceased, and we were left to guess where it might be, and found it simply by dint of searching. Without much searching we would never have known it was happening. For something as important as a consultation on government policy it should surely have been made much better known – with clear and frequent signs directing passers-by to the door. This did not happen there, nor in Twickenham, where I also attended – on that occasion I spent 3 hours outside ensuring that people looking for it knew where to go. Such consultations should shout their presence, so even the unknowing passer-by can find them. Not sit in shamed silence, trying to pretend that they aren’t there at all.
  2. Since your policy is clearly in favour of the expansion of Heathrow, it was clear that members of the public should not have been surprised by what was on offer once they managed to find their way into the consultation – that is, that they can expect to be deceived into believing that expansion at Heathrow is worthwhile. Balanced argument and presentation were simply non-existent.
  3. The Department for Transport representatives were unable to answer many questions put to them by the public. Although I am sure that you will say that the officials were at the events to explain not debate the Government’s policy. However, they should at least be able to do that effectively – which they could not. One official would know a little (but not much) about ‘their board’, but nothing about another part of the presentation – thus they had no idea that they contradicted each other and the facts in many matters. This is not an effective and helpful consultation.
  4. NOTHING was presented about the issue of safety. It is a matter of fact that a third runway increases the risk of a air crash by 60% – this is hidden away in your own government documents. Despite this, there was nothing whatsoever presented about one of the three major issues that are related to the expansion of Heathrow (the other two being noise and pollution). NO genuine consultation, which seeks to be fair and open, would have avoided such a topic.
  5. It was quite clear, having attended, that the DfT Leaflet was incorrect and the word “Consultation” in the phrase “Heathrow North West Runway Consultation” should have been omitted. I doubt you will have any desire to apologise for this, sitting smugly as you are in your overpaid tax-payer funded ivory tower, away from the reality of life under the flight paths, and filled with the largesse of a grateful government and air industry. Indeed, as this clearly isn’t a genuine consultation, you will have in the eyes of your masters and betters, done your job superbly.
  6. You will no doubt ‘note my view’ that the information provided was incomplete. At the same time you will come up with vast swathes of explanation as to why you cannot present the few bits of information that the pubic really want about this proposed third runway (which, believe me, will not happen). Nothing about safety (as I have said), nothing about increase in pollution, nothing about increase in noise, nothing about where flight paths will be, nothing whatsoever about anything that matters. It is not a consultation without presentation of such matters. You will probably tell me (because no -one will be given the access to the original paperwork and facts in order to have the ability to question it) that a large number of respondents thought it was all very good, and thank you sir (tugging their forelocks as they wrote it no doubt). You’ll go for about two thirds being so grateful. But frankly, having spent considerable time at and outside two of the consultations, the vast majority of those coming out were happy to talk to those of us who oppose the runway, and were utterly unimpressed by your alleged consultation. our knowledge challenges your fake news.
  7. I can sum up your view with ease: “My view is that while I understand a consultee’s wish to know whether he or she is going to be exterminated, it seems to me that we have a ‘chicken and egg’ situation; details of the decision to exterminate you cannot be made unless the decision to exterminate you has been taken.”

 

From  [write is involved with various and numerable charities, all of which will be negatively and adversely affected by this proposed runway.]

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Response 2:

From: [ independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk ]

Sent: 09 March 2017 16:32

Subject: To Sir Jeremy Sullivan: re Heathrow Third Runway and National Policy Statement Consultation

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email to Sir Jeremy Sullivan. I can confirm that he has seen your email and asked that I respond to this with the below;

May I firstly apologise for not responding to your email sooner. I had initially asked that the Department respond to your concerns but this does not appear to have happened and I apologise for this.

The purpose of the consultation events is to explain the Government’s policies relating to its preference for a new runway at Heathrow airport and the reasons for these. The boards which have been used at the events take extracts directly from the draft National Policy Statement in order to help inform attendees about this.

On the issue of flight paths which you have raised, my view is that while I understand your wish to have detailed information on flight paths, it seems to me that we have a ‘chicken and egg’ situation; a decision on detailed flight paths will not be made by the Civil Aviation Authority until it has been decided (a) whether there should be an additional runway in the south east and (b) if so, whether this should be a new runway at Heathrow

Once the planning position is clarified it will be possible to determine detailed flight paths in accordance with whatever process that may be adopted following the Government’s Airspace Consultation.

In my view it is still possible to have a fair consultation upon the basis of indicative flight paths, provided it is made clear that they are only indicative.  I also note your criticisms of the Appraisal of Sustainability. These points can be made as part of your response to the consultation.

Once again my apologies for the delay in responding to you.

Kind Regards,

Craig (on behalf of Sir Jeremy Sullivan)

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The original complaint said (by email)

From:  XXXXXXX   (name given – in Teddington)
Sent: 20 February 2017
To: independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk
Subject: To Sir Jeremy Sullivan: re Heathrow Third Runway and National Policy Statement Consultation

Dear Sir Jeremy,

I have got your email address from the Government web site. The consultation event in my area for Heathrow expansion is this coming Thursday the 23rd February. I have been presented with a leaflet which seems to contain an extraordinarily small amount of information and most importantly no information whatsoever on where the flight paths for all these extra planes are going to be. I do not see how I am going to be in a position to ask pertinent questions or properly participate in the Consultation if we have no details of where these planes are going to go or how often they are going to go there.

I would be most grateful therefore if you could arrange for a copy of the maps of the proposed new flight routes to be emailed to me prior to the Consultation evening on Thursday.

Thank you in advance for your assistance

Yours sincerely

XXXXXX


Their next email, as no response was received: 

 

From: XXXXXXX

Sent: 04 March 2017 10:14
To: independentadviser <independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk>
Subject: To Sir Jeremy Sullivan: re Heathrow Third Runway and National Policy Statement Consultation

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Dear Sir Jeremy,

I was disappointed not to receive even an automated derisory grunt in response to my email to you below. I duly attended, along with my friends and other local residents, the Consultation Event on the 23rd February. Predictably it was a farce. No one knew anything of substance and what people did know was presented as blatantly misleading. It could have been a pass-by roadshow for a new formula of washing powder. Indeed many of us wondered if Heathrow had written the leaflet which was so misleading and manifestly false. For example not even the Government thinks that there will be £61 billion of economic benefits. Upon the Government’s own figures the net benefit after costs will be up to £6.1 billion (yes one tenth of the figure given) spread over 60 years and even that does not take into account any detraction from the Regions by the expansion of Heathrow.

No one had any response to the question of how are we not going to be poisoned by emissions taking into account the two court orders that the Government have yet to comply with (ordering them to comply with EU Reg 2008/50). No one could give me any assurance that the Court orders would or could be complied with

No one had a response to my question of how Heathrow could afford all this and had anyone even looked at Heathrow’s filed accounts at Companies House to check if Heathrow could afford it (I have and I cannot see how this can be afforded without the taxpayer funding most of it).

I questioned the person attending to the noise maps and asked her if the DfT were including non-noise events in their calculations. She said they were. I said that the DfT should not do this and she said that the maps were only models and nothing more. That was clearly untrue since the Commission used these maps and the DfT have based their NPS health assessment on them.

No one had the answer to the question that I posed to you (where are the flight paths going).

The NPS is supposed as a matter of law to have a proper consultation. As a matter of law it is supposed to have a proper sustainability assessment in support. I complain that it has neither. I also complain to you that you have failed to respond to me and provide or procure that I am provided with the information requested.

If you are not considering the government’s plans for raising awareness of the consultation and for stakeholder and public engagement during this period, or challenging these where necessary or monitoring the delivery of the consultation then please accept my apologies for troubling you.

Yours sincerely

XXXXXXXX


Their next email, as the response from “Craig” was unsatisfactory: 

From:   XXXXXXX
Date: 10 May 2017
Subject: To Sir Jeremy Sullivan: re Heathrow Third Runway and National Policy Statement Consultation
To: independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk

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Dear Sir Jeremy,

I have not come back to you following your email of the 9th March below. I had decided that there was no point in engaging with you following such an obviously biased reply and one so far removed from your stated role. My decision was a mistake and I am rectifying this by complaining to you about how you have handled my complaint, which I claim is not at all in accordance with your stated role.

Your stated role as published on the Government’s website is to:

“consider the government’s plans for raising awareness of the consultation and for stakeholder and public engagement during this period, challenging these where necessary; monitor the delivery of the consultation and make recommendations for improvements to the Secretary of State for Transport; produce a report to the Secretary of State for Transport on the government’s approach to and delivery of the consultation”.

Firstly; you have not replied to me at all. I have only had correspondence from someone called “Craig”. I do not know if “Craig” is a human or whether he, she or it is an automated response vehicle in your Office. From my recollection, complaints to Heathrow about noise and excessively low flying planes have sometimes been answered by a “Craig”. Is Heathrow’s “Craig” the same as your “Craig”? As a practising lawyer involved in dispute resolution for many years I cannot imagine what the response of my opponents or a Judge would have been if I had addressed any of them by saying that my name “is Neil”. I suspect that I might have been told to stop being so rude, arrogant and presumptuous and to start treating people with respect.

