Government starts consultation on UK Airspace Policy, to manage increasing use of airspace

Alongside the draft NPS, the Government is publishing separate proposals to “modernise” the way UK airspace is managed. This consultation; “UK Airspace Policy: A framework for balanced decisions on the design and use of airspace” is (quote): …”seeking views on how aircraft noise is managed effectively while updating airspace policies. Proposals will look at how the number of aircraft entering and leaving our airspace can be managed effectively – using the latest technology to make airspace more efficient, reducing the need for stacking and making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly. They will also include draft guidance on how noise impacts should be assessed and used to inform decisions on airspace. The consultation also includes proposals on the role of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, which we will establish. The Commission would build relationships between industry and communities and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to the use of airspace and flight paths.”  Cynics might enjoy the craft in the wording: “… more environmentally friendly” and “even fairer”.  If only.  The government is aware that the current policy of trying to “minimise the number significantly affected by aircraft noise” does not work, with P-RAV technology, and highly concentrated narrow routes. That has not proved to be”fair” at all.
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Consultation on airspace policy

2.2.2017  (DfT website) – Statement by Chris Grayling, Transport Minister

“We need to think about how we manage the rising number of aircraft in an efficient and effective manner. By taking steps now to future-proof this vital infrastructure, we can harness the latest technology to make airspace more efficient as well as making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly.

I am therefore also publishing proposals to modernise the way UK airspace is managed, which will be consulted on in parallel. The policy principles set out in this airspace consultation influence decisions taken later in the planning process for a north-west runway at Heathrow, if the Airports National Policy Statement were to be designated, including how local communities can have their say on airspace matters and how impacts on them are taken into account.

It is an important issue and one that will define the principles for shaping our airspace for years to come. It is therefore sensible to allow members of the public to consider both matters at the same time.

The proposals being published for consultation today include the functions, structure and governance of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, which we will establish. The commission would build relationships between industry and communities, embed a culture of best practice, and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to airspace.

The proposed new call-in function for a Secretary of State on airspace changes, similar to that used by the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government for planning applications, create a democratic back-stop in the most significant decisions, much called for by communities.

The consultation on airspace policy, new Air navigation guidance and the Strategic rationale for upgrading the UK’s airspace will be made available online.”  [Not yet out]

Ends 25th May 2017  after a 16 week consultation, alongside the Airports NPS consultation.

Public consultation events by the DfT will take place across the country.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/airport-capacity-and-airspace-policy

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Open consultation

Reforming policy on the design and use of UK airspace

The DfT says:

We are consulting on proposals to:

  • support the reform of airspace, thereby maximising the economic and social benefits of aviation
  • minimise the negative local impacts of aviation

We are seeking comment on proposals to update policy on the management of UK airspace including:

  • the role of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise to ensure noise impacts are openly considered
  • providing industry with the ability to assess noise impacts and guidance to help them manage change more effectively
  • bringing compensation policy for airspace changes in line with policy on changes to aviation infrastructure
  • greater flexibility for London’s major airports, so they can adapt noise management to the needs of their local communities

The policy principles set out in the consultation document will influence decisions, including how:

  • local communities can have their say on airspace matters
  • industry should take into account the impacts on local communities and act to reduce them

The draft ‘Air navigation guidance on airspace and noise management and environmental objectives’ shows how these policy principles could be put into place.

We are running regional consultation information events for invited stakeholders. If you think you should have been invited, please contact us on 0800 689 4968.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reforming-policy-on-the-design-and-use-of-uk-airspace


These are the relevant documents:

UK airspace policy: a framework for balanced decisions on the design and use of airspace (web version)

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How to respond – deadline 25th May 2017

or

Complete a response form and either

Email to:  airspace.policy@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Write to:

Freepost UK AIRSPACE POLICY CONSULTATION

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The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) commented:

On today’s proposals for providing a framework for decisions relating to airspace change

2.2.2017

AEF Director Tim Johnson said:

Today’s proposals follow intense community pressure over recent years for the Government to act to prevent significant airspace changes being implemented without either consultation or compensation for those affected on the ground.

Communities who have been suffering the noise effects of aircraft flying down increasingly narrow corridors as a consequence of satellite navigation technology will welcome today’s proposals to take better account of local circumstances and engage more with those affected.

Communities will also be encouraged by the prospect of compensation for airspace changes, a call-in power for the Secretary of State to intervene where the impacts are likely to be significant, and a requirement to assess noise down to lower thresholds.

The Government’s proposal to create an independent commission on aircraft noise will also be welcomed by some communities hopeful that the body will provide some fresh thinking on the issue.  But with no requirement to deliver a noise reduction strategy, and without enforcement powers, or the teeth to make binding recommendations, its effectiveness may be limited.

Overall this is a strategy about catering for more demand.  Improvements to the process in terms of transparency and communication won’t tackle the underlying need to reduce noise.

The Government’s hope that future noise reductions will be achieved through the introduction of quieter aircraft and a reduction in stacking will only have a marginal impact given the likely increase in the number of aircraft. These hopes also ignore the reality that people are becoming more annoyed by aircraft noise than they were in the past, despite technological improvements.

The Government-commissioned SoNA report, released today by the CAA, confirms the finding of many other recent studies that sensitivity has increased over the years.

Noise levels around many airports are already too high, and are likely to get worse if the sector continues to expand. We urgently need a Government strategy for limiting noise to within levels that are safe for health. It shouldn’t fall to members of the public to have to defend themselves against their local noise environment becoming intolerable.

http://www.aef.org.uk/2017/02/02/further-comment-from-aef-on-todays-aviation-consultations/

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Heathrow NPS – summary of the main (probably) insuperable obstacles the runway faces

The government hopes to get a 3rd Heathrow runway approved, but it realises there are a large number of massive obstacles. The purpose of the NPS (National Policy Statement) consultation is to attempt to persuade the country, and particularly the MPs who must ultimately vote on it, that these obstacles can be successfully overcome.  At present, there are no apparent solutions to many of the problems. Below are some very brief outlines of what some of the insuperable hurdles are – and why the government is a very long way from resolving the difficulties.  The issues listed here are the three main environmental issues – noise, carbon emissions, and air pollution. The economics is complicated, but there is a note on that too.  When Chris Grayling makes bland PR statements about the runway, or the papers regurgitate undigested blurb from the DfT, it may be useful to remember how very thin some of these statement are, and how far the government would have to go, in order to find even partial solutions.
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Heathrow NPS:   Policy – cart before horse

In a sensible system, it might be imagined that a government would first establish the policy it wants in some particular area – and then set about introducing specific developments. So it might have been expected that the government would set out, and consult, on details of UK aviation policy – on issues such as noise, carbon emissions, balance of airports across the country, taxation etc – before going hell for leather for a Heathrow runway.  What is actually now happening is that the NPS hopes to push through the runway, with no effective policy on aircraft noise, and how it is managed and distributed. There is no policy on aviation carbon emissions.  There is no policy on how much of the aviation industry in the UK is focused on the south east.  Instead, the intention is to get the Heathrow runway approved (in blind Brexit panic …) come what may – and then sort out the resulting problems afterwards.  For example, on carbon, Heathrow will have to take the lion’s share of the allocation allowed, and other airports will have to divvy out what is left among themselves.

 

Noise

The government has repeatedly said, as does Heathrow, that 50% more planes can be added without increasing the amount of noise.  The most generous assessment of this statement would be that it was over-optimistic, but in reality it is downright disingenuous. Even insulting to the public’s understanding.  What 50% more flights means is 50% more noise. True, in coming decades planes are likely to become a couple of decibels less noisy. Even then, they will not be “quiet”.  The new runway will need new flight paths – lots of them. The industry wants to use narrow flight paths, as this is the most “efficient” use of airspace (ie. fits the most flights into a small space).  Nobody plans to inform the public for at least a couple of years where these flight paths will go.  So nobody can have any certainty which new areas will be overflown for the first time. And there is absolutely no doubt that new areas will be overflown.  There is also certainty that even if some areas get “respite” from noise for parts of the day, those areas currently enjoying about half a day of “respite” would only get about 4 hours, with the new runway.

The government, and the CAA, have no clear idea at all how to deal with the problem of people who live under new flight paths, or newly noisier flight paths. There are increasing numbers of people who are not prepared to tolerate becoming the victims of levels of noise that not only reduce people’s quality of life, but may also interfere with their sleep, and therefore their health.  [See more below].

 

Carbon emissions

Chris Grayling and the DfT have now given up trying to make out that a Heathrow runway can be built, and fully used, and the UK can still stay within the carbon cap for aviation. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – which is the government’s official advisor on climate change – in 2009 set a recommended cap for UK aviation CO2 in 2050. This cap is 37.5MtCO2, which was the level in 2005.  The government has never formally accepted the CCC advice. Chris Grayling now admits that he is likely to ignore it – as otherwise the runway is not possible. Instead, the intention is to get the Heathrow runway built, and then try to find some fudge on the carbon.  If the government abandons any pretence of trying to keep UK aviation emissions below 37.5MtCO2, then either the UK will fail to meet its legally binding carbon target for 2050 – or else every other sector will have to make cuts in its CO2 to an extent the CCC does not believe possible.   Or else the UK becomes a pariah state, ignoring commitments on carbon, and not taking seriously its international responsibilities.  [See more below]

 

Air pollution

Areas around Heathrow have had levels of air pollution (NO2 and particulates) for many years. The problem is caused partly by the aircraft themselves, partly by vehicles on the airport, and mainly by road vehicles on the surrounding roads including the M4 and the M25. A large part of the pollution is from diesel.  There are no definitive figures for how many of the vehicles on the surrounding roads are associated with Heathrow. So when the government says there will be increase, it is not going to be possible to check – unless the baseline numbers are recorded.

The simple maths shows this claim, of no more vehicles, is implausible.  If only about 42% or so of passengers now travel to/from Heathrow on public transport, and 55% will do so with the runway, the figures show this will still mean an increase. And the same goes for employees – not to mention all the extra people who may need to travel to other businesses etc attracted into the area.  The government is banking on car manufacturers quickly getting over the problems of diesel emissions, and the turnover of vehicles being rapid enough that all cars are petrol or electric by 2030 … which is scarcely likely.  Oh, and then there is the extra 50% more freight Heathrow hopes to handle – that all trundles around in diesel fuelled vans and lorries.  [See more below]

 

Economic benefits to all the UK

The Airports Commission came up with a range of figures for the alleged economic benefit to the UK of the 3rd runway.  The one they used most often was £147 billion.  But that was for the whole of the UK, over 60 years, and it used some highly questionable methodology.  In October 2016, the DfT recalculated this – taking out much of the double counting and unwarranted assumptions – to be £61 billion, over all the UK, over 60 years.

Many of the regions, the Chambers of Commerce, the MPs and Councils were wined and dined by Heathrow, and told of the huge economic benefits the runway would bring their region – and all the jobs. Those claims were made either based on the Airports Commission’s £147 billion figure – or else £211 billion that Heathrow itself often talked of.  With the (still probably exaggerated and unreliable) newer figure of £61 billion, the anticipated wealth for the regions needs to be recalculated. The regions, the MPs, the Chambers of Commerce etc, need to understand they were not given credible figures.

The cost to the UK Treasury each year, in revenue lost as aviation pays no VAT or fuel duty, is around £10 billion per year. The cost of the annual tourism deficit (more money spent by UK residents on trips abroad, over that spent by people from overseas on their trips to the UK) is around £15 billion per year.  The social and health cost of noise and health impacts of Heathrow are not properly quantified.  By contrast, the Heathrow runway is estimated to benefit the UK by £1 billion per year.  Impressive?  [See more below].

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Below are a few items that give more information on why the government has huge problems with a 3rd Heathrow runway:

Noise:

Chris Grayling’s evidence to the Environmental Audit Cttee on noise – in relation to Heathrow runway

Chris Grayling was questioned by the Environmental Audit Committee on 30th November 2016. Below are the parts of the questions, and answers by Chris Grayling and Caroline Low (DfT) on the subject of noise. Mr Grayling reveals only a very partial understanding of the problems, and of the noise levels – and a somewhat trusting belief in how “quiet” new aircraft are going to be. He says the UK should not impose restrictions on noisy aircraft of developing countries, as it would be unfair on them. He admits that people who currently get “respite” from Heathrow noise will get less, and there will have to be new flight paths – means unknown numbers of people will get noise for the first time, and not a lot of “respite”. His aspiration is for no scheduled flights for six and a half hours per night. He believes (mistakenly) that slightly steeper landings would help. He manages to repeat the mantra that despite 50% more flights “noise levels will be lower than they are at the moment.” He places unjustified trust in an “independent noise authority (or commission)” sorting out a lot of insoluble noise problems in future. Much that he could not give proper replied to depends on consultations in 2017. He will “look at” the issue of when insulation of affected homes is done – over up to 20 years, rather than right away. A worrying performance, for those affected by Heathrow noise.

Click here to view full story…

New EAC report highly critical of government lack on clarity on aircraft noise targets

The EAC has now published a follow up report to their November 2015 report, after the oral evidence given by Chris Grayling on 30th November. It is highly critical of the government on its assurances on noise targets and its low level of ambition in limiting noise in future. The EAC says: “We are concerned that the Government’s National Policy Statement has provided no further clarity on how predictable respite will be achieved or on the specific timings of a night flight ban.” … “The Government must carry out further work on respite which should form part of the NPS process, alongside plans for a live timetable of respite to be published beginning when the new runway is operational. We welcome the Government’s commitment to a 6.5 hour night flight ban. … it would appear inconsistent to reject its key recommendation on the precise timing of a night flight ban.” … and …”The stated goal of “fewer people […] affected by noise from Heathrow by 2030 than are today” shows a lack of ambition. Without Heathrow expansion, local communities would have seen a decrease in aircraft noise as new technology and airspace management techniques were developed.” … and “We are concerned with the inconsistency of the metrics used to measure noise attitudes. The Government has recognised that the level of significant annoyance has reduced and the number effected increased, yet it bases its conclusions on the out of date 57 dB LAeq 16hr contour.” And much more.

Click here to view full story…


Carbon emissions:

Government likely to ignore climate advice by CCC, turning just to carbon trading, to try to push Heathrow runway through

Chris Grayling and the government plan to ignore the assessment of the government’s own independent climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, on how to manage the CO2 emissions from a 3 runway Heathrow. The Environmental Audit Committee wrote to Grayling on 19th December, asking how he planned to square the CO2 emissions and the CCC advice with DfT plans. His response shows there is no way it can be done, and building the 3rd runway means not meeting the UK aviation cap – recommended by the CCC – of 37.5MtCO2 by 2050, meaning about 60% passenger growth above 2005 level. Grayling says ministers “have not taken a view on whether to accept the CCC’s planning assumption,” ie. rejecting the advice. He goes on to note that “a future global carbon market would allow emissions reductions to be made where they are most efficient across the global economy”. Then he says “measures are available” even if the aviation sector grows by more than 60%. This goes against the CCC’s own calculation that these levels of growth would mean “all other sectors will have to prepare for correspondingly higher emissions reductions in 2050.” Grayling hopes carbon trading will cut emissions – but in reality there are no effective carbon trading mechanisms that would do this well enough.

Click here to view full story…

New EAC report says government must provide clarity about its intentions on Heathrow CO2 emissions

The EAC has now published a follow up report to their November 2015 report, after the oral evidence given by Chris Grayling on 30th November. It is highly critical of the government on its assurances that the runway will meet carbon limits. The EAC says: “The Government claims that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within “the UK’s climate change obligations”. The Government has not set out what it means by “obligations”, let alone how it will meet them. It has not decided whether to accept the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation on limiting emissions from international aviation. It has not decided on whether to follow the CCC’s advice on offsetting. The Airports Commission told us the appropriate body to make recommendations on managing aviation emissions is the CCC. It would not be a credible position for the Government to claim that it can deliver Heathrow expansion within emissions limits whilst rejecting independent advice as to what those limits should be and how they should be met.” … The EAC says though Chris Grayling said told them the Government had not decided whether it intended to work towards the planning assumption [of limiting UK aviation to 37.5MtCO2 by 2050], when asked if he “had consulted other Ministers or sectors over the higher emissions reductions that they might be required to make if the planning assumption was not met. He said he had not yet done so.” And much more ….

Click here to view full story…

Air pollution:

Government backed Heathrow 3rd runway ‘using old air pollution data’

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has admitted the Government backed a 3rd runway at Heathrow without fully understanding the implications of ground-breaking new evidence on vehicle emission standards. Ministers insist Heathrow can expand within EU limits on air pollution, which are currently being widely breached in the capital. But a study for the Government, supporting its third runway decision, was not based on the latest international analysis by experts, which showed emissions from some diesel vehicles are worse than previously claimed. Mr Grayling is to appear before the EAC on 30th November to give evidence on Heathrow and its environmental issues. In a letter to the Environmental Audit Cttee (EAC), Mr Grayling said: “Further work is needed to understand the implications of this evidence. … But our initial assessment suggests that revised forecasts would be likely to be within the range of scenarios already considered by our re-analysis [on air quality].” However, EAC chairwoman Mary Creagh said: “We will want to hear from the minister how the Government can meet air quality standards given what we now know about real-world emissions, which are higher than used in the Government’s business case [for a third runway]. We are also concerned that the plans for low-emission vehicle uptake and improvements in public transport are over-ambitious.”

Click here to view full story…

New EAC report says government has given no guarantees that air quality targets will be met with Heathrow 3rd runway

The EAC has now published a follow up report to their November 2015 report, after the oral evidence given by Chris Grayling on 30th November. It is highly critical of the government on its assurances that the runway will increase air pollution. The EAC says the government’s air quality analysis is over-optimistic. “The effectiveness of the Government’s new air quality plan will be integral to determining whether Heathrow expansion can be delivered within legal limits. We are concerned that the timing of the draft National Policy Statement consultation means the Government will be unable to carry out a comprehensive re-analysis of the air quality impacts, using the new air quality plan, before the [NPS] consultation process is complete.” … “The Government must publish such an assessment alongside the final NPS, it must work towards a scenario in which all road likes affected by expansion have predicted concentrations below the limit value. Whilst the health impact assessment is a step in the right direction, the Government must carry out work to reduce the significant health impacts identified, before construction of the third runway begins.” ….”Since the Government intends to withdraw the UK from the EU before April 2019, there is no certainty about what our legally binding air quality limits will be after 2019. We are disappointed that these limits are not clearly laid out in the Draft NPS.” And there is much more ….

Click here to view full story…

Difficult to see how Heathrow could prevent rise in staff road trips to/from airport with 3rd runway

Heathrow has told the DfT that there would be no higher a number of car trips to and from the airport with a 3rd runway than now. But is that actually credible? Neither the DfT nor Heathrow produce easy-to-find figures, but they be located with a bit of digging. There are probably about 76,000 staff at the airport at present. The October 2014 Jacobs report done for the Airports Commission said: “Headline employee commuting mode share was assumed to be 43% public transport and 47% private vehicles (ie. about 35,700 came by car, and Jacobs states: “with the vast majority of those undertaken as single occupancy car trips.”) …” and of the 43% using public transport, about 35% used bus and 12% used rail. There are various estimates of how many on-airport staff there might be with a new runway. The Commission’s Carbon Traded Assessment of Need scenario anticipated the number of staff to be around 90,000, and their highest growth scenario anticipated about 115,000 staff. Heathrow said by 2030 trips by both staff and passengers to the airport will be 53% by public transport, and still 47% by car. Nowhere is there anything to indicate that below 47% of airport employees would get to and from work by car. With 90,000 staff at Heathrow, if 47% travelled by car that would be 42,300 people, (or if 43% came by car it would be 38,700). If there were 100,000 on-airport staff, and 47% came by car, that would be 47,000 people (and if 43% came by car, 43,000). Those numbers are higher than today. This is not including people travelling to newly increased numbers of jobs in the area.

Click here to view full story…


Even with 55% of Heathrow passengers using public transport there could be 15 million more passenger trips per year by car by 2040 than now

The government claims Heathrow can meet air quality standards in future, even with a new runway and 50% more passengers, because it will (among other changes) ensure that there are no more road vehicles than now – and by around 2031 about 55% of passengers would use public transport. So is that likely? Looking at passengers only, not freight, and the work done by Jacobs for the Airports Commission, it seems that (2012 data) there were about 70 million passengers, about 20 million of whom were transfers (ie. they did not leave the airport). That meant slightly below 50 million passengers travelled to and from the airport, using surface transport. In 2012 about 59% of these travelled by car (ie. about 29.5 million), 41% came by public transport (28% by rail and 13% by bus or coach). But by 2030 with a new runway, there might be around 110 million passengers, and around 33% would be international transfers. That leaves around 74 million passengers, and if 55% of them use public transport, that means about 34 million using cars. By 2040, the number using cars might be about 45 million (ie. about 15 million more per year than now). And about 9 million using bus/coach – which is of course also on the roads. There would have to be dramatic increases in electric vehicles and improved engine technology to ensure no higher emissions in the Heathrow area. And that is not counting freight vehicles. Or staff. Or other increased vehicle traffic associated with the 3rd runway.

Click here to view full story…


Economic benefits to the UK

 

Chair of Treasury Cttee, Andrew Tyrie, again asks Hammond and Grayling about unclear Heathrow economic benefits

An influential Tory MP has questioned the evidence behind Heathrow expansion, suggesting the Government may have gone to exceptional lengths to find a methodology that made the case. In a letter to chancellor Philip Hammond and transport secretary Chris Grayling, the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie, said the Treasury has specifically requested the rarely used ‘net public value’ investment measure be included in its assessment. Mr Tyrie pointed out that of the 4 investment measures used to evaluate the 3 runway proposals, only this seldom-used “net public value” measure presents a clear case for a 3rd runway at Heathrow. He asked the ministers where this measure has been used before on major infrastructure. Mr Tyrie also said that the DfT document published on 25th October acknowledged that ‘the Net Present Values (NPVs) for some of the options could potentially be negative under some demand scenarios… ” but the DfT is only considering one scenario. And he asks that figures are produced for all the scenarios [but does not say if he wants carbon capped as well as carbon traded], not just one. He also says assessing demand growth for a period of over 20 years, or even 30 years, is ‘not in line with the guidance issued by the Department for Transport’. He asks that figures with demand capped at 20 and 30 years should be produced.