Secondly; the presentation of information by the Government to members of the public is entirely a matter of procedure. One may be pro or anti expansion of Heathrow but we are entitled to be told the truth. You, as the independent adviser, are charged with monitoring this. It is not a free lunch for you with extra claret. Do you seriously think that there would not be any difference in responses if people had been told the truth about the noise contours? Do you seriously think that people would not have been influenced one way or the other if they had been told whether the proposed new flight paths were over their heads or not?

Thirdly; do you not think that we should not have been told that the £61 billion “economic benefit” was truly £0.2 billion carbon capped net economic benefit over 60 years on the Government’s own figures?

Fourthly; what about the £700 million for noise insulation being only about one tenth of that required?

Fifthly; do you seriously think that the omission of any reference to NOx and Sulphur emissions, bearing in mind that the Government was in breach of a High Court order and a Supreme Court order at the time the consultation document was produced, was acceptable?

Sixthly; do you not think that the Government might have stated that the 6 hour 30 minute “ban” might have made clearer that it would not be delivered because it was only for scheduling?

Even someone in favour of expansion could have said that the emissions targets are unlikely to be met but we endorse expansion of Heathrow because of: 1, 2 and 3. Do you not think that the Government could have said that the net economic benefit of expanding Heathrow is £0.18 per year over a 60 year period  per man woman and child but we still support expansion because of; 1, 2 and 3?

To re-cap my complaints about your conduct are:

  1. You failed to deal with my complaint and instead appointed an unidentifiable body called “Craig”
  2. You failed to answer my allegation that we had not been told the truth by the Government
  3. You failed to address the fact that the figure of £61 billion was manifestly false and was in fact £0.2 billion over 60 years
  4. You failed to answer my allegation that £700 million for noise insulation was a gross under-statement of what is required
  5. You failed to answer my allegation that the Government failed to mention anything about emissions and expansion of Heathrow notwithstanding that the Government was in breach of two court orders.
  6. You failed to answer my allegation that the statement that there would be a scheduled flight ban of 6 hours 30 minutes per might may not be met because of over-running of flights.

You will appreciate that while you might say that these matters could be raised in the response to the Consultation (which incidentally I have already done), they could not be so raised if people did not know of them in the first place because they had believed what was in the Consultation Leaflet. If people do not have an intimate knowledge of these facts then they will not spot the deception and as a consequence not put these matters in their response. These are matters of procedure and are nothing to do with chicken and eggs and which of the two might have come first.

Yours sincerely

XXXXXXX

 

No response has yet been received from Sir Jeremy Sullivan.


Response 3:

Response from Sir Jeremy Sullivan – “independent advisor”  to Friends of the Earth, West London.

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May I firstly apologise for the slight delay in responding to you. Upon receipt of your email I asked the Department if it would provide me with some background information about the quotes which were used on the information boards at the local consultation events.

The Department has confirmed to me that the quote which was used which came directly from David Lean from London First was used to highlight the benefits and provide support for the Government’s preference for a new runway at Heathrow. The origin of the quote dates back to before the commencement of the Government’s consultation on the draft NPS and the Department have confirmed that it sought the permission of Mr Lean before using his quote on its display materials. Quotes from a range of other sources, including for example the TUC, were used on the boards at the events.

The purpose of the local consultation events and the information which was provided at these was to enable the Government to set out the proposals for a new runway at Heathrow airport and the reasons for its preference for this airport expansion scheme. In my view using quotes from business leaders and others which are in support of this position is in keeping with the purpose of the events.

You are of course free to disagree with the views which have been expressed by the Government (and others) in its consultation and the quotes which appeared on the exhibition boards.

I would advise that you make such points when providing your response to the consultation.

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The original email sent by  West London Friends of the Earth to “independent advisor” – Sir Jeremy Sullivan.

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I attended the DfT NPS ‘consultation information event’ at Southall on 13th February. I understand that the same displays were shown at the other events.

I was extremely concerned at the bias shown in the material. A blatant example was quotes from David Lean of London First.

London First has been a long-standing supporter of Heathrow expansion. Having their comments in what ought to be a balanced and impartial consultation is therefore wrong. If DfT are going to quote from supporters of Heathrow expansion, quotes should also be given from opponents of expansion in order to give balance.

One of David Lean’s quotes was that there are “important safeguards on noise”. David Lean and London First are not authorities on aircraft noise. If comments are to be made about noise, they should be from someone qualified to so do. To give a quote from an unqualified supporter of Heathrow expansion is a further illustration of bias in the consultation.

 


West London FOE’s conclusions

In Sullivan’s view it is ok to give quotes supporting expansion from people who support expansion. But not giving counterbalancing comments from those who oppose.  So he – a retired judge – sees nothing wrong with a government giving systematically biased information and presentations to its citizens in order to promote a scheme.

Sullivan ignores the point that David Lean of London First has no qualifications to speak about noise.  We conclude that he – a retired judge – thinks it’s ok for the government to give sound bites from uninformed and biased supporters of Runway 3.  Instead of quotes from qualified and independent experts.

 

 


Response 4:

From: independentadviser <independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk>
Date: 19 May 2017 
To: XXXXXXX
Subject: RE: Comments on the NPS consultation process

Dear Madam,

Thank you for your email to Sir Jeremy Sullivan. He has asked that I respond with the below message;

It seems to me that the Health Impact Assessment makes the Government’s position clear; a full HIA has not been carried out and there has been no targeted stakeholder consultation.

Whether the Government’s reasons for adopting this course of action are/are not adequate is a matter of judgement. Your view clearly differs from that of the Government and should be made in a response to the consultation.

I note your view that failure to mention certain health impacts is a major flaw in the consultation process, which leaves the Government at risk of judicial review. My role dos not include giving the Department any legal advice. I would merely observe that one of the purposes of any consultation is to enable consultees to identify points which they contend have not been adequately considered by the decision taker.

Kind Regards,

Craig (on behalf of Sir Jeremy Sullivan)

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The original complaint said (by email)
 

From:  XXXXXX
Sent: 16 May 2017
To: independentadviser <independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk>
Subject: Comments on the NPS consultation process

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Dear Sir Jeremy,

I understand that we are to write to you if we have concerns regarding the current NPS consultation process.

Firstly, I would like to say that I am very familiar with the Cabinet Office Consultation Principles. I have also worked for the past eighteen years in both central government and the health service so I am very familiar with how public consultations are undertaken in relation to health issues.

My concerns relate principally to the Health Impact Assessment, published as part of the NPS consultation. I trust that you are familiar with this document. I believe that there are major shortcomings with the current NPS consultation process on the grounds that

1) a full health assessment has not been carried out; and

2) the DfT has failed to highlight or give sufficient weight to significant adverse impacts on health which are of great public interest or to properly engage or consult with those people likely to be most affected.

A full health assessment has not been carried out

The HIA Executive Summary acknowledges that a full Health Impact Assessment has not been carried out because “of the lack of available detail about the proposals’. The suite of NPS consultation documents inclusive of Annexes runs to thousands of pages so it is incredible that the DfT has failed to undertake crucial work on the potential impact on public health and wholly irresponsible to consult the public without providing them with this information. A further explanation for the reasons behind this decision is given at paragraph 2.4.1 but this is written in such an opaque manner that it can only appear to be seeking to mask the true reasons and mislead the public.

The DfT has failed to highlight or give sufficient weight to significant adverse impacts on health which are of great public interest or to properly engage and consult with those people likely to be most affected,

The document goes on to identify a number of serious health impacts associated with airport expansion which include an increased risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, respiratory, mental health issues as well as learning delays in children. There has thankfully, been some attempt to properly assess some of the impacts of a third runway, with the statement at paragraph 5.7.47 states that ‘There are 47,063 properties where annual mean NO2 concentrations within the Principal Study Area are predicted to be higher, with 121,377 people affected’.

However, paragraph 1.1.8 of the document states that ‘Due to the confidential nature of elements of this study, no targeted stakeholder consultation has taken place at this stage’. So this is a clear admission that despite the DfT knowing the people and properties that will experience an increase in air pollutants as a result of a third runway – and as a consequence a higher risk if developing any number of serious illnesses – it has failed to directly engage of consult with those people. Equally, there is no explicit mention of these likely impacts within the main NPS consultation documents – only general and vague statements about mitigation. I would say that this is a major flaw in the consultation process and one which leaves the Government at risk of judicial review.

I look forward to your response on these issues.

Yours sincerely,

XXXXXXX

 

[Her comment on the inadequate response from “Craig”: completely useless response from the ‘independent’ advisor, which fails to address the issues raised. So defensive too! ]

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Response 5:

From: independentadviser [mailto:independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk]
Sent: 08 May 2017
Subject: RE: DfT NPS consultation – complaint

To a complainant living in an area badly affected by Heathrow noise

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Dear Madam,

Thank you for your email to Sir Jeremy Sullivan. He has seen this and asked that I respond with the below;

Thank you for your email. I note your view that the draft NPS consultation is in breach of Cabinet Office guidelines but I respectfully disagree with this.