Click here to view full story…

DfT’s own study reveals just how tiny the possible economic benefits of Heathrow or Gatwick runway would be to UK

The economics figures by Airports Commission were always dubious, and their methodology was questioned by their own advisors. The Commission did not use the Webtag method that is normally used to cost transport projects. The Commission added in a range of possible future benefits for Heathrow, and for Gatwick – most purely speculative. Benefits of trade were added, even though these were effectively double counted as already taken account of by other sectors. The AC also counted in economic benefits to non-UK residents of flights to or from the UK. The recent DfT document entitled “Further Review and Sensitivities Report – Airport Capacity in the South East” has had to look more carefully at the figures. It has removed some of the wild claims of benefits from trade, and has looked at the benefits just to UK passengers. Its figures show little difference in the alleged future economic benefit to the UK between Heathrow and Gatwick, and that these benefits are actually tiny. Even when measured over 60 years. The DfT document mentions a large number of the aspects they looked at as being of “low analytic assurance”, meaning very uncertain.

The new DfT figures give the total benefit (NPV) of a Heathrow north west runway being just £0.2 – £6.1 billion over 60 years, and the figure for Gatwick being £3.1 – £4.5 billion. The equivalent figures by the Airports Commission were £11.4 billion and £10.8 billion. So current estimates are all even lower than before.

The new DFT figures give the NPV for all the UK of the Heathrow  north-west runway, excluding Wider Economic Impacts, are only from  minus (yes, minus) – £1.8 billion, up to plus £2.3 billion, over 60 years.  The NPV figure for a Gatwick 2nd runway would be plus £1.7 – £1.8 billion, over 60 years.

Click here to view full story…

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Government publishes draft Airports National Policy Statement consultation, to pave the way for Heathrow runway

The government has announced the start of the DfT’s consultation on the draft “Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England”. It is the necessary first stage in the process of getting consent for a Heathrow 3rd runway. The consultation will last for 16 weeks, and end on 25th May. The text associated with the draft NPS says little new, that we had not heard before. It is rich in statements like: “..proposals show this Government is not only making the big decisions but getting on with delivering them” and “…will ensure Britain seizes the opportunity to forge a new role in the world after Brexit ….” No real practical, enforceable constraints appear to be placed upon Heathrow, other than it will have to put in place “measures to mitigate the impacts of noise including legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled [note, scheduled only] night flights” … and “implementing measures to deliver on its commitments of no increase in airport related road traffic…” And that: “Planning consent will only be granted if the new runway can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations.” The only noise body offered is the “Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise” – ie. a Commission, with no powers, not an Authority with powers.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

Government publishes draft Airports National Policy Statement consultation, to pave the way for Heathrow runway

The government has announced the start of the DfT’s consultation on the draft “Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England”. It is the necessary first stage in the process of getting consent for a Heathrow 3rd runway. The consultation will last for 16 weeks, and end on 25th May. The text associated with the draft NPS says little new, that we had not heard before. It is rich in statements like: “..proposals show this Government is not only making the big decisions but getting on with delivering them” and “…will ensure Britain seizes the opportunity to forge a new role in the world after Brexit ….” No real practical, enforceable constraints appear to be placed upon Heathrow, other than it will have to put in place “measures to mitigate the impacts of noise including legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled [note, scheduled only] night flights” … and “implementing measures to deliver on its commitments of no increase in airport related road traffic…” And that: “Planning consent will only be granted if the new runway can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations.” The only noise body offered is the “Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise” – ie. a Commission, with no powers, not an Authority with powers.
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The DfT page is at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/heathrow-airport-expansion

The DfT consultation document is at 

Consultation on Draft Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the south-east of England   (47 pages)

Consultation ends 25th May 2017.

Consultation events:

There will also be a number of consultation information events in the London area. Details at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/heathrow-expansion-draft-airports-national-policy-statement

The Government will be holding a series of events during the consultation period. These will be undertaken in two phases: • Phase one – local events. The local events will take place in the local authority areas around Heathrow Airport, and will be open to all. The events will provide information on the proposals in the draft Airports NPS to help inform responses. In particular, we want to hear from local communities on the measures proposed to mitigate negative impacts of expansion. • Phase two – regional events. The regional events will be held across the UK with invited stakeholders, facilitating consultation responses nationwide.

Response form

You will probably find it most convenient to submit a response online. Please visit www.gov.uk/dft/heathrow-airport-expansion to submit your response.

If you choose not to use the online system, for example because you use specialist accessibility software that is not compatible, you may download a Word document version of the form and email it or post it:

Email: runwayconsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Post: FREEPOST RUNWAY CONSULTATION

Hard copies

Hard copies of the draft Airports NPS, consultation document and response form are also available by calling 0800 6894968.


Have your say on a new north-west runway at Heathrow Airport

Below are the documents, from the DfT website, that form part of the consultation

We are consulting on the draft Airports National Policy Statement. An independent consultation adviser has been appointed to oversee the consultation process.

  1. Heathrow expansion: draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Open consultation
  2. Draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Policy paper
  3. Appraisal of sustainability for the draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Research and analysis
  4. Health impact analysis for the draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Impact assessment
  5. Interim equality impact assessment for the draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Impact assessment
  6. Habitats regulations assessment for the draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Impact assessment
  7. Airport expansion: updated air quality re-analysis

    • Independent report
  8. Airport expansion: carbon policy sensitivity test supplementary analysis

    • Research and analysis
  9. About the airport and airspace consultations

    • Guidance
  10. Heathrow expansion: have your say

    • Promotional material
  11. Statement of approach for the draft Airports National Policy Statement

    • Guidance

Announcements

  1. Additional airport capacity and airspace policy reform

    • Oral statement to Parliament
  2. Major step forward in building a global Britain as public has its say on airport expansion

    • News story
  3. Airport capacity and airspace policy

    • Written statement to Parliament


National Policy Statement on airports capacity

February 2nd 2017    (DfT press release)

[There are many bits of wording in the text below that will cause eyebrows to be raised – read with all critical faculties fully engaged ….. AirportWatch note]

“MAJOR STEP FORWARD IN BUILDING A GLOBAL BRITAIN AS PUBLIC HAS ITS SAY IN AIRPORT EXPANSION

        Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will take a major step forward in preparing Britain for leaving the EU, by publishing proposals for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

        A national public consultation will begin into one of the UK’s most important infrastructure projects which will help build a Global Britain.

        The planning policy proposals show this Government is not only making the big decisions but getting on with delivering them.

        This will ensure Britain seizes the opportunity to forge a new role in the world after Brexit, supported by the right infrastructure.

        On 25 October 2016, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling confirmed that the Government’s preferred scheme for adding new runway capacity in the South East is through a new Northwest Runway at Heathrow Airport, in line with the recommendation made by the independent Airports Commission, and that the policy for this would be brought forward by way of a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) which would be subject to public consultation.

        This move, taken for the country as a whole, will ensure Britain has the connections it needs to thrive in the global market, sending a clear signal that Britain is open for business, and we are creating an economy that works for everyone.

        The Government’s draft NPS, “Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England”, lays down the planning policy framework which the applicant for a new Northwest runway would have to comply with in order to get development consent. It also sets out the need for additional airport capacity in the South East and the reasons why a Northwest runway at Heathrow is the Government’s preferred scheme.

        An NPS is more appropriate for this proposed development because it provides clarity, is speedier and less costly to the taxpayer.

        Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is to say:   “Aviation expansion is important for the UK both in boosting our economy and jobs and promoting us on the world stage.

“Leaving the EU is a new chapter for Britain and provides us with a great opportunity to forge a new role in the world.

“We are determined to seize that opportunity and having the right infrastructure in place will allow is to build a more Global Britain.

“By backing the Northwest runway at Heathrow airport and publishing our proposals, we are sending a clear signal that when we leave the EU, we are open for business.

“The National Policy Statement is a big step forward for what is one of the UK’s most important, major infrastructure projects. Now we want to hear your views on it. This is an important consultation and I encourage everybody to get involved across the country.”

        The draft NPS will be open to a 16-week extensive public consultation to ensure people have the opportunity to contribute their views. The Secretary of State for Transport will use the NPS as the basis for making decisions on any future development consent application for a new Northwest runway at Heathrow Airport.

        Although the NPS will apply to England only, given the national significance of a Northwest Runway at Heathrow, the Government is consulting across the UK. This will include people who could benefit from expansion at Heathrow and communities who may be directly affected by expansion.

        During the consultation, there will be a series of local information events. Around the airport, there will be 20 one-day events for members of the public. There will be a further 13 events taking place in the nations and regions across the UK for business, industry and other interested parties.

        At the same time, and as required by the Planning Act 2008, a period of Parliamentary scrutiny will begin for the draft NPS, ending in 2017. Following consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny, a final airports NPS is expected to be laid before Parliament for debate and vote in winter 2017/18.

        The draft NPS sets out the measures with which Heathrow Airport Ltd will have to comply in order to get development consent.

These include:

o   demonstrating it has worked constructively with airlines on domestic connectivity – Heathrow has committed to 6 more domestic routes across the UK by 2030, Belfast International, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley to be added after expansion, bringing the total to 14;

o   providing a world-class package of support for communities affected by expansion including noise insulation for homes and schools and improvements to public facilities;

o   putting in place measures to mitigate the impacts of noise including legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled night flights;

o   implementing measures to deliver on its commitments of no increase in airport related road traffic and more than half of passengers using public transport to access the airport; and

o   honouring its commitment of paying home owners 25 percent above market value rate plus costs for the compulsory purchase of their homes if needed to make way for the new runway.

        Key benefits of the new Northwest runway are expected to be:

o   a £61 billion boost to the UK economy over 60 years;

o   tens of thousands of additional local jobs by 2030;

o   an additional 260,000 flights a year, with an extra 16 million long haul seats for passengers travelling from UK airports in 2040; and

o   reduced fares, fewer delays and more daily destinations for passengers.

        Heathrow is already the UK’s biggest freight port by value and a new runway will provide a post-Brexit boost for exports.  Heathrow’s expansion will open up new links between the UK and markets around the world.  It will connect UK goods and services to global customers and make the UK a more attractive location for inward investment.

        We are building on Heathrow’s pledges on compensation to put forward a world-class package worth up to £2.6 billion. Planning consent will only be granted if the new runway can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations. Proposals for expansion also include a six and a half hour ban on scheduled night flights for the first time.

        The Government has appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan, the former Lord Justice of Appeal, to independently oversee the consultation process and ensure it is run fairly.   Airspace and noise consultation

        Alongside the draft NPS, the Government will also published today separate proposals to modernise the way UK airspace is managed. This consultation; “UK Airspace Policy: A framework for balanced decisions on the design and use of airspace” is seeking views on how aircraft noise is managed effectively while updating airspace policies. Proposals will look at how the number of aircraft entering and leaving our airspace can be managed effectively – using the latest technology to make airspace more efficient, reducing the need for stacking and making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly. They will also include draft guidance on how noise impacts should be assessed and used to inform decisions on airspace.

        The consultation also includes proposals on the role of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, which we will establish. The Commission would build relationships between industry and communities and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to the use of airspace and flight paths.