Your criticisms appear to relate to the local consultation events, which were only one aspect of the consultation. The full explanation of the Government’s policies and the reasons for them is contained within the draft NPS and associated documents, including the Appraisal of Sustainability. The exhibits at the local events were, of necessity limited and sought to explain the Government’s policy on airport expansion.

Since that policy is in favour of the expansion of Heathrow the exhibits were likely to be regarded as being ‘Pro Heathrow’ by those consultees who are opposed to the expansion of Heathrow.

I note your view that the Department for Transport representatives were unable to answer many questions put to them by the public. The officials were at the events to explain not debate the Government’s policy. Incidentally, the Department collected feedback forms from members of the public who had attended the events and 72% of those who completed the form felt that the officials had been able to respond to their questions effectively.

While it is correct that verbal comments made at the consultation events will not be recorded as responses to the consultation, it is not correct to say that consultees have to complete the online responses forms in order to respond to the consultation. Consultees can respond to the consultation in a number of ways – by email, by post or via the online facilities.

I note your view that the information provided about flight paths was incomplete. My view is that while I understand a consultees wish to have detailed information on flight paths, it seems to me that we have a ‘chicken and egg’ situation; a decision on detailed flight paths will not be made by the Civil Aviation Authority until it has been decided (a) whether there should be an additional runway in the south east and (b) if so, whether this should be a new runway at Heathrow.

Once the planning position is clarified it will be possible to determine detailed flight paths in accordance with whatever process that may be adopted following the Government’s Airspace Consultation.

In my view it is still possible to have a fair and meaningful consultation upon the basis of indicative flight paths, provided it is made clear that they are only indicative.

Kind Regards,

Craig (on behalf of Sir Jeremy Sullivan)

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The original complaint said (by email)

From:  XXXXXX
Sent: 04 May 2017
To: independentadviser <independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk>
Subject: DfT NPS consultation – complaint

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Dear Sir Jeremy

I am writing to register complaint concerning the way in which the public have been consulted on the SE airport runway consultation. I attended the initial launch meeting between yourself and community groups at the start of this process.

The cabinet office has issued clear guidance (2016) regarding how government consultations should be conducted. In my opinion the current consultation is in breach of this on a number of grounds in relation to the process that has been followed.

Consultations failures of process

The consultation fails on this ground on the basis the process for communicating the information  to communities was well thought out.  In fact it was as if the whole process was designed to ensure that people didn’t receive much real factual data because ambiguity obfuscated the flaws in the consultation.  The information presented was

  • Not balanced as the information clearly favoured  Heathrow expansion rather than presenting both sides of the argument
  • Misleading, especially in relation to the noise analysis because areas such as Teddington that are seriously affected by noise impacts were excluded from the maps
  • Inadequate as the DfT representatives were unable to answer many of my questions and told me that the ONLY responses factored into the final report and decision would be those returned via the DfT lengthy and very detailed paper reply forms.  So what was the point of all this expense for an event that was NOT a consultation but merely a PR exercise for Heathrow?
  • Incomplete because they didn’t show the flight paths from an expanded airport so how were we supposed to consult on them!!!

I would appreciate your consideration of the points raised in this email and send me your response as to how the outcome of such a flawed consultation process can be amended to give equal weight to residents (versus Heathrow) input.

Yours sincerely,

XXXXXXXX

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To this, the person complaining sent a further email:

 

From: XXXXXXX
Sent: 09 May 2017 07:47
To: independentadviser <independentadviser@runwayconsultation.gsi.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: DfT NPS consultation – complaint

 

Dearest naïve Craig,

Hate to upset your day, but some “madams” actually have brain cells and mine have been honed for 25 years at executive board level running global companies in the ultra-competitive technology market sector – rather than what appears to be a very lax public sector where people clock into government jobs with the hope of getting a cushy job with the industries they protect from abusing the public.  Is it totally sickening to see how many government officials are shuffling between government committees and Heathrow.

Since your policy is in favour of the expansion of Heathrow, members of the public should have expected to be deceived into believing that expansion at Heathrow is worthwhile and the Department for Transport representatives should have been able to answer questions put to them by the public. Why waste MY taxpayer money to have “consultations” where the public view is irrelevant and where the officials were at the events to explain not debate the Government’s policy.  The DfT Leaflet was incorrect and the word “Consultation” in the phrase “Heathrow North West Runway Consultation” should have been omitted.

Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from the noise today from just two runways.  Imagine if there are 270,000 more planes.  Spending a day with some of them would wipe the smug smile off your face while sending me such a glib, nonsensical reply.  There is data commissioned by Heathrow (obviously a slip on their part) that PROVES planes can safely take off at a minimum 15% degree climb rate that would significantly reduce noise and pollution. However, climbing at that gradient might cost airlines a bit more and so Heathrow and UK government don’t require it (unlike other airports around the world) because then the 92% foreign owners of Heathrow couldn’t charge as much for landing fees.

Want the real facts?  Just let me know and I will send you better information than the DfT is willing to admit exists.

Disgustedly yours,

XXXXXXXX

 

 

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To which this response was sent:
 

Subject RE: DfT NPS consultation – complaint
From independentadviser
To:  XXXXXX
Date: ? 10th May 2017
Dear  XXXXXXX

Thank you for your further email.

I do not think that I can usefully add anything further to my earlier reply.

Since you are clearly opposed to expansion at Heathrow, I would urge you to make the points which you have raised with me in your response to the consultation.

Kind Regards,

Sir Jeremy Sullivan

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Sir Jeremy Sullivan took a different line on inadequate information back in 2007

The person complaining points out that this was Sir Jeremy’s contradictory view in a previous case:   http://saveallypally.com/pressreleases.html   This was a case about Alexandra Palace, in 2007, over which he presided.

This says:

 

“Mr Justice Jeremy Sullivan opened the hearing saying “I am driven to the point of incredulity when I consider how a private agreement reached between the commission and trustees could negate a consultation exercise publicly promised by a minister in Parliament.”

He pointed out that “one can not consult the public on X and when the public ask what X is, you tell them: sorry, I can’t tell you what X is or give any information on it.” He went on to say “The order may be the best thing since sliced bread, or maybe the worst, there was no way of knowing.” He called the consultation process “nonsense”, and said “I can not understand why alarm bells were not ringing deafeningly loud as to fairness.”   ”

http://saveallypally.com/pressreleases.html

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Sir Jeremy Sullivan, given task of overseeing NPS consultation, rejected ban on Heathrow night flights in 2008

The DfT has set up a retired High Court judge to oversee the process of the consultation into the draft Airports National Policy Statement. His brief is to look at the process, and he is not interested in the content of the consultation. Sir Jeremy is reputed to have been a good and popular judge. However it is interesting that he presided over an appeal for a reduction in the number of night flights at Heathrow, in 2008. Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils had taken the DfT to a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice, to seek a reduction in the number of aircraft allowed to arrive at Heathrow before 6am. But Sir Jeremy Sullivan ruled in favour of the Government, rejecting the review on all grounds. Mr Sullivan said that while the Government had a policy of bearing down on night noise this did not necessarily mean that it had to make things better. He added that the policy was, therefore, “vacuous.” The councils argued half the planes in this early morning period had been placed in the wrong noise category and if they had been correctly classified they would not have been able to fly. The judge agreed with the DfT that the government did not have to take specific action on the Heathrow problem, as the night flights scheme pooled noise data over the 3 London airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

London City Airport’s flights to be controlled from 70 miles away using new system

Manned air traffic control towers at airport may start to be phased out. Technological advances are allowing arrivals and departures to be monitored from miles away using live streams of high-definition video. One of the first to use this technique is London City Airport, where the 50-metre control tower will be populated by a suite of HD cameras instead of people, from 2019.  The screens and cameras will link directly to NATS at Swanwick, Hampshire. Controllers there will be able to see in detail all that is going on at London City, and direct planes accordingly. “While staring out of the virtual window at an incoming plane, the controller can see all the identifying flight and radar information in the skies alongside it.” The new system enables, at night, the contours of the runway to be highlighted with graphics. In low light, visibility can be improved. And should cameras detect anything that is not authorised traffic, that could be a drone, they can track it. Digital control towers are so far only in operational use in two small airports in Sweden.  NATS say the system is no more hackable than current aircraft control, and no less safe. Controllers can expect to be retrained to work at more than one airport, though the Prospect union warned of impacts on the staff if asked to control more than one runway at a time.  (Job cuts in future?)
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London City Airport’s flights to be controlled from 70 miles away

19.5.2017 (Reuters)

By Costas Pitas | LONDON

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If you fly into London City in two years’ time, air traffic controllers won’t see your plane through a window but will guide it down from screens 70 miles away as the airport becomes one of the first in a major capital to use a digital control tower.

Staff will monitor planes with the help of high-tech 360-degree cameras and sensors fitted to a newly constructed tower, with data and a panoramic views all feeding through to the national air traffic control center in the southern town of Swanwick.

The airport, which is undergoing a 350 million pound ($455 million) expansion, is located near the Canary Wharf financial center in east London and used by over 4.5 million passengers mainly for business travel between Europe’s major centers.

But from 2019, controllers will be based over 110 km away where the airport says an array of digital tools will improve their awareness of situations and efficiency, allowing for quick decision-making.

“A pioneering new digital air traffic control system will enhance safety and improve resilience, setting a new standard for the global aviation industry to follow,” London City Airport Chief Executive Declan Collier said.

“This cutting edge proven technology future-proofs London City Airport’s air traffic control for the next 30 years and beyond,” he said.

The current control tower is reaching the end of its operational lifespan, he said, with the new technology already in use at Sweden’s smaller Ornskoldsvik and Sundsvall airports.

Controllers will be equipped with a range of tools including a close-up view of aeroplane movements along the 1.5-km runway and cameras which can zoom in up to 30 times for close inspection.

Pictures from the airfield and data will be sent through independent and secure fiber networks to the operations room in Swanwick, the airport said.

The technology is supplied by Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, a partnership between LFV, the Swedish air navigation service provider, and military defense and civil security firm Saab.

The airport, bought last year by a consortium including Canadian pension funds, is due to expand as part of a development program which will see an extra two million people flying to and from it every year by 2025 and an additional 30,000 annual flights.

Construction of the 50-metre digital tower will begin later this year and is due to be completed in 2018, followed by a year of testing and training before it becomes fully operational. (This version of the story was refiled to fix headline)

(Editing by Keith Weir)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-londoncityairport-idUKKCN18F17L

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Remote air traffic control preparing for takeoff at London City airport

High-definition cameras to replace staff in new east London tower with live pictures relayed to site in Hampshire

Manned air traffic control towers, a reassuring fixture at airports since the dawn of civil aviation nearly a century ago, could soon be made obsolete by technological advances allowing arrivals and departures to be monitored from miles away using live streams of high-definition video.

A 50-metre control tower is being built at London City airport but it will be populated by a suite of HD cameras instead of humans, as it vies to become the first major hub in the world to manage its traffic remotely.

From 2019, the controllers’ window over the Docklands’ skyline in east London will be a bank of HD screens, joined in a seamless panorama in a digital control room at Nats, the UK’s national air traffic control service, in Swanwick, Hampshire. They will monitor a live feed from 14 cameras at London City, 80 miles away – and for now, a week’s worth of recorded action shot from a crane before the tower is built.

The airport believes it will allow staff to monitor aircraft on the runway and track the skies better than before. The complete 360-degree view has been condensed into a 225-degree arc, meaning the controller can in effect have eyes in the back of their heads – even if they peruse what appears to be a banana-shaped runway. From this room, the controller can pan and zoom cameras for a detailed view, sharper than the binoculars of old.

Sitting in the air traffic controller’s chair in Swanwick, you get a piercingly clear, bird’s-eye view of the aircraft lining the runway and the waves lapping the docks by the Thames, as the sound of engines revving filters through.

But what has most enthused controllers is the Pokémon Go-style augmented reality that the system brings. Overlaid on the live video image, at the flick of a switch, is all the data that used to occupy several other screens or terminals. While staring out of the virtual window at an incoming plane, the controller can see all the identifying flight and radar information in the skies alongside it.

Alison FitzGerald, chief operations officer at London City, said: “You appreciate the view, but it’s the augmented reality that’s the real game-changer: the aircraft call signs, the ability to detect anything in the airspace, to identify things that normally wouldn’t be clear, weather information, so we can make much better decisions. It’s providing more tools in front of them rather than having to look away.”

At night, the contours of the runway can be highlighted with graphics. In low light, visibility can be improved. And should cameras detect anything that is not authorised traffic – any four-pixel moving dot that could be anything from a passing helicopter to a drone – the system can automatically zoom in and track it, with a pop-up inset window on the video cityscape. Steve Anderson, head of transformation at Nats, said: “It’s heads-up, all the info is there while they are looking at the screens, everything they don’t have at the moment. That’s why it’s the future.”

The sounds of the airport are also played over speakers, to make this virtual world more realistic – potentially noisier, in fact, than some insulated control rooms – after trials showed it helped controllers. “It sounds a bit silly pumping noise into a control room but it’s something they need to do the job,” Anderson added.

The system has been developed by Swedish defence manufacturer Saab, using technology from its Gripen fighter jet. Digital control towers are so far only in operational use in two small airports in Sweden, with a third at Saab’s Linköping home to follow this year. Trials have taken place around the world, including in Ireland, the US and Australia.

Three separate , independent and secure super-fast fibre networks will transmit the images and data from City to Nats’ control room. The distance from Docklands to Swanwick is dwarfed by that of aircraft manoeuvres monitored in Australian tests: from Alice Springs to an Adelaide control room, 900 miles away, with less than a second’s delay in transmission, according to Saab.

Any security fears are dismissed by Mike Stoller, Nats operations director for airports, who said this system is no more hackable than current aircraft control: much of Britain’s airspace outside airports is already managed remotely from Swanwick.

Typically, the cost of constructing a traditional aircraft tower – in the tens of millions of pounds – as well as staffing it could be potentially prohibitive for smaller airfields. So is this  it for the humans? For now, according to Stoller, there is no prospect of that. But he added: “At some point in the future, like any other business, we will look at efficiencies down the line.”

Controllers can expect to be retrained to work at more than one airport, Stoller said.

 

 

Read more »

Boris Johnson says he disagrees with Tory plan to build Heathrow runway – as “very difficult to deliver”

Boris Johnson, who once pledged to lie down in front of the Heathrow bulldozers to block the 3rd runway, has been completely silent on the matter, since being made Foreign Secretary. But he has now made a short comment expressing his opposition to it – the constituency he wants to win back, Uxbridge & South Ruislip, is badly affected by Heathrow flights.  He said that the runway would be ‘very difficult to deliver’ because of noise and pollution concerns.  “I don’t think it’s the right solution. I’ll be honest with I think it’s very difficult to deliver. I just think noise pollution, the vehicular pollution, the air pollution, these are things that really have to be addressed.”  The Tory manifesto says they “… will continue with the expansion of Heathrow Airport.”  He told LBC that “The position is the one I was arguing as Mayor and as Foreign Secretary. That remains unchanged.” LBC’s Political Editor then asked him: “Has Theresa May got it wrong?” But Mr Johnson was whisked away before he could answer.  In October 2016 Theresa May told all Cabinet Ministers “…. no Minister will be permitted to campaign actively against the Government’s position, nor publicly criticise, or call into question the decision-making process itself. Ministers will not be permitted to speak against the Government in the House.”
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Boris Johnson challenges party’s pledge to build a third runway at Heathrow

By SIMON HARRIS
ITV LONDON SENIOR CORRESPONDENT
19.5.2017

Senior Tory Boris Johnson (Foreign Secretary)  today challenged his party’s manifesto pledge to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Mr Johnson, who hopes to be re-elected as Conservative MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip was meeting voters in the Labour-held marginal of Brentford & Isleworth.  [Seat was held since 2015 by Ruth Cadbury. Mary McLeod held the seat before and is standing again in this election.  Details  ]

The former London mayor told ITV News the runway would be ‘very difficult to deliver’ because of noise and pollution concerns.

He said:  “I don’t think it’s the right solution. I’ll be honest with I think it’s very difficult to deliver. I just think noise pollution, the vehicular pollution, the air pollution, these are things that really have to be addressed.”

His comments were echoed by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Both men represented constituencies affected by aircraft noise.

http://www.itv.com/news/london/2017-05-19/boris-johnson-challenges-partys-pledge-to-build-a-third-runway-at-heathrow/

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Boris Johnson Admits He Disagrees With Tory Policy On Heathrow

19.5.2017 (LBC)

Boris Johnson has told LBC he is against the Conservative policy on Heathrow.

The Tory manifesto says: “We will continue with the expansion of Heathrow Airport.”

But the Foreign Secretary, who was solidly anti-Heathrow expansion during his time as Mayor of London, insists that his position hasn’t changed.

He told LBC: “The position is the one I was arguing as Mayor and as Foreign Secretary. That remains unchanged.

“I think it is the wrong solution and I think particularly the noise and the vehicular and air pollution difficulties will be very difficult indeed.”

LBC’s Political Editor Theo Usherwood then asked him: “Has Theresa May got it wrong?”

But Mr Johnson was whisked away before he could answer.

http://www.lbc.co.uk/politics/parties/conservatives/boris-johnson/boris-johnson-admits-hes-against-tories-heathrow/

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Theresa May has said:

22.5.2017

“Obviously, becoming Prime Minister meant I had to look at the national interest in terms of the airport expansion.

“We’d already accepted as a government that South-east airport capacity needed to expand and looking at all the studies and reviews, it was clear that  the preference was for Heathrow.