        These proposals will influence decisions taken later in the planning process for a Northwest runway at Heathrow, including how local communities can have their say on airspace matters and how impacts on them are taken into account.

        Both consultations start on 2nd February and last for 16 weeks, closing on May 25th.         Public consultation events are taking place across the country. ”

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See also (from AirportWatch)

Heathrow NPS – summary of the main (probably) insuperable obstacles the runway faces

The government hopes to get a 3rd Heathrow runway approved, but it realises there are a large number of massive obstacles. The purpose of the NPS (National Policy Statement) consultation is to attempt to persuade the country, and particularly the MPs who must ultimately vote on it, that these obstacles can be successfully overcome. At present, there are no apparent solutions to many of the problems. Below are some very brief outlines of what some of the insuperable hurdles are – and why the government is a very long way from resolving the difficulties. The issues listed here are the three main environmental issues – noise, carbon emissions, and air pollution. The economics is complicated, but there is a note on that too. When Chris Grayling makes bland PR statements about the runway, or the papers regurgitate undigested blurb from the DfT, it may be useful to remember how very thin some of these statement are, and how far the government would have to go, in order to find even partial solutions.

Click here to view full story…

 

The DfT website says:

Consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement

2.2.2017

By Chris Grayling

Today I will be laying before Parliament a draft Airports National Policy Statement and beginning a period of extensive public consultation on the policy proposals it contains. National policy statements were introduced under the Planning Act 2008 and are used to set out government policy on nationally significant infrastructure projects. This draft Airports National Policy Statement sets out the need for additional airport capacity, as well as the reasons why the government believes that need is best met by a north-west runway at Heathrow.

The:

  • draft Airports National Policy Statement
  • Appraisal of sustainability of the draft Airports National Policy Statement, incorporating a strategic environmental assessment
  • Assessment of the policy under the Habitats and Wild Birds Directive
  • Health impact analysis
  • Equality impact assessment

will be made available online.

The Airports National Policy Statement, if designated, will provide the primary basis for making decisions on any development consent application for a new north-west runway at Heathrow Airport.

For a scheme to be compliant with the Airports National Policy Statement, the Secretary of State would expect Heathrow Airport Ltd to:

  • demonstrate it has worked constructively with airlines on domestic connectivity – the government expects Heathrow to add 6 more domestic routes across the UK by 2030, bringing the total to 14, strengthening existing links to nations and regions, and also developing new connections
  • provide compensation to communities who are affected by the expansion including noise insulation for homes and schools, improvements to public facilities and other measures – this includes establishing a community compensation fund and a community engagement board
  • honour its commitment of payments for those people whose homes need to be compulsorily purchased to make way for the new runway or for those who take up the voluntary scheme of 25% above the full market value of their home and cover all costs including stamp duty, reasonable moving costs and legal fees
  • put in place a number of measures to mitigate the impacts of noise, including legally binding noise targets and periods of predictable respite – the government also expects a ban of 6 and a half hours on scheduled night flights
  • set specific mode share targets to get more than half of airport users onto public transport, aimed at meeting its pledge of no more airport-related road traffic with expansion compared to today
  • implement a package of industry-leading measures to limit carbon and air quality impacts both during construction and operation
  • demonstrate that the scheme can be delivered in compliance with legal requirements on air quality

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.

Consultation on airspace policy

We need to think about how we manage the rising number of aircraft in an efficient and effective manner. By taking steps now to future-proof this vital infrastructure, we can harness the latest technology to make airspace more efficient as well as making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly.

I am therefore also publishing proposals to modernise the way UK airspace is managed, which will be consulted on in parallel. The policy principles set out in this airspace consultation influence decisions taken later in the planning process for a north-west runway at Heathrow, if the Airports National Policy Statement were to be designated, including how local communities can have their say on airspace matters and how impacts on them are taken into account.

It is an important issue and one that will define the principles for shaping our airspace for years to come. It is therefore sensible to allow members of the public to consider both matters at the same time.

The proposals being published for consultation today include the functions, structure and governance of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, which we will establish. The commission would build relationships between industry and communities, embed a culture of best practice, and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to airspace.

The proposed new call-in function for a Secretary of State on airspace changes, similar to that used by the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government for planning applications, create a democratic back-stop in the most significant decisions, much called for by communities.

The consultation on airspace policy, new Air navigation guidance and the Strategic rationale for upgrading the UK’s airspace will be made available online.

Aviation strategy

The aviation sector is a great British success story, contributing around £20 billion per year and directly supporting approximately 230,000 jobs across the United Kingdom. It also supports an estimated 260,000 jobs across the wider economy.

I want to build on this success. My department is currently progressing work to develop a new strategy for UK aviation.

This strategy will champion the success story of the UK’s aviation sector. It will put the consumer back at the heart of our thinking. The strategy will also explore how we can maximise the positive role that our world class aviation sector plays in developing global trade links, providing vital connections to both the world’s growing economies and more established trading partners. Connections that will only grow in importance as our trading network expands.

I will come back to the House to update you on our plans for the strategy as they develop over the coming weeks.

Consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny

These 2 consultations will last for 16 weeks and close on 25 May 2017. At the same time, and as required by the Planning Act 2008, a period of Parliamentary scrutiny (the ‘relevant period’) now begins for the Airports National Policy Statement, ending by summer recess 2017.

I will be placing copies of all relevant documents in the Libraries of both Houses. Following consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny, and assuming that in the light of these processes the decision is made to proceed, we expect to lay a final Airports National Policy Statement before Parliament for debate and an expected vote in the House of Commons by winter 2017-18.

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GACC response to night flights consultation: “Ban all night flights by 2030, and cut the noise at night”

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has produced its response to the DfT’s night flights consultation. The response has been put together after discussion with GACC’s committee members, so that others who want to submit a reply can make use of it, if they wish.  Some of the points are copied below, but there is more detail with references in the full response which anyone interested is advised to read. Some of the points made by GACC are that the claims of the economic benefits of night flights at Gatwick are flimsy and not substantiated; there should be a thorough analysis within the next 2 years of the balance between the economic benefits and the health impacts/widespread disturbance of night flights, leading to a reduction in both the number of flights and noise quotas; there should not be an increase in the number of night flights in winter; GACC supports the reduction in noise quotas to match (and go below) existing usage, encouraging purchase by airlines of less noisy planes; many GACC members feel strongly that there should be a total ban on all night flights; GACC agrees with Stop Stansted Expansion that government should announce that night flights will be phased out by 2030; GACC strongly supports the suggestion that the noise quotas may be reduced by 5% a year so as to be 20% lower by 2022.
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Ban all night flights by 2030, and cut the noise at night 

GACC responds to consultation.  Read the response.

GACC has produced its response, after consultation with its committee members, so that others who want to make a reply can make use of it, if they wish.  Some of the points are copied below, but there is more detail with references in the full response

Some of the points made by GACC are:

The consultation has been delayed: it was originally expected in October. That means that the consultation period has been cut short, to under seven weeks instead of the normal three months.

We welcome the aim to encourage quieter aircraft. However the aim should be to reduce the number of people significantly affected – delete the weasel words ‘to limit’ (which in DfT speak can mean to increase but not too much).

It should be made clear that this objective (of encouraging the use of less noisy aircraft to limit or reduce the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise at night) can only be achieved by quieter aircraft not by merely introducing more concentrated flight paths.
Although the consultation refers to the existing benefits of night flights there is no attempt to quantify them. It is stated in paragraph 1 that aviation ‘directly supports around 230,000 jobs … and contributes over £21 bn annually to UK GDP.’ but that is exaggerated and misleading: it includes flights at all times of day; it also includes aircraft manufacture and aerospace which are irrelevant.

….

The economic benefits of night flights at Gatwick are small. There is little or no freight which requires night-time delivery. Most of the night flights are to or from holiday destinations with no special justification on business grounds. We understand the argument that night flights allow airlines to make more use of their aircraft with three rotations a day but that is a doubtful argument: it is not applied to most other commercial operations such as noisy factories or retail deliveries which have their working hours firmly controlled by planning conditions.

Any calculation of economic benefits is suspect unless it takes into account the hidden subsidy to airlines as a result of paying no fuel tax and no VAT, the benefit of which is about four times the revenue from air passenger duty.

In so far as there are economic benefits, in some cases they could be achieved by better scheduling. If aircraft to middle-distance destinations were scheduled to depart before 11.30 pm and scheduled to return after 6.00 am the benefits of three rotations could be achieved without flights at Gatwick during the night quota period.
We are content with the proposed five years [as the proposed length of the next regime].   However a thorough analysis of the balance between the economic benefits and the health impacts / widespread disturbance of night flights should be made within the next two years, leading to a reduction in both the noise and number quotas.
We are shocked that there has been no fundamental review of the night flight regime since 2006.  Thus the opportunity for environmental improvements has been lost. Until 2012 there was a progressive year-by-year reduction in the level of noise permitted at night at Gatwick. A clear indication that this progressive reduction would continue was given in a Ministerial Statement by the then Aviation Minister: “The government will take into account the freeze in quota limits during this extension period when setting the next regime and expects
airlines to continue to improve their environmental performance in the interim.” [Rt Hon Theresa Villiers. 12 March 2012]
We strongly disagree [with the proposal for movement limits to remain unchanged at Gatwick]. They should be reduced. As shown above, the economic justification for them is weak. At the very least the aim should be to achieve a steady year-by-year reduction.
We support the call by Stop Stansted Expansion for the Government to announce that all night flights will be phased out by 2030.
The winter movements quota is not fully used. Paragraph 2.19 of the consultation paper says:  ‘There is however still capacity in the winter period and given the constraints on airport capacity in the south east, the Government does not think it appropriate to constrain this further’.  That is alarming, inaccurate and silly.
Alarming because it indicates that the Government is prepared to accept a 60% increase in the number of night flights in winter.  Inaccurate because with Stansted and Luton operating at little more than half capacity there are no real constraints on airport capacity. And silly because it is unlikely that any airline would want extra winter night-time slots when none are available in summer.
Instead, as a minimum, the winter movements quota of 3,250 movements should be reduced to match the actual usage in the past five years of under 2,000.
Many of our members feel strongly that there should be a total ban on all night flights. There is growing evidence of the adverse effects on health of aircraft noise at night.
Heathrow [if permitted a 3rd runway] is to have a total ban so why, it is said, should the same not apply to Gatwick and indeed other airports  Nevertheless the widespread demand for a total ban illustrates the strong hatred of all night flights.
Indeed it is anger at the failure to cut the number of night flights which has led to the request that a proper assessment of the economic benefits is made, followed within two years by a reduction in the movements and noise quotas.
We support the aim to reduce the noise quotas to match existing use. This is a change which GACC urged in 2012 and in 2014 and we are delighted that it is at last being implemented – at least for the summer quota. It removes the potential for a large increase in noise at night which would be unacceptable. Having a large surplus of noise points has meant that the noise quotas have been totally ineffective in their aim to encourage quieter aircraft.
The proposal to reduce the summer noise quota to 4870, which is slightly less than the actual use in the past three years, would fulfil this aim.
We are amazed, however, that the new noise quota for the winter is proposed at 1,655 which almost double the actual use in two of the past three years. That would negate the aim of setting the limits to match existing use, and would mean that the noise quota would be totally ineffective and would provide no incentive for the use of quieter aircraft. The new winter noise quota should be set at around 900.
We also strongly support the suggestion in paragraph 3.25 that the noise quotas may be reduced by 5% a year so as to be 20% lower by 2022.
That would represent a big improvement in the situation at Gatwick, especially for the
communities close to the airport which suffer the worst noise. It would put pressure on airlines to buy and to operate quieter aircraft. In the long run this type of measure is what encourages manufacturers to design quieter aircraft.
We are, however, worried that this [the cut by 5% of noise quotas] is only described as ‘hypothetical’ and that it is not included in the summary of measures being proposed. Indeed in paragraph 4.6 it is stated that: ‘we would only adopt a reduction in noise quota if evidence suggests this would act as a realistic incentive for airports and airlines to use
quieter aircraft rather than to penalise them with unrealistic targets.’   If this were to mean only reducing the noise quotas after the airlines had bought quieter aircraft it would provide no incentive.
We trust that the Department will resist lobbying from the aviation industry to water down this proposal.  Only if the noise quotas actually put pressure on airlines to buy and operate quieter aircraft will they be beneficial: as Lewis Carrol said; ‘Medicine has to taste nasty!’ We therefore hope that this proposal can be up-graded to a definite policy when the Government announce their decisions.
We are appalled at the suggestion in the consultation paper (paragraph 1.38) that noise at night only affects some 4,300 people at Gatwick (the number within the  48 Leq.night contour). We are glad that the consultation uses the 48 Leq.night measurement rather than the discredited 57 leq, but it still measures the average noise which is almost meaningless at night.
Some 50,000 people live in the northern part of Crawley and 20,000 in Horley, and many of them are affected by ground noise, especially the roar at start of roll and the use of reverse thrust. It is also our experience that complaints about night flights come from a far wider area, up to twenty miles around the airport – because of the low background noise in rural areas.
Indeed the table in Appendix G paragraph G5 shows that the footprint of an A320 approaching from the east creates over 60dB for 20,000 people. That is above the WHO health recommendation.
A recent research study for GACC carried out by the Dutch research agency To70 found that: ‘The percentage of annoyed residents is likely to be higher in areas with low ambient noise than in high ambient noise areas. It can be misleading to compare noise annoyance between different airports, when these local differences are not taken into account. Hence, the local difference between ambient noise levels should always be taken into account when calculating the annoyance.’
Another factor is the increase in traffic on local roads at night time generated by the flights during antisocial hours. All the local roads to and from the airport are busy through the night and this must affect the sleep of people living near those roads, even if their homes are not overflown.
We are concerned at the suggestion in paragraphs 3.3 – 3.5 that the present controls on night flights by the DfT may be replaced by ‘bespoke’ controls imposed locally, possibly through the planning system. The planning authority for Gatwick is Crawley Borough which benefits substantially from employment at Gatwick whereas other nearby councils suffer worse noise. Any new system should involve all the councils around the airport.
Paragraphs 2.28 – 2.32 in the consultation paper refer to land use planning.  They are largely meaningless unless local planning authorities can have an assurance that there will be no change in flight paths over the 50-100 year lifespan of new houses, schools or hospitals.
We would wish to see a longer night quota period. Six and a half hours is too short for anyone to get a good night’s sleep – even if they go to sleep on the dot of 11.30 pm and are not woken up by the bunching of early arrivals and early departures before 6.00 am. The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Guidelines on Community Noise suggest that night should be defined as 11.00 pm to 7.00 am.

Read the full response by GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) at

http://www.gacc.org.uk/resources/Night%20flight%20response%20final.pdf

The DfT night flights consultation document is at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/582863/night-flight-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted.pdf
Responses have to be submitted before 28 February.
The Department would prefer you to use the online web form at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/J6KX6/.
Otherwise email your response to night.flights@dft.gsi.gov.uk
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See also

Stop Stansted Expansion says DfT plans on night flights do not go nearly far enough

Following the publication of the DfT’s night flight regulation consultation, SSE is urging urging local district, parish and town councils and individual local residents to respond, to try to get the noise impacts of Stansted night-time flights reduced.  Stansted currently has permission for 12,000 night flights a year, more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow. The 12,000 annual limit applies only to the 6½ hours from 11.30pm to 6.00am whereas the normal definition of ‘night’ is the 8 hours from 11.00pm to 7.00am. Moreover, a large number of Stansted’s night flights are large, noisy cargo aircraft, many of which are very old. Unsurprisingly, these give rise to a disproportionately high level of noise complaints. SSE welcomes the DfT intention to remove the current exemption for less noisy aircraft and adjust the movements limit accordingly – but the DfT proposes to maintain the present night limit on Stansted aircraft movements.  The number of exempt aircraft has been increasing, and they need to be included in totals. SSE wants an unequivocal Government commitment to phase out all night flights at Stansted by 2030, except in the case of genuine emergencies. SSE also wants the annual flight limit  to apply, not just from 11.30pm to 6.00am, but from 11.00pm to 7.00am, so that ‘night’ truly means ‘night’.

Click here to view full story…

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Consultation by Transport Committee on “modernisation” of airspace, especially to add a new runway

Government consultations on the Heathrow National Policy Statement and airspace change start on 2nd February. In addition there is an inquiry by the Commons Transport Committee, on management and “modernisation” of airspace.  What modernisation means is more narrow flight paths, intensively used, in order to free up airspace so more planes can be accommodated. The south east of England is already (perhaps equal to the area round New York) the most intensely used area of airspace in the world. To fit in another fully used Heathrow runway, space must be found to deal with the extra planes. It is considered as given that expanding air travel is good, and whatever is needed to do this must happen. The effect for those on the ground is likely to mean more narrow flight paths, with high levels of traffic down each. That means potentially very high noise levels for those affected, often for most of each day, on most days. The Committee say without “modernisation” the economy suffers, due to flight delays and business is lost. This ignores the fact that about 70% of Heathrow is leisure passengers. The excuse is also made that fuel is saved by aircraft, in taking the shortest route – which is good, but this cost saving to the airline should be balanced by the social cost of the added plane noise.  The Transport Committee consultation ends on 31st March.
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Airspace management and modernisation inquiry launched

26 January 2017

The Transport Committee [which is very enthusiastic about getting a new Heathrow runway. AW comment] launches an inquiry into airspace management and modernisation to identify the need for change to current airspace structures and potential barriers to implementing those changes.

Inquiry background

The UK’s controlled airspace is described as the invisible motorways in the sky where commercial aircraft fly.The basic structure of this airspace was developed over 50 years ago when aircraft were very different and traffic demand was much lower. Since then there have been major changes to the performance and operational capability of aircraft.

With 3.1 million flights a year, carrying 350 million passengers expected in the UK by 2030, forecasts show that – with a continuation of current infrastructure and airspace procedures – 23% of flights will delayed by more than 30 minutes by 2030.  [The origin of this figure would be interesting.  AW comment]

This is anticipated to generate costs to the wider economy through lost flights and trade.  [Heathrow only has, at most, 30% of passengers on business.  About 70% are flying for leisure reasons, on holidays or visiting friends and family. A few minutes delay are not of any serious economic cost to the UK. AW comment]  

It may also result in foregone environmental benefits, including a potential carbon saving, as aircraft are forced to fly longer and further than necessary.  [This is, in effect, a very tiny fuel saving – and may come at the expense of very intense noise suffered by some areas. AW comment]

To mitigate these future costs, industry – led by the campaign group Sky’s the Limit – have been calling for UK airspace to be modernised, including proposals to transition to modern satellite navigation and redesigning flight paths to enable more efficient aircraft operation.  [More efficient aircraft operation means, in plain English, less costs for airlines now, and fitting in an extra 50% more flights for Heathrow in coming decades.  AW comment]

The CAA’s Future Airspace Strategy (PDF 1.6MB) was produced in June 2011 with a programme to modernise airspace across the UK out to 2030.

Airspace trials were subsequently conducted at Heathrow and Gatwick in 2014 attracting a significant number of complaints and negative reaction from some local communities, particularly in terms of the lack of consultation prior to the trials commencing. This led to the Government reducing support for airspace modernisation and major proposals to modernise airspace were subsequently been delayed.

Call for written submissions

The Committee is particularly interested to receive submissions addressing some or all of the following:

  • The role of Government in facilitating improvements to the airspace
  • The need for modernisation, in terms of the economic and environmental sustainability benefits, and the risks for the aviation industry and wider economy from maintaining the current airspace structures
  • The essential changes that need to be made to UK airspace, particularly those associated with the development of an additional runway in the South East
  • Progress of the Civil Aviation Authority’s Future Airspace Strategy in achieving its core objectives of reducing congestion, improving safety and taking advantage of new technologies to enable a more efficient airspace system
  • The barriers to modernisation of airspace, including the environmental and community considerations arising from changes to the current arrangements for managing UK airspace
  • The effectiveness and adequacy of engagement with affected communities when planning and introducing airspace changes and the lessons to be learnt from recent trials, particularly at Heathrow and Gatwick
  • The merits of an Independent Aviation Noise Authority and desirability of classifying airspace within the National Infrastructure Commission’s remit
  • The UK’s relationship with the European Union in terms of airspace management and any potential issues arising from Brexit

Submit your views through the airspace management and modernisation inquiry page.

Deadline for written submissions is Friday 31 March 2017.

People have to submit their response to this webpage:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/inquiry1/commons-written-submission-form/

Fill in the form, and then attach your detailed comments as a Word document.

You cannot just send an email.   You cannot submit in writing, by snail mail.

 

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Scope of the inquiry

The Committee is particularly interested to receive submissions addressing some or all of the following:

  • The role of Government in facilitating improvements to the airspace
  • The need for modernisation, in terms of the economic and environmental sustainability benefits, and the risks for the aviation industry and wider economy from maintaining the current airspace structures
  • The essential changes that need to be made to UK airspace, particularly those associated with the development of an additional runway in the South East
  • Progress of the Civil Aviation Authority’s Future Airspace Strategy in achieving its core objectives of reducing congestion, improving safety and taking advantage of new technologies to enable a more efficient airspace system

 

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Some local air pollution so bad that new homes may have to be airtight, to keep dirty air out

There is speculation that a new government white paper on housing, due to be published soon, is considering making it compulsory for new homes in areas of poor air quality to be fitted with whole-house ventilation systems. That would mean airtight doors and sealed windows to protect families from smog and pollution in the air outside. (The government refuted the claim adding that it could not disclose what was in the White Paper.)  Local authorities would be required to make airtight homes a condition when granting planning permission to a development in an air quality management area. There are about 700 such zones – including near Heathrow.  Local authorities already have powers to order a developer to incorporate a whole-house ventilation system in a housing development in such an area but this is not compulsory at present. Simon Birkett, of Clean Air in London, said: “…we either build houses in polluted areas and dump people in them and wait 15 or so years, or we put in measures to help. That’s the choice.” Much air pollution actually comes from within the home, from activities such as burning candles, use of aerosols and cleaning products. The impact on mental well-being of living in a sealed home, unable to open windows, is not known.
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Airtight houses needed to protect Londoners from rise in pollution, experts say

By SAPHORA SMITH (Evening Standard)
1.2.2017

London’s air pollution is so high all new homes and schools should be “sealed up”, only allowing filtered air to enter buildings, experts say.