“We are looking to bringing even greater curbs in relation to night flights for the expanded Heathrow.”

http://www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/gallery/maidenhead/115647/theresa-may-discusses-brexit-education-and-heathrow-in-advertiser-interview.html


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Earlier:

Boris Johnson says Heathrow third runway ‘undeliverable’

25 October 2016

(Sky)

….extracts below  ….

The Foreign Secretary has accused Theresa May of promising the “undeliverable” as the political fallout begins from the decision to give Heathrow a third runway.

Boris Johnson said expansion at the West London airport would “very likely” be stopped and “the day when the bulldozers appear is a long way off, if indeed they ever materialise”.

Tory backbencher Zac Goldsmith, who was also against a third runway, has resigned as an MP after what he described as a “catastrophic” decision.

Campaigners, including Mr Johnson and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, also warned the legal obstacles to getting the scheme off the ground would stop it going ahead by 2025 – if it ever did.

The Prime Minister was facing a backlash from within her own party including Mr Johnson and Education Secretary Justine Greening, who said it was “disappointing”.

The Government attempted to dampen the blow of it approving the £17.6bn project by attaching conditions including a six and a half hour night-flight ban, more stringent noise conditions and a £2.6bn compensation fund for residents.

Speaking to the Evening Standard after the decision, Mrs May said she wanted the runway delivered “as quickly as possible”.

She said: “After decades of delay we are showing that we will take the big decisions when they’re the right decisions for Britain, and we will ensure they’re right for ordinary working people too.

“Airport expansion is vital for the economic future of the whole of the UK and today also provides certainty to Londoners.

“Businesses will know that we are building the infrastructure they need to access global markets. Ordinary working people will know that my Government backs jobs and growth.”

However, Boris Johnson, who along with other members of the Cabinet has been given permission by the PM to speak out against the decision for a limited time, said: “No other great city would do this to its inhabitants.

“New York is going to be the city of beautiful skyscrapers, Paris the city of lights and London in the future, if we go ahead with this project, will be known as the city of planes.”

Mr Johnson, who has previously threatened to lie in front of bulldozers rather than let the scheme go ahead, added: “A third runway is undeliverable.

“The day when the bulldozers appear is a long way off, if indeed they ever materialise.”

Councils in the areas affected by the expansion have joined forces and announced their intention to launch a judicial review of the decision.

London’s mayor has said he will look at the best way to help the legal fight.

Mr Khan said the Government was wrong to choose Heathrow over Gatwick – which he said would have provided extra air capacity for the UK faster, without affecting so many people and provided healthy competition for Heathrow.

He said: “An expanded Gatwick would have boosted our economy without causing these huge air and noise pollution problems and it could be built quicker and cheaper.

“I will continue to challenge this decision and I am exploring how I can best be involved in any legal process over the coming months.”

http://news.sky.com/story/boris-johnson-says-heathrow-third-runway-undeliverable-10631946

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In October 2016 Theresa May set out how members of Cabinet may not oppose the Heathrow runway plans, except in minimal ways:

She has written to all Cabinet Ministers laying out what they can, and cannot do, in terms of opposing the Cabinet runway decision.  Ministers opposed to her decision have to ask her approval first to be permitted not to toe the line …. This is aimed especially at Boris Johnson and Justine Greening. Mrs May says:  “…. no Minister will be permitted to campaign actively against the Government’s position, nor publicly criticise, or call into question the decision-making process itself. Ministers will not be permitted to speak against the Government in the House.”

more details here

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New group “Plane Hell” set up in Southwark, against Heathrow noise – night flights especially

A local group “Plane Hell” has been formed in Southwark, against the noise of Heathrow planes, which causes a very high level of noise.   Often residents get only 5 hours or so of peace from the noise, if the last planes at night are heard at about 11.30pm and the first of the morning is around 4.30am.  The local organisation, Southward Can, has set up a petition and a blog on the issue. They want at least 7 hours with no noise, in line with WHO guidelines. And they want a lot better control of noise, with the issue being taken more seriously. In Southwark, there are Heathrow arrivals overhead at around 4,000 feet. The group wants the government’s priority to change, so that between 4,000 and 7,000 feet the first priority is cutting noise, rather than airlines cutting fuel bills. The petition has been started by local Camberwell resident Bridget Bell.  Bridget and some neighbours believe the noise they endure got worse from July 2016. She said: “I have lived at the same address for 30 years and had you told me that Oval is one of the most densely overflown areas in London I would have looked at you blankly.” (There actually have been planes overhead there for many years …) But she is now very aware of them indeed, and troubled by not getting enough sleep, night after night. 

While the Oval area has been overflown since time immemorial, where Bridget lives (some 5 minutes’ walk SE of Oval) seems to have experienced a change. The group says that part of London – since July 2016 – has had more noise. They have concentrated planes for both Heathrow (4.30am – 11.30pm on westerly winds), and also City Airport planes. That is the result of changes to London City Airport flight paths, now flying over the Oval/Southwark area, on their approach to the airport.  More details on London City Airport noise

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PLANE HELL: TOO EARLY, TOO LATE, TOO NOISY, TOO LOW… TOO MANY!

Camberwell resident Bridget Bell is the driving force behind a local campaign to reduce air noise and pollution over Camberwell and South London. Bridget, of John Ruskin Street, first had her sleep disturbed by aircraft over her house in July. Since then they have woken her up “nearly every night”.

Here she tells us about what it is like living directly under a flight path and the impact it is having on her quality of life.

Plane Hell

Bridget.PNG

Bridget (middle) appearing with two neighbours in Southwark News

It began in July 2016 when I noticed an unusual number of planes flying over my house, almost without a break and starting as early as 4.30am. Near neighbours had noticed something similar but were affected differently due to the layout of their houses and the angle of the flight path. And, of course, some people are oblivious.

I have lived at the same address for 30 years and had you told me that Oval is one of the most densely overflown areas in London I would have looked at you blankly. Bar the odd helicopter and the very rare commercial plane that I imagined had gone off course or was on an emergency route I was not aware of planes, full stop.

CAN CAUSE THE AIR TO BOIL WITH PLANE TURBULENCE AND NOISE

This new regime of planes flying over me happened occasionally to begin with but really kicked into action at the start of September 2016. Since then there has been no break apart from the odd series of days when there is an easterly wind and planes approach Heathrow from the west. The disturbance is compounded by City Airport planes using a dedicated route, slightly wide of my house (think noise ghetto) that was instigated, without local consultation, sometime last year and can cause the air to boil with plane turbulence and noise as City and Heathrow flight arrivals whine through the narrow airspace low overhead.

Flight_Path.jpg

A visual representation of aircraft movement linked to Heathrow

My approaches to the Heathrow Community Noise Forum and to CAA have returned essentially the same response: nothing has changed in flight heights, numbers, timings, approach i.e. that I, the resident, am mistaken.

My MP Harriet Harman has been in touch with the Department for Aviation; Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem member on the London Assembly, and John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, have also made approaches to Heathrow. They, too, have been told ‘nothing has changed’.

But I, and many others in SE5, know that something has. I also know that none of the Heathrow or Governmental decision makers has been anywhere near SE5 to experience the situation as it is on the ground.

I DREAD GOING TO BED

Am I affected? Undoubtedly. The impact on my quality of life has been enormous. My sleep is disturbed; being awake from 4.30am, morning after morning, results in my getting up at 7am (when I would normally be woken by my alarm), feeling disorientated, losing my sense of balance, walking into furniture and failing to think clearly. I find myself tearful at work and with friends through sheer exhaustation.

If I can, I go to bed early in order to get in the hours of sleep necessary to function well, that is if I am so tired that I am not disturbed by the flights continuing up to 11.30pm. I often feel physically sick. I wake in the night and weep, deeply depressed at finding myself relentlessly assaulted by the noise of planes, often hearing them so close that they might almost be coming in to my bedroom.

I dread going to bed. I sometimes dread leaving work, knowing that my haven of a home is now just an unquiet scenario of ceaseless plane activity.

There are moments when I almost lose the will to live, stop making plans to see friends or visit museums – all the sorts of things that I have enjoyed as a London resident.

It is the support of family, friends and colleagues that keeps me going as well as the quiet outrage I feel at being told that ‘nothing has changed’, that noise is ‘not a problem in SE5’, that because I am outside an arbitrarily-decided ‘noise contour’ I am not eligible for a monitor to measure plane noise and activity, quite apart being treated inhumanely and patronisingly by a small number of people who know the truth but find it inconvenient to acknowledge and do anything about.

Five hours’ sleep combined with the endless whine of planes between 4.30am until 11.30pm is sheer hell.

If you want to find out more about the campaign, or are affected by similar issues faced by Bridget, click here.

http://www.southwarkcan.org/plane_hell_blog

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PLANE HELL

PLANE HELL: TOO EARLY, TOO LATE, TOO NOISY, TOO LOW… TOO MANY!

Anyone living under a flight path will tell you one thing: it’s plane hell. For residents of Camberwell and other parts of South London it’s fast becoming a nightmare.

The Plane Hell campaign was born in response to local residents noticing an increase in the number of planes flying over a particular area of Camberwell, almost without a break, and starting as early as 4.30am.