Housing experts have called for all new London homes to be fitted with whole-house ventilation systems which include airtight doors, windows which cannot be opened, and filters to purify outdoor air entering the home.

The call comes ahead of a Government White Paper on housing which is due to be published later this month.

The Sunday Times reported last week the paper would make the use of whole-house ventilation systems obligatory in developments in highly-polluted areas – under current legislation it’s up to local authorities to decide whether to force developers to install them as a condition of planning permission.

But the Government refuted the claim adding that it could not disclose what was in the White Paper.

Simon Birkett of Clean Air London said all new builds should be sealed from toxic pollutants.

He told the Standard: “It’s essential we start protecting people from fumes.  Some London streets have the highest level of nitrogen dioxide, the toxic gas which comes from diesel fumes, in the world.  We have to seal up buildings because we really have no choice.

“If you live in a polluted spot in London there is no other way to protect people inside while we try to clean up the pollution at its source.

“You can remove 90% of the worst pollution in outdoor air through air filtration. So we either build houses in polluted areas and dump people in them and wait 15 or so years, or we put in measures to help. That’s the choice.”

Clive Shrubsole, an expert in indoor environments at University College London, said mandatory whole-house ventilation systems in new builds was long overdue.

He told the Standard: “The UK indoor environments group have been calling for this for a long time. We need to put health at the core of all our housing policies because healthy business and living environments are good for business in the long term because they increase productivity.”

But Mr Shrubsole stressed the need for “a balanced ventilation system” which could stop external pollutants getting in and at the same time allow internal pollutants, such as moisture and particle matter from cooking, to get out.

Airtight houses are seen as a key solution to enable house building in London, the vast of majority of which is classified as an Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA), which means pollution breaches legal limits.

According to the National Planning Policy Framework new developments cannot “contribute to, or put people at risk from being adversely affected by unacceptable levels of soil, air, water, or noise pollution.”

Some have interpreted this to mean no new houses or schools should be built in AQAMs, and therefore in almost all of London.

The Home Builders Federation said it was impossible to stop building houses in London and agreed airtight houses offered one solution to the pollution crisis.

Andrew Whitaker, planning director at the Home Builders Federation said: “For social and economic reasons and to make the best use of land, we clearly need to continue to build homes in London.

“The potential to include mitigation measures alongside new developments suggests that modern, energy efficient homes, using the most up to date technologies which are well located to facilities people need to use, have the potential to be part of the solution to improving air quality, rather than contributing to the problem.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/airtight-houses-needed-to-protect-londoners-from-rise-in-pollution-experts-say-a3455161.html

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There are many other news stories about air pollution, especially in relation to Heathrow, at

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/latest-news/air-quality/

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About 1,200 people pack Frankfurt airport Terminal 1 for the 200th Monday protest against noise

At least 1,200 noise protesters gathered at Terminal 1 of Frankfurt airport on 30th January for the 200th of their Monday protests. These have been going on, most Monday evenings, since the 4th runway opened in October 2011. Thousands of people living around the airport find the noise burden to which they are subjected intolerable. One problem was that there was no proper information about flight paths before the runway opened, and the imposition of the noise took many by surprise.  On most Mondays at least 300 people attend. Some Mondays there are more. Their demands are that there must be a night flight ban between 10pm and 6am. The noise ceiling should not only be on the paper, but a noticeable reduction in noise. They would like to see the runway closed, but that is not likely to happen. Campaigners say the airport had been built for 40 years, but none of the growth forecasts so far had been fulfilled, and it is now taking low-cost carriers to fill the capacity.  They say all trips of under 1,000 kilometres should be made by train, not by air.  They say they want an aviation industry that is environmentally responsible, and without subsidies. One speaker at the 200th rally described the current noise as a “terror against the people of the region”. Resistance will continue.

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There are videos of the protest at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0MLH_qIdlc but all in German …

Over 1000 flight noise opponents at 200th Montagsdemo at the Frankfurt airport

30.1.2017

FRANKFURT – They are loud and they arrive at Terminal 1 of the Frankfurt Airport every evening at 6pm. The expansionists from all parts of the Rhine-Main region are not showing any signs of their protest against the noise pollution caused by the Frankfurt airport. At that time, in October 2011, shortly after the inauguration of the northwest runway, it was more than 3000 people. Meanwhile around 300 demonstrators regularly arrive.

But on certain days, as on the Monday evening for the 200th demonstration, there are well over one thousand noise-stricken people from the region around Mainz, from southern Hesse and even from Gelnhausen.

They make a noise with whistles and drums to give Fraport back what the airport operator is calling people into the Einflugschnee day by day. The support is great. On Monday, the Mayors of Mainz, Frankfurt and Offenbach issued a joint statement expressing their civic commitment to the expansion of the airport. Frankfurts Stadtwerke Peter Feldmann (SPD) demanded to stop the expansion finally.

In addition there must be a night flight ban between 22 and 6 o’clock. The noise ceiling should not only be on the paper, but a noticeable reduction in air pollution.

 

The spokesman for the municipal action group “Zukunft Rhein-Main”, the mayor of the city of Gross-Gerau, Thomas Will (SPD), said the airport must finally take leave of its development fantasies.

The airport had been built for 40 years, but none of the growth forecasts so far had been fulfilled.

The fact that Fraport now also takes low-cost carriers to Frankfurt is for Will “a scandal unparalleled”. First, the expansion of the  Hahn airport with more capacity for low-cost carriers was justified, now they are taken from there to Frankfurt. “We are not tired of standing together over all the parties and showing that we continue to resist, and whoever talks about low-cost jobs from qualified jobs is spoiling a whole region,” says Will.

Main speaker Uwe Hiksch, a member of the board of the Naturfreunde in Germany, demanded a reduction of the flight movements. All flights of less than 1000 kilometers should be relocated to the railway.

The people had to resist, so that the Rhine-Main region would still be worth living in the coming decades.

“We want an ecological traffic change without subsidised air traffic”. He described the current noise as a “terror against the people of the region”.

He encouraged, as well as other representatives of the citizens’ initiatives, the Montagsdemonstranten to continue and in their resistance not to let up, even if the impression prevails that he is not important among the group leaders. “We can resist,” said Uwe Hiksch.

http://www.echo-online.de/lokales/rhein-main/ueber-1000-fluglaermgegner-bei-200-montagsdemo-am-frankfurter-flughafen_17645840.htm


Monday demonstration at Frankfurt Airport 200 times noise from aircraft noise

Monday-Monday, people from the Rhine-Main area protest against the noise at Frankfurt Airport. Politicians from Mainz participated in the 200th protests.

The mayor Peter Feldmann (SPD, Frankfurt am Main, lr, front), Michael Ebling (SPD, Mainz) and Horst Schneider (SPD, Offenbach am Main)

The mayor Feldmann (SPD, Frankfurt am Main, left), Ebling (SPD, Mainz,) and Schneider (SPD, Offenbach am Main, right)
In the meantime, Mondaysdemo has become a ritual of aircraft noise: since the opening of the runway northwest of 2011, they have consistently demonstrated that they meet every Monday night at Terminal 1 of the Frankfurt Airport. The jubilee demonstration attracted at least 1,200 attendees, who were loudly against a further expansion of the airport and for an extension of the night flight ban from six to eight hours.
“The terminal has shaken,” said Thomas Scheffler, spokesman for an alliance of some 80 citizens’ initiatives. He was delighted that more people joined the traditional demo. Co-initiator Dirk Treber had expected up to 3,000 people.

Demand for federal laws

Ulrike Höfken (Greens), Rhineland-Palatinate’s Minister of the Environment, said in a greeting saying, “We need a federal regulation that introduces noise ceilings and legally fixes night-time restraints.” We also want citizens to be involved in the revision and the substantial modification of flight routes Be involved. “
The Mayor of Mainz, Michael Ebling (SPD), also participated in the protests. He was supported by his colleagues from Frankfurt and Offenbach. Ursula Fechter, Ursula Fechter, emphasized: “Air traffic has negative health consequences.”

“Night flight ban”

A spokesman for the Mainz initiative against noise, said the continuing protest. In recent years, noise protection measures and the night flight ban had been won. The result is that the airport is not growing so fast. Thus, there are fewer flight movements from year to year.
A spokesman for the airport operator Fraport mentioned other reasons for the sinking figures. For example, many tourists have not booked air travel for fear of terrorist attacks in popular holiday countries.
http://www.swr.de/landesschau-aktuell/rp/mainz/montagsdemo-am-frankfurter-flughafen-200-mal-laerm-gegen-den-fluglaerm/-/id=1662/did=18920414/nid=1662/l1gnb0/
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The 200th Frankfurt airport Monday Demo (Montagsdemo) against the noise will be on 30th January

The 4th runway at Frankfurt was opened in October 2011. Due to re-alignment of flight paths, with thousands of people either newly overflown, or with more flights than before, there was uproar. The airport had not felt it necessary to warn people, or consult about the noise.  Several thousand people started to congregate in the airport terminal every Monday evening, for a protest demo. (The airport buildings are public property, so the airport cannot prevent people gathering.). The 100th Monday demo was on 20th May 2014, when a group from the UK attended. Now the 200th Monday demo will take place on Monday 30th January, and a large crowd is expected. Politicians from the local area and from the region, as well as for Berlin, will be attending.  The demands of the protesters are ultimately that the runway is closed down (though that is an ambitious, or unrealistic hope….) but they want no night flights from 10pm to 6am, no further airport expansion, and no 3rd terminal.  Work to build the 3rd terminal started in October 2015, and the airport hopes it will open (first phase) in 2022. It is an astonishing achievement that Frankfurt residents have organised 200 Monday protests, all attended by many hundreds of people – sometimes several thousand. The demos are possible because people are so upset and angry about the noise burden that has been inflicted on them, reducing their quality of life.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/01/the-200th-frankfurt-airport-monday-demo-montagsdemo-against-the-noise-will-be-on-30th-january/

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Noise groups consider night flights consultation inadequate, as it fails to balance society costs against economic benefits

Campaigners against unacceptable levels of aircraft noise believe the current night flights consultation is unacceptable, because it prioritises the economic benefits of night flights over the costs to society of noise at night. The groups say people responding to the consultation should point out that the government’s role as regulator is to assess carefully the benefits and costs of night flights and strike an appropriate balance. Setting an objective of “maintaining the existing benefits of night flights” precludes such an assessment: the Government cannot start its options appraisal process by assuming what the answer should be, they say.  The groups acknowledge that some of the Government’s proposals are helpful, such as the inclusion of currently exempt aircraft in the limits, and the potential reduction in the total amount of noise that can be generated at night. They believe the Government should implement its proposals for a two-year period only, and commit to carrying out a full assessment of the costs and benefits of night flights in that period. In the longer term the groups believe night flights should be eliminated entirely, as they may be at Heathrow, recognising the increasing evidence that they can have serious health consequences for people overflown. Some advice on how to respond to the consultation – more to follow soon.
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Notes from discussions with campaign groups on the inadequacy of the current night flights consultation

31.1.2017
Campaigners against unacceptable levels of aircraft noise have been working together for some time, and having meetings with the CAA and the DfT.