The main issue for Southwark is noise from overflying aircraft on approach to land at Heathrow and London City Airports.

To get an idea about what it’s like to experience ongoing disruption as a result of plane noise then click here for the thoughts of local resident Bridget Bell.

THE DEMANDS

  • Enable residents to achieve at least 7 hours sleep, the minimum recommended by WHO (World Health Organisation) for good health, and ban all flights between 11pm – 6am (better still 7am).
  • Ensure any remaining night routes avoid populated areas to mitigate the impact of aircraft noise.
  • Keep aircraft higher for longer by utilising Continuous Descent Approaches which reduce noise because they require less engine thrust and keep planes above 6000 feet.
  • Stop aircraft concentrating over residential areas.
  • Stop the impact on mental and physical health caused by aircraft noise and aircraft pollution flying low over residential areas and keep planes above 6000 feet.
  • Take the whine out of arriving aircraft.

 

26.4.17_12.45_over_Bethwin___Wyndham_Rds_SE5.jpg

A plane flying low over Bethwin Road 


WHAT CAN YOU DO?

ONLINE PETITION

Click here to sign the online petition addressed to the Minister for Aviation.


WRITE TO YOUR MP

Individuals, countrywide, have been encouraged to write to their MPs to underline the negative impact night flights and lack of respite from daytime flights have on the health and welfare of their constituents, with the added effect on the environment.

You can download a template letter here – please feel free to make any changes or add your own text.

To find out who your local MP is click here.

There are currently no MPs in the House of Commons due to the dissolution of Parliament on 3 May 2017. This means that every seat in the Commons is vacant until after the general election on 8 June 2017 – but Campaigners urge you to respond to both Consultations, below, by 25 May 2017.


CONSULTATIONS

The Government is currently consulting on two aspects of airspace/aviation policy.

It will take no more than 5 minutes if you are content to cut and paste the Key points and send them to the relevant email address, always asking for an acknowledgement of receipt, and always giving your contact details.  And / or make your own points – we all feel differently.

1. Respond to what is essentially a consultation on a 3rd runway at Heathrow and entitled the National Policy Statement

Key points to make in response:

• A third runway would bring many more people under new flight paths.

• The half day’s break from the planes which many communities currently enjoy would probably be cut to a third.

• A 7-hour night ban should be the very minimum, with no flights under any circumstances apart from mayday emergencies before 6.30am.

• Noise should be the key issue up until at least 7,000ft for any planes flying below this.

• The consultation should have included information as to where the new flight paths should be.

• Heathrow will struggle to comply with air pollution limits if a third runway is built.

• A third runway would require the destruction of at least 783 homes.

• Billions of pounds of taxpayers money would be needed for new rail and road infrastructure.

email: runwayconsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk  or write to Freepost Runway Consultation

 

2. Respond to the Airspace Policy Consultation

This does not just cover Heathrow. It is a national consultation. It deals with 5 key issues:

  • the principles that should be used when flight paths are introduced
  • the concentration of flight paths
  • the key areas where noise should be given priority over other issues
  • an Independent Noise Authority
  • and revised metrics to assess noise annoyance.

 

Key points to make in response:

• Support the proposal for much more public engagement before new flight paths are introduced or changes are made to existing flight paths.

• Support multiple routes to avoid concentration over particular communities.

• Underline that noise should be the key issue up until at least 7,000ft for any planes flying below this.

• Support the setting up of an Independent Noise Authority but will require guarantees that it will be truly independent and will have teeth.

• Support new metrics to replace the current 57 decibel noise contour as ‘the onset of community annoyance’ by a  less-than 46 decibel noise contour which will reflect more accurately the areas where noise is a problem.

email: airspace.policy@dft.gsi.gov.uk


NOISE DIARY

Campaigners are currently looking to gather as much evidence as possible to strengthen their case. This includes encouraging those who live under flight paths, and experience the adverse effects of plane noise, to record a diary of all of the incidents in which they are disturbed.


GET IN TOUCH

If you are experiencing issues with planes flying overhead then please do get in touch and offer your support to the campaign.

planehell@outlook.com

 

CAMPAIGN SO FAR

PETITION

Through SE5 Forum’s stand at the Camberwell Saturday’s Farmers Market almost 400 signatures in two months have been collected for a petition headed ‘Too low, too noisy, too early, too late – too many’ and have been sent with the petition letter to Lord Ahmad, Minister for Aviation, and Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

LOCAL POLITICIANS

Harriet Harman, Helen Hayes, Neil Coyle and Kate Hoey have been asked to work together to help  have a debate or least ensure that residents’ responses to the recent night flights consultation are not ignored. Additionally, with regard to flights arriving at Heathrow, campaigners are looking for flight paths to be no lower than 6000 feet in the approaches over SE5 and more widely across Southwark.

http://www.southwarkcan.org/planehell

 

You can sign the petition here

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UK government must not use international climate deal as a “smokescreen” with which to force through Heathrow runway

WWF is urging the next UK Government to come up with a credible climate plan for aviation – not just offsetting. They say the UK should not merely depend on the ICAO deal (very weak) as a “smokescreen” to pave the way for adding a 3rd Heathrow runway. The proposed new runway would make Heathrow the UK’s largest single source of greenhouse gases and increase emissions 15% over the limit for aviation advised by the Government’s independent expert advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The UK government hopes the ICAO deal for a global offsetting scheme agreed in Montreal last October – called CORSIA – would allow it to ignore aviation CO2. But the new WWF report Grounded explains ten problems with this approach. These include a weak target well short of the ambition of the Paris climate agreement and ignoring the non-CO2 pollution from planes, which probably almost doubles their overall global warming impact. The ICAO CORSIA scheme is no panacea for limiting the climate change impacts of airports expansion. The CO2 emissions from use of a new runway cannot just be offset. Instead government Ministers need to come up with a credible plan for limiting UK aviation emissions before making any decisions on allowing an extra (intensively used) runway (largely used for long haul flights). Otherwise, with no plan to deal with the huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions poses a very real threat to the UK’s legally binding climate change commitments.
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UK GOVERNMENT MUST NOT USE INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE DEAL AS A “SMOKESCREEN” TO FORCE THROUGH HEATHROW EXPANSION

17th MAY 2017 (WWF press release)

WWF urges the next UK Government to come up with a credible climate plan for aviation – not just offsetting

Full report – “Grounded”

LONDON: The next UK Government is being urged not to use an international climate deal as a “smokescreen” to pave the way for Heathrow Airport expansion.

The proposed new runway would make Heathrow the UK’s largest single source of greenhouse gases and increase emissions 15% over the limit advised by the Government’s independent expert advisers, the Committee on Climate Change.

It has been suggested that a global offsetting scheme agreed in Montreal last October – called CORSIA – will allow the Government to wash its hands of these emissions, but WWF’s new report Grounded explains ten problems with this approach. These include a weak target well short of the ambition of the Paris climate agreement and ignoring the non-CO2 pollution from aeroplanes, which doubles their overall global warming impact.

Commenting on the report, Paul Ekins OBE, Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy at University College London, said:

“While last year’s global agreement on aviation emissions is a step forward, there are still many unanswered questions about this international offsetting scheme. It is certainly no panacea for limiting the climate change impacts of airports expansion.

“The UK Government cannot wash its hands of Heathrow’s carbon emissions in the hope it can simply offset them. Ministers should come up with a credible plan for limiting UK aviation emissions before making any decisions about airports expansion.”

WWF actively supports the CORSIA negotiations and welcomes the progress made to date – but there are still too many problems and unknowns about CORSIA to expect it to deal effectively with the huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed new runway at Heathrow.

James Beard, Climate Change Specialist at WWF commented:

““Expanding Heathrow without a plan to deal with the huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions poses a very real threat to the UK’s legally binding climate change commitments.

“We are urging all climate change and airports campaigners to respond to the Heathrow consultation with a simple message: no new runway until you have a credible plan for dealing with the environmental impacts here in the UK – not just through offsetting.”

The Government’s consultation on the National Policy Statement for the new runway closes on 25 May.

-Ends-

 

Notes to the editor

  1. The full report can be found here: www.wwf.org.uk/Heathrow2017
  1. The agreement, between the 191 Member States of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), committed to introduce a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) from 2020. This means that, in theory, for every tonne of CO2 airlines emit above 2020 levels, they will have to buy a carbon credit representing a tonne of CO2 reduced elsewhere.

3.The report finds 10 problems with relying on offsetting to tackle aviation emissions:

  1. The ICAO CORSIA has a weak emissions target
  2. The CORSIA ignores half of aviation’s GHG emissions
  3. The CORSIA only exists on paper right now
  4. The CORSIA might allow dodgy offset credits
  5. The CORSIA might double-count countries’ carbon cuts
  6. The CORSIA is only seen as a “temporary gap filler”
  7. ICAO doesn’t want higher carbon prices for aviation
  8. UK airlines could get an easy ride under the CORSIA
  9. The Committee on Climate Change opposes offsetting
  10. Brexit complicates the EU Emissions Trading System too

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit https://wwwf.org.uk for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @wwf_uk.

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https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/uk-government-must-not-use-international-climate-deal-smokescreen-force-through-heathrow

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The Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), and carbon emissions from aviation

On the issue of carbon emissions and aviation, the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) say MPs should not vote in favour of the NPS in its current form given its failure to adequately address environmental impacts.

It is important to have tough, evidence-based set of environmental requirements for both the Government and the airport. These should cover at least – on environment – noise, air quality and climate change and be written in to primary legislation alongside the NPS.  The right conditions on the runway could be very powerful in ensuring the runway only goes ahead if it could genuinely meet them.

The government seems to hope it can use the ICAO proposals as a sufficient means of dealing with the increased carbon emissions generated by the runway. The government is intending to publish a consultation on aviation carbon emissions later this year, but what is proposed under CORSIA falls very far short of what is required.  Heathrow appears to have anticipated this, with its attempt to forestall this by its (greenwashing) little paper, called “Heathrow 2.0” which claims to be a “sustainability strategy” for a “carbon neutral runway”.  Proposals to help restore peat bogs etc go nowhere near far enough to deal with the airport’s carbon emissions, and should not be given credence.

The DfT civil servants understand quite clearly that if they follow the advice of the the Committee on Climate Change (the Government’s statutory advisers on the issue) and of the Environmental Audit Committee that a limit of 37.5 MtCO2 per year should be imposed on aviation CO2 emissions nationally by 2050 then this will make the third runway effectively impossible.

The court finding in 2010 that the Government of the day had failed to show that a third runway was compatible with the Climate Change Act reinforces this http://wwf.panda.org/?191864/Heathrow-airport-expansion-in-tartters-as-judge-slams-3rd-runway-plans.

WWF has today published a report called “Grounded: Ten reasons why international offsetting won’t solve Heathrow’s climate change problem”.

Both AEF and WWF have been directly involved with the UN discussions on the international offsetting regime for aviation. Both organisations take the view that this scheme cannot provide an effective answer to the Heathrow emissions challenge.

The AEF set out its views on this in October 2016 http://www.aef.org.uk/2016/10/24/new-aef-briefing-why-the-un-carbon-offsetting-deal-for-aviation-cant-close-the-uk-policy-gap/.

 

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What is in the Labour and LibDem manifestos in relation to aviation

The Labour party has not given more than vague support for a Heathrow runway, merely reiterating their “4 tests” that had been mentioned several years ago.  Now their manifesto says: “Labour recognises the need for additional airport capacity in the South East. We welcome the work done by the Airports Commission, and we will guarantee that any airport expansion adheres to our tests that require noise issues to be addressed, air quality to be protected, the UK’s climate change obligations met and growth across the country supported …. We will continue working with our neighbours … negotiating to retain membership of the Common Aviation Area and Open Skies arrangements.”  They also say on carbon emissions: “We will reclaim Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change, working hard to preserve the Paris Agreement and deliver on international commitments to reduce emissions while mitigating the impacts of climate change on developing countries.” The LibDem manifesto says they will:  “Develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of the UK, taking full account of the impacts on climate change and local pollution. We remain opposed to any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary and will focus instead on improving existing regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester. We will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK.”
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LibDem manifesto:

Only mention of airports:

Develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of the UK, taking full account of the impacts on climate change and local pollution. We remain opposed to any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary and will focus instead on improving existing regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester. We will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK.

and on air pollution: 

5.1 Clean air and green transport

Air pollution in the UK is a killer. It contributes to 40,000 premature deaths a year and costs the NHS £15 billion. This year, London exceeded its annual air pollution target in just five days. The government has failed time and again to comply with EU limits on pollution. That’s why the Liberal Democrats will pass a Green Transport Act, introduce an Air Quality Plan to reduce air pollution and protect UK citizens, and support the manufacture of low-emission and electric vehicles, generating jobs and exports.

This plan will include:

● A diesel scrappage scheme, and a ban on the sale of diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025.

● Extending ultra-low-emission zones to 10 more towns and cities.

● All private hire vehicles and diesel buses licensed to operate in urban areas to run on ultra-low-emission or zero-emission fuels within five years.

We will also reform vehicle taxation to encourage sales of electric and lowemission vehicles and develop electric vehicle infrastructure including universal charging points.

 

On climate change: 

Maintaining environmental standards: The European Union has created the highest environmental standards in the world. We have a duty to future generations to protect our environment and tackle climate change. Liberal Democrats will ensure that everything is done to maintain those high standards in UK law, including the closest possible co-operation on climate and energy policy.

Eighteen months ago, it seemed that the world had come to a consensus on the need to take the perils of climate change seriously. Countries across the globe had recognised that rising temperatures and pollution were not just an environmental issue, but an economic and security issue. But with the election of Donald Trump in the US and Britain’s vote to leave the EU, the tides of isolationism and populism could halt or even reverse the progress that has been made.

The Conservatives seem determined to take Britain back to the 1980s, when the UK was the ‘dirty man of Europe’. They have cut support for renewable energy and home insulation, sold off the Green Investment Bank and failed to control air pollution. Their actions put not just Britain’s environment at risk but the health of its citizens and its economy, undermining the increasingly successful green industries which already employ more than half a million workers.

Liberal Democrats are determined that we live up to our environmental obligations. That’s why we will pass five green laws: a Green Transport Act, a Zero-Carbon Britain Act, a Nature Act, a Green Buildings Act, and a Zero-Waste Act to incorporate existing EU environmental protections, maintain product standards such as for energy efficiency, and establish a framework for continual improvement.

[Liberal Democrats will …] Support the Paris agreement by ensuring the UK meets its own climate commitments and plays a leadership role in international efforts to combat climate change.

[Liberal Democrats will …]  Provide greater resources for international environmental co-operation, particularly on climate change and on actions to tackle illegal and unsustainable trade in timber, wildlife, ivory and fish.

http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/themes/5909d4366ad575794c000000/attachments/original/1495011039/manifesto.pdf?1495011039

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Labour manifesto:

On aviation: 

Labour recognises the need for additional airport capacity in the South East. We welcome the work done by the Airports Commission, and we will guarantee that any airport expansion adheres to our tests that require noise issues to be addressed, air quality to be protected, the UK’s climate change obligations met and growth across the country supported.

We will continue working with our neighbours through the European Union’s Highways of the Sea programme and by negotiating to retain membership of the Common Aviation Area and Open Skies arrangements.

On air pollution: 

A Labour government will consult on establishing an environmental tribunal with simplified procedures to hear challenges to unlawful government decisions, like those made on the air quality strategy, without engaging in prohibitively expensive processes.

Labour will introduce a new Clean Air Act to deal with the Conservative legacy of illegal air quality. We will safeguard habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans surrounding our island. We will set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste.

We will protect our bees by prohibiting neonicotinoids as soon as our EU relationship allows us to do so. We will work with farmers and foresters to plant a million trees of native species to promote biodiversity and better flood management. Unlike the Conservatives who attempted to privatise our forests, Labour will keep them in public hands. Our stewardship of the environment needs to be founded on sound principles and based on scientific assessments. We will establish a science innovation fund, working with farmers and fisheries, that will include support for our small scale fishing fleet.

Carbon: 

Building a clean economy of the future is the most important thing we must do for our children, our grandchildren and future generations.

The Conservatives’ threatened Ȇbonfire of red tape’ is a threat to our environmental protections and to the quality of our lives. Their record on combating climate change and environmental damage has been one of inaction and broken promises.

The balance needs resetting: our air is killing us, our farms face an uncertain future, our fish stocks are collapsing, our oceans are used as dumping grounds, and our forests, green belt, national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are all under threat.

We will reclaim Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change, working hard to preserve the Paris Agreement and deliver on international commitments to reduce emissions while mitigating the impacts of climate change on developing countries.

http://www.labour.org.uk/page/-/Images/manifesto-2017/Labour%20Manifesto%202017.pdf

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Back in December 2015 Labour then reiterated its “4 tests” [somewhat different] which were:

Their four tests for aviation expansion:

1.That robust and convincing evidence was produced that the Commission’s recommendations would provide sufficient capacity;
2. That the UK’s legal climate change obligations could still be met;
3. That local noise and environmental impacts can be managed and minimised;
4. That the benefits of any expansion were not confined to London and the South East.

http://www.citymetric.com/politics/heathrow-or-gatwick-its-make-your-mind-time-david-cameron-1673

 

 

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The Institute of Directors want government to allow two new runways – not just Heathrow

The Institute of Directors (IOD) are firmly convinced that people should fly more, and so the south east needs more runway capacity.  They appear to be entirely convinced by the publicity Heathrow has put out about the alleged benefits a 3rd runway would bring. But they want more than just one runway. The IODs wants the government, after the 8th June election, to build two more runways, and a follow-up Airports Commission be established. They want a fast-track commission be set up immediately to recommend locations for two additional runways within a year. Plans for a 3rd Heathrow runway need the draft National Policy Statement to be voted through parliament, perhaps early in 2018 and then several years of planning process. At the earliest the runway might be in use some time after 2025. Numbers of air passengers are rising quickly, as flying is so cheap and the moderately affluent in the UK get richer. The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also called for the next government to enable a 2nd runway at Gatwick to help create a “megacity”. While Gatwick was shortlisted as a candidate for a new runway by the Airports Commission, other airports such as Stansted and Birmingham would be likely to push hard should a future opportunity emerge.
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Business leaders want next government to build two more runways

‘Years of dawdling’ on airport capacity have left us lagging behind rest of Europe, say Institute of Directors. 