The issue of night flights is particularly contentious, because of any time of day to be subjected to plane noise, night time is by far the most disliked.

Recently two of the lead campaigners met staff from the DfT, to discuss the issues. They made the point that the objective the government has proposed (which states that its goal is to maintain all the current benefits of night flights), has precluded the carrying out of a proper assessment of the costs and benefits of night flights.

The DfT do acknowledge night flights are of greatest concern to communities, but they have not carried out a proper assessment of the costs and benefits, looking at the costs to those overflown as well as commercial benefits to the aviation industry.

As a result, the campaigners have told the DfT that the proposals it has made, on night flights, are not fit for purpose. They therefore believe the current night flights consultation (ends 28th February) should be withdrawn.

The DfT considers the consultation does question the presumption (the objective) of the economic benefits of night fights. But the campaigners point out that this is not the case. The consultation very much takes the position that the benefits of the economic benefits are agreed – a fait accompli  – and the night flight proposals are based on this assumption.

The campaigners argue that without the assumption that the economic benefits of night flights must be retained, the whole consultation becomes invalid.

They say the right thing to have done would have been a two stage consultation process:

– first, agree the objectives

– second, the best means of achieving them.

The night flight consultation is, in practical terms, not adequate. However, the DfT would not be willing to lose face, and be seen to give way, in withdrawing the consultation.

Some sort of arrangements would need to be put in place from October 2017, when the current night flights regime ends.

The campaigners have told the DfT that they favour a short extension of the current arrangements, subject to inclusion of the exempt aircraft and noise quota reduction measures that are proposed in the consultation.

If that was best achieved not by withdrawing the consultation, but rather by this emerging as the conclusion arising from the consultation, that would be acceptable.

It would probably take several years for the night flights consultation to be re-done, because the DfT will be preoccupied this coming year with the Heathrow National Policy Statement (NPS), an airspace consultation, and consultations on various green papers, leading up to a new Airspace Strategy to replace the 2013 Aviation Policy Framework.

The campaigners would tolerate a further delay in the night flight proposals, provided that the quota numbers are reduced, to not allow further night flights, and to encourage airlines to use less noisy aircraft as soon as possible.

It is understood that Heathrow hopes to get favourable publicity for its 3rd runway bit, by agreeing to some slight reduction in the number of night flights, and slight extension of the hours with no scheduled flights.

The government – rather cynically – does not want to make any concessions on night flights before this, watering down the impact of the plans that are part of the 3rd runway proposals. It would not want to lost a good PR point.

Though this may be the politics of the situation, it should not stand in the way of a properly conducted night flight consultation.

It may indeed be possible for the next night flights regime to last for different lengths of itme at the three airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted), as their situations are different. These could range from 2 – 5 years.

The groups campaigning against aircraft noise are unhappy about the manner in which the consultation counts those negatively affected. They consider the consultation’s estimates of the numbers of people regarded as “main affected parties” as hopelessly wrong.  The real world numbers, not merely those living within arbitrarily drawn average noise contours, are much higher than the consultation suggests.

As the DfT will not withdraw the current consultation, those responding to it should make a few particular points. (More guidance will be given to those in the Gatwick area, by their campaign groups, shortly).

The points to make are:

 

Question Q1a.  How strongly do you agree or disagree with our proposed environmental objective for the next regime?

Points for replies:  The objective is not appropriate.  The government’s role as regulator is to assess carefully the benefits and costs of night flights and strike an appropriate balance. Setting an objective of “maintaining the existing benefits of night flights” precludes such an assessment, and the government has not carried one out.  No meaningful options appraisal starts by assuming what the right answer is.  By defining its objective in this way the government has unacceptably circumscribed the work done and failed to consider an appropriate range of options.

Question  Q2a.  How strongly do you agree or disagree with our proposal for the length of the next regime?

Points for replies:  The proposed period is not appropriate.  Given the limitations inherent in the government’s objective and in the work it has therefore carried out, the next regime should be set for the shortest period needed to carry out a proper assessment of the costs and benefits of night flights.  We suggest no more than two years.

 

As the consultation as it stands is not adequate, people need to respond to say ultimately night flights should be reduced, even if there is a phase-out period lasting several years.  If the consultation provides a proper balance between the costs to society of night flights, and the benefits of the aviation industry, it would be more credible.

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See also

Richmond Heathrow Campaign response

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign has submitted a detailed response, saying night flights are not needed at Heathrow. There is capacity in the day time to absorb all the current night flights.  Their response is here   and  their guidance on how to respond to the consultation is here.

More details at http://www.richmondheathrowcampaign.org/  and the RHC Night Flights page.


Gatwick has more night flights than Heathrow or Stansted – and that will continue for next 5 years

The Government Department for Transport (DfT) has released the long awaited night flight consultation documents (ends 28th February). The number of flights between 23:00 and 07.00 would not be reduced. The current number, and the one proposed for the next 5 years, is 3,250 in the winter and 11,200 in the summer, making an annual total of 14,450 which averages as 40 per night through the year. There will be a slight reduction in the quota count, as it is not being used – so the new figure will not change anything. This will be a reduction of at least 345 in the winter to 1655 [from 2000] and 1,330 in the summer to 4870 [from 6200]. Local campaign group CAGNE has commented about how unsatisfactory the proposals for Gatwick are. Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE said: “We would like to see a total ban on Gatwick night flights as this is a major cause of complaints we receive from communities. Summer nights especially when residents want to enjoy their gardens and have windows open on hot evenings.” CAGNE says it is regrettable that the government seems to “accept the economic case over the health implications of allowing night flights to continue.” Gatwick plans to continue to grow at perhaps 10% per year, meaning continually increasing noise.

Click here to view full story…

DfT publishes disappointing consultation on night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick & Stansted

The long awaited consultation on Night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted has now finally been published, for the 5 years to October 2022 (well before any new runway). It has been delayed for 3 years. Many people whose sleep is disturbed by night flights had been hoping for real prospects of the number of night flights being reduced. However, the consultation (that ends on 28th February) merely suggests keeping the numbers of flights between 23:30 and 06:00 the same at Heathrow and Gatwick, but increasing the number at Stansted. [“Night” is defined as 2300-0700 local time]. At Heathrow the number would remain at 2,550 in the winter and 3,250 in the summer (seasons based on dates the clocks change to/from summer time). That is an annual total of 5,800 which averages as 16 per night through the year. The figure at Gatwick is 3,250 in the winter and 11,200 in the summer, making an annual total of 14,450 which averages as 40 per night through the year. However, the DfT proposes reducing the total noise quota (points based on the noise of planes at night) at Heathrow Airport by at least 43% in the winter and 50% in the summer, ie. a reduction of at least 1,740 in the winter to 2,340 (from 4080) and 2,560 in the summer to 2,540 (from 5100). The cut in quota count at Gatwick would be 17% in winter and 21% in summer., ie. a reduction of at least 345 in the winter to 1655 (from 2000) and 1,330 in the summer to 4870 (from 6200).

Click here to view full story…

CAGNE listens to residents of West Sussex and Surrey and joins the call for a night ban at Gatwick

The long awaited Department for Transport (DfT) night flight consultation was finally released on 12th January. It is intended the new regime will last for 5 years, and there will be no cut in the number of night flights in this time. There will be minimal, and theoretical, cuts in the quota count (a scoring system based on how noisy planes are). Commenting on the consultation, Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE said the deadline for comment of 28th February leaves too little time for residents to respond. The consultation continues to ignore the impact night flights have on people’s health. The government should, instead of just looking at economic benefits (largely to airlines) consider the health implications of high levels of noise at night, not allowing enough quiet hours for healthy sleep. Ideally CAGNE, along with other groups, would like to see the consultation halted, and revised to contain measures to genuinely reduce the burden of night flight noise. Instead, the consultation proposes allowing many more flights in the night period, in winter, at Gatwick. Gatwick already has the most night flights. In summer 2016, Heathrow had 2,949 (3,250 allowed), Gatwick had 11,303 (11,200 allowed) and Stansted 7,370 (7,000 allowed). This number of night flights is “simply unacceptable to residents around Gatwick.” They should be phased out, not increased.

Click here to view full story…

Government’s plans on Heathrow night flights have been slammed by campaigners in Berkshire

Campaigners against Heathrow noise, in Berkshire, have sharply criticised the proposals by the DfT (published on 12th January) to make no effective cuts in the airport’s night noise. Local group RAAN (Residents Against Aircraft Noise) say members of the public will be extremely disappointed with the plans. Murray Barter, chairman of RAAN said: “If the government are serious on ending night flights, this is the first test of their sincerity in doing so. The elephants in the room are the many ‘unscheduled’ night departures that overrun past their scheduled departures which are allowed to continue seemingly unabated and unrestricted throughout the night. … the ‘night’ period is curtailed to six and a half hours, which is against the World Health Organisation guidelines of eight hours. … Nothing within this consultation or regarding Heathrow expansion will alter this for the better.” A carefully worded statement by the minister, Lord Ahmad, attempts to conceal the fact that the plans will do almost nothing to reduce the noise. There are no proposals for anything other than “business as usual”. There are no improvements planned for future years – other than changes that might, or might not, happen with a new runway.

Click here to view full story…

Stop Stansted Expansion says DfT plans on night flights do not go nearly far enough

Following the publication of the DfT’s night flight regulation consultation, SSE is urging urging local district, parish and town councils and individual local residents to respond, to try to get the noise impacts of Stansted night-time flights reduced. Stansted currently has permission for 12,000 night flights a year, more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow. The 12,000 annual limit applies only to the 6½ hours from 11.30pm to 6.00am whereas the normal definition of ‘night’ is the 8 hours from 11.00pm to 7.00am. Moreover, a large number of Stansted’s night flights are large, noisy cargo aircraft, many of which are very old. Unsurprisingly, these give rise to a disproportionately high level of noise complaints. SSE welcomes the DfT intention to remove the current exemption for less noisy aircraft and adjust the movements limit accordingly – but the DfT proposes to maintain the present night limit on Stansted aircraft movements. The number of exempt aircraft has been increasing, and they need to be included in totals. SSE wants an unequivocal Government commitment to phase out all night flights at Stansted by 2030, except in the case of genuine emergencies. SSE also wants the annual flight limit to apply, not just from 11.30pm to 6.00am, but from 11.00pm to 7.00am, so that ‘night’ truly means ‘night’.

Click here to view full story…

 

 

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Court rules that legal challenge by 4 councils cannot be heard until final Heathrow NPS published

Four councils that a negatively affected by Heathrow, plus Greenpeace and a local resident, applied for a legal challenge against the DfT because of its plans for a Heathrow 3rd runway. The case has now been struck out, at the High Court, by Mr Justice Cranston, on the grounds that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the claim, because of the provision in the Planning Act 2008 which said that proceedings may only be brought in a six-week period that followed once the NPS was adopted, or if later, published.  The claim is “precluded” until the NPS is published, and that might be the end of 2017 or early 2018. The court can then consider the challenge. The legal claim is because there was a failure by government to consult residents before going back on promises made repeatedly that a 3rd runway would not be built. John Sauven (Greenpeace) said: ‘Today’s ruling was about the timing of our legal challenge, not its merit. It doesn’t change the fact that ministers have no solution to the huge air and noise pollution problems caused by a third runway.”  Ravi Govindia (Wandsworth) said “The country is now going to waste more time developing a scheme that will never pass a simple legal test on air quality. Nothing is going to change between now and 2018 to make this scheme any less polluting.”
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Heathrow airport expansion: Campaigners fail in High Court runway battle

By FIONA SIMPSON (Evening Standard)
30.1.2017

An attempt by campaigners to bring a High Court challenge against a third runway at Heathrow Airport has failed.

The decision to expand the airport – as opposed to building the extension at Gatwick – was backed by the Government in October.

The £16 billion plan immediately sparked protests and legal challenges.

A coalition of local councils, including Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead, together with Greenpeace UK and a Hillingdon resident, claimed the decision was unlawful.

The group alleged there was a failure to consult residents before going back on from promises that it would never be built.

They also claimed that the Government failed to recognise the project’s unlawful air quality impacts.

But lawyers for the Transport Secretary argued that the judicial review could not proceed – saying it should not be heard until after the consultation on the National Policy Statement (NPS) on aviation is published either later this year or early next year.

On Monday in London, Mr Justice Cranston struck out the case on the basis that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the claim.

James Maurici QC told the judge that there was a “preliminary and insuperable obstacle” to the claim proceeding.

The court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter because of the provision in the Planning Act 2008 which said that proceedings may only be brought in a six-week period that followed once the NPS was adopted, or if later, published.

He said: “That is not expected to happen until late 2017 at the earliest. Before that time this claim is precluded. This is a complete answer to the claim at this time.”

The coalition said that the 2008 Act has no such time limitations and that, in any event, the decision was made before the Planning Act process started.

The judge said that his decision followed from the language of the relevant section of the Act, the legislative purpose and the overall statutory context and history.

“Once the Secretary of State adopts and publishes an NPS the court will have jurisdiction to entertain the challenges the claimants advance. For the present this claim must be struck out.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/heathrow-airport-expansion-campaigners-fail-to-bring-high-court-challenge-against-third-runway-plans-a3453446.html

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Following the ruling, Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “The Government has taken a colossal gamble by delaying this legal action for at least a year.

“The country is now going to waste more time developing a scheme that will never pass a simple legal test on air quality.

“Nothing is going to change between now and 2018 to make this scheme any less polluting so they should face this challenge now or abandon the third runway.”

Greenpeace UK executive director, John Sauven, said: ‘Today’s ruling was about the timing of our legal challenge, not its merit. It doesn’t change the fact that ministers have no solution to the huge air and noise pollution problems caused by a third runway. By forging ahead with a flawed consultation ministers are just delaying an inevitable legal challenge, wasting more time, energy, and public money in the process.

‘Expanding Heathrow will heap more misery on thousands of Londoners already breathing illegal levels of air pollution and make it impossible for the government to comply with air quality laws. The government should ditch this project as they have promised to do many times in the past.’

http://news.sky.com/story/high-court-grounds-heathrow-third-runway-challenge-10748838

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Leader of Windsor & Maidenhead council, Simon Dudley said of the decision: “We are disappointed for our residents but respect the decision of the courts. “We will now participate in the upcoming public consultation process and would encourage all our residents to do likewise.”  (Twitter)


See earlier:

In the 4 councils’ legal challenge, lawyers say Government plan for Heathrow runway is ‘unlawful’ because people believed repeated promises

Four Conservative councils affected by Heathrow (with Greenpeace, and a local resident) are bringing a legal challenge against the government, because of the plans for a third runway. They say the plan is “unlawful” because locals bought houses and sent children to schools due to repeated Tory promises it would not happen. The councils argue that their residents had a “legitimate” expectation” the project would not be approved, due to assurances received. They have identified 19 “broken promises” made by David Cameron, Theresa May and other political figures saying the 3rd runway would be scrapped. One is by Theresa May in 2009, telling her constituents she will fight the 3rd runway. The lawyers, Harrison Grant, say such promises are not in law to be treated as mere “empty gestures” but legally significant promises. People had, reasonably enough, believed them. There was a hearing at the High Court on 19th and 20th January, and a ruling may be given this coming week. This will decide whether the councils can bring forward their judicial review claims. The DfT has tried to get the case thrown out or delayed till after there is a parliamentary vote on the National Policy Statement on Heathrow – probably around the end of this year.

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Four councils + Greenpeace have served legal papers on Government over Heathrow runway decision

Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, together with Greenpeace and a resident of Hillingdon, have today served legal papers on the government for unlawfully supporting the expansion of Heathrow. In a legal submission to the High Court, the ‘coalition’ is seeking a Judicial Review of the government’s decision to support the expansion of the airport – something that which the Government previously promised would never happen. Harrison Grant Solicitors, on behalf of the coalition have filed a formal request for a judicial review. If successful, it is hoped the case will be heard in the High Court early next year. Together, the claimants argue that the Government has failed to recognise the project’s unlawful air quality impacts and that the consultation held to make the decision was fundamentally flawed. Therefore, the expansion of the airport cannot go ahead. In addition, the legal challenge seeks to hold Government to the promise that a third runway would never be built. If the request is successful, and the coalition wins the judicial review, the decision to proceed with the runway would be overturned. Ray Puddifoot said “There are two grounds of challenge at this stage. In addition to our claim that there has been a significant breach of established air quality laws, we have also claimed that the Government has acted contrary to our legitimate expectation that it would honour its repeated promises not to expand Heathrow.”

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Brexit and Trump mean ‘dangerous new phase’ for Airbus in the UK – future unclear?

Airbus has warned of a “dangerous new phase” as it faces the twin threat of Brexit and the policies of the Trump administration. Airbus’s chief operating officer and president of commercial aircraft,Tom Williams,  told MPs on the Treasury select committee that it would be “pretty scary” if Airbus were no longer able to operate a successful UK business with the ability to seamlessly move goods and people around the EU.  Airbus employs about 15,000 people in the UK and makes wings at its factory in Broughton, north Wales. It would be likely that Airbus’s main rival, Boeing based north of Seattle, would want to take advantage of the situation.  Trump’s policies of putting America first would not hesitate to help Boeing, to the disadvantage of Airbus. With Brexit looming, the British part of Airbus may be affected – and this may in due course influence or put at risk decisions to invest in the UK over the longer term.  In the next few years, Airbus might be looking at its longer term product policy, and next investments, and might be unwilling to commit to the UK.  MPs also heard that multinational car manufacturers were already putting off investment plans in the UK while there is so much Brexit uncertainty.

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Brexit and Trump mean ‘dangerous new phase’ for Airbus, says boss

Aircraft maker says it is ‘pretty scary’ if it cannot move products freely, adding that US rivals will take advantage

By  (Guardian)

Tom Williams, chief operating officer and president of commercial aircraft at the European company, told MPs on the Treasury select committee that it would be “pretty scary” if Airbus were no longer able to operate a successful UK business with the ability to seamlessly move goods and people around the European Union.

Airbus employs about 15,000 people in the UK and makes wings at its factory in Broughton, north Wales.

“It would be a pretty scary model if we had Airbus and we didn’t have a successful business in the UK,” Williams said. “And I’m sure there’d be many people in Seattle and in Washington that would be more than delighted to see this scenario played out because they will take every opportunity to try and undermine the success of Airbus.

“I take the view that whatever is being decided in Washington will also be done very much with what is good for Seattle. So we enter into a dangerous phase.”

As well as the UK, Airbus has major manufacturing plants in France, Germany and Spain. Williams said that while the British business was so far unaffected by Brexit, decisions to invest in the UK over the longer term were at risk.

“At the moment we’re continuing to invest and we’re still highly committed to the UK. But clearly if we see a [change to the] macroeconomic climate or a blockage to the key operational points, it won’t change our decisions day by day, but it could in the longer term,” he said.

“So when we come towards the end of this decade when there are perhaps bigger decisions about longer term product policy, and next investments, then it could become a deciding factor.”

MPs also heard that multinational car manufacturers were already putting off investment plans in the UK while uncertainty reigns about what sort of trade deal the government might strike with the EU, and how long negotiations might take.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “I believe that companies are at least sitting on their hands … until there is a bit more clarity. I sense that the amount invested over the last 12 months will not be as high as the preceding one, two, three years.”

He said that Nissan’s decision in October to back more investment at its Sunderland factory was no guarantee that others would do the same.

Hawes warned in November that British car manufacturing was at risk of “death by a thousand cuts” if companies invested in other countries rather than the UK after the Brexit vote.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/24/brexit-trump-airbus-boss-us

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January 2014

Airbus is an important employer in the UK. An announcement of a new order for 25 Airbus A330-300s from Air Asia in December will guarantee 1,500 direct jobs as well as thousands in the indirect supply chain. Airbus employs 6,000 people at its factory at Broughton in North Wales and 4,000 people at Filton, near Bristol.   Link 


Earlier – in July 2016

Airbus and Rolls-Royce say UK must quickly get beneficial EU trade deals

Two of Britain’s biggest manufacturers say favourable agreements have to be reached speedily to avoid jeopardising investment

Airbus and Rolls-Royce, two of the biggest manufacturers in Britain, have warned that the government needs to swiftly secure favourable terms in trade negotiations with Europe to avoid jeopardising investment in the UK.

Rolls-Royce said it has held “high-level” talks with ministers about the areas that it is keen to resolve after the Brexit vote, while the UK boss of Airbus said he did not want to deal with thousands of pages of documents and tariffs when dealing with his colleagues in mainland Europe.

Airbus, which makes the A380 superjumbo, employs 15,000 people in Britain and issued some of the gravest warnings about the consequences of a vote to leave the EU in the run-up to the referendum. Speaking at the Farnborough airshow, leading figures from the Franco-German company and other major aerospace groups said they remained committed to their existing UK operations.

Tom Williams, chief operating officer of Airbus’s commercial planes unit, said on Tuesday that nothing had changed at the company in the short term, but it would have to make “big decisions” in three years’ time about investing in Britain, where Airbus makes wings for the A380 in Broughton, north Wales.

“We haven’t pulled back on investment in the months running up to Brexit. We have no major decisions on the horizon, which gives us two-three years for the whole thing to settle down. But then there will be big decisions,” he said.

“We need a situation that is no less favourable than now. When I build a set of wings in Broughton and send them to Toulouse, I don’t need a thousand pages of documents and tariffs. That’s not just for me, but all UK industries.

“With Brexit, nothing has changed in the short term, but of course future investment does come under review. But we could see a situation where we are in a positive scenario.”

Engine maker Rolls-Royce stressed that it was keen to secure agreements on the movement of labour, environmental standards and aviation regulations. Warren East, the company’s chief executive, warned that the main potential downside of Brexit for the company was uncertainty. Three-quarters of Rolls-Royce’s business is done outside the EU. “They [circumstances] may play out in an advantageous way, but it will be some years until we know,” he said.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Boeing, Dennis Muilenburg, said Brexit would not change its approach to investing in the UK. The US aircraft manufacturer announced on Monday that it is doubling the size of its British business, creating 2,000 jobs.

“We have been here for 75 years and we have a very long-term perspective on our investment in the UK. So Brexit and some of the recent activities here doesn’t change that. We are going to maintain that long-term perspective and it doesn’t change our plans,” Muilenburg