The Institute of Directors said the commission had underestimated demand for air travel and said Gatwick would be full before Heathrow was enlarged.
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By   Transport correspondent (Guardian)

Business leaders have called for the next government to build two more runways, demanding that a follow-up Airports Commission be established only months after Heathrow’s third runway was approved.

The IoD, which represents 30,000 UK company directors, said that the commission had underestimated demand for air travel and said Gatwick would also be full before Heathrow, Britain’s main hub airport, was enlarged. Almost 45 million passengers travelled through Gatwick in the last year, a 9% increase.

Dan Lewis, senior infrastructure adviser at the Institute of Directors, said: “The growth in passenger numbers is far ahead of what the Airports Commission said it would be. This is a fast-moving target.

“Whoever wins the next election, they will face a serious challenge in upgrading the UK’s transport and communications network. The years of dawdling on new airport capacity have left us lagging well behind European competitors. Expanding Heathrow is not enough.”

Plans for a third Heathrow runway were cancelled by the coalition in 2010, before renewed pressure from business groups, the aviation industry and backbench MPs pushed the prime minister to reopen the issue of airport expansion. Sir Howard Davies’ commission said only one runway could be built before 2030 within Britain’s climate change obligations.

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also called for the next government to enable a second runway at Gatwick to help create a “megacity”. While Gatwick was shortlisted as a candidate for a new runway, other airports such as Stansted and Birmingham would be likely to push hard should a future opportunity emerge.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We’re getting on with expanding Britain’s only hub airport – with the new runway on track to open in 2025, doubling cargo capacity and adding 50% more flights. Heathrow continues to support the growth of aviation capacity in the UK in line with strict environmental targets.”

John Stewart, chair of anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan, said the IoD was “living in a fantasy world”. He added: “Because of the opposition, it takes years to build one runway. To try to build three at a time would create a nationwide network of opposition from local resident groups and climate change activists, the likes of which the UK has not seen before.”

The IoD also urged a roadmap for building Crossrail 2, the north-south rail line that Transport for London has insisted will be crucial to meet the needs of the capital, particularly once HS2 is operational.

Although it was identified by the National Infrastructure Commission as the single most important project for development, the preferred route has yet to be published by the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, and political impetus for the rail line appears to have diminished. Lewis said: “Since Theresa May took over, it’s back-pedalled a bit. Certainly there’s a sensitivity about it looking like a London project – but you can’t ignore the national importance.”

In a manifesto paper, the business group said that the government should also prioritise ultrafast broadband and 4G coverage. Lewis said: “Ultrafast broadband could mean a rural economy renaissance, it could drive growth and make places with low land values good economic prospects.” The IoD said that there should be a commitment to switching from copper to fibre networks by 2025.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/15/business-leaders-want-next-government-build-two-more-runways?CMP=share_btn_tw

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Business leaders call for new airports commission to pick two more runways

15.5.2017 (IoD press release)

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Immediately after the election, the next government must launch a follow-up Airports Commission to recommend locations for two new runways, the Institute of Directors urged today. With Heathrow’s third runway not scheduled to be completed until 2028, and with Gatwick also filling up fast, the business group, which represents 30,000 UK company directors, said that the Commission should only be given a year to report its findings.

The call for extra airport capacity comes in the latest instalment in a series of manifesto papers, collectively titled Let’s Push Things Forward, in which the IoD lays out businesses’ priorities for making the UK more economically competitive. The decision to build a third runway at Heathrow took much longer than companies wanted, but was finally achieved after the choice on location was handed to an independent commission led by Sir Howard Davies. The IoD is calling for a similar process, on an accelerated timescale.

Also in the paper, the IoD calls on the next Government to:

  • Drive forward ultrafast broadband and 4G coverage, replacing the Universal Service Obligation with a much more ambitious target The Government must set a target to ‘switch-off’ the copper network by 2025 and reduce access costs to existing physical infrastructure to everyone has access to the greater speeds of fibre optic cable
  • Engage and consult on longer-term projects Regional growth means investing in infrastructure, often by bringing out-of-date existing networks into the 21st century. Larger projects, like the proposed ‘HS3’, should be consulted upon to ensure that their design delivers most efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Outline a roadmap towards the building of Crossrail 2 Recognising that there are resource limitations to the building of new infrastructure, the Government should put together a plan for progressing with Crossrail 2
  • Establish an infrastructure Best Value Index It is essential to start scoring pipeline projects against each other to identify the best return on investment when resources are scarce
  • Build a database on UK roads covering traffic, accidents, costs and air pollution Roads are the hardest-working muscles in the UK’s transport infrastructure but we know too little about them. The more information we have about them, the more efficient our investment can be
  • Bring in speed targets for buses and repurpose roads to better suit space-friendly buses Buses might not be the most glamorous form of transport, but they are a crucial part of our transport network and we need to ensure they are moving as efficiently as possible

Dan Lewis, Senior Infrastructure Adviser at the Institute of Directors said:

“Whoever wins the next election, they will face a serious challenge in upgrading the UK’s transport and communications network. The years of dawdling on new airport capacity have left us lagging well behind European competitors. Expanding Heathrow is not enough, we need two further runways at South East airports and better connections to the ones where there is spare capacity, particularly Stansted.

“Broadband must also be a priority for the general election winner, as better, faster connections would not only make businesses more productive, it would also help them to offer staff more flexible working. At the moment the UK is being held back by its out-of-date network of copper wires. The next government has to commit to a step-change in internet speeds by completing the switch to fibre by 2025.”

https://www.iod.com/news-campaigns/news/articles/Business-leaders-call-for-new-airports-commission-to-pick-two-more-runways

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LONDON CHAMBER SETS OUT ITS MANIFESTO PRIORITIES FOR BREXIT AND MEGACITY LONDON
. Thursday 11 May 2017


Media Contact
Katharine McGee
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
E: kmcgee@londonchamber.co.uk

London Chamber sets out its manifesto priorities for Brexit and ‘megacity’ London

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has today published its London Business Manifesto “Capital Matters” setting out its key asks for the next Government to ensure that London continues to maintain its status as a globally competitive city.

LCCI believes it is vital that as the next Government negotiates the exit from the EU it prioritises the London workforce, both current and future and commits to long and short term infrastructure investment.

This includes guaranteeing the status of EU nationals, committing to major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail 2, introducing a new “T Level” in construction and digital skills and fundamentally reviewing business rates.

Chief Executive of LCCI, Colin Stanbridge said: “London’s success cannot be taken for granted. Alongside rising cost pressures for many London businesses, the city’s growing population is putting the capital’s critical economic infrastructure under unprecedented pressure.

“Maintaining the capital’s competitiveness now and into the future will require a Brexit that works for London’s businesses, large and small.  But most important as negotiations with our European partners get underway will be bold steps to tackle the capital’s urgent, current domestic priorities.

“Steps must be taken during the next parliament to strengthen the capital’s economic foundations and, by doing so, its ability to thrive in a post-Brexit world.”

LCCI has compiled Capital Matters as a result of recent polling and research on numerous issues affecting businesses of all sizes across the capital.

As a result of these results and feedback from member, LCCI is calling for the next Government to limit uncertainty and maximize opportunity by making four key commitments. These are to:

Deliver a Brexit that works for London by:

  • Securing a realistic transitional period for Brexit to enable businesses to adjust to new circumstances and prioritise minimising costly tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.
  • Granting indefinite leave to remain for existing EU national employees within the capital to reassure them and their employers.
  • Establishing a separate ‘Shortage Occupation List’ for London (like Scotland has) and create a ‘Capital Work Permits’ system to meet employers’ future labour needs.
  • Prioritising the preservation of aviation and maritime arrangements with the EU to secure swift market access and maintain London’s status as a global hub.

Provide Infrastructure to underpin a ‘megacity’ by:

  • Securing Parliamentary time for a hybrid bill to designate Crossrail 2 as major infrastructure of national importance and commence development works
  • Auditing and mapping disused or poor quality land within the Metropolitan green belt to identify ‘brownspace’ plots of land where small developers can bring forward new housing.
  • Boosting short-term airport capacity through airfield, terminal and rail-link enhancements and future-proof the UK economy by enabling a new runway at Gatwick, after Heathrow. 
  • Permitting Transport for London (TfL) to seek responsibility for commuter rail services into London as each mainline franchise comes up for renewal

……….. and it continues at length ……

http://www.londonchamber.co.uk/lcc_public/article.asp?id=0&did=47&aid=8375&st=&oaid=-1

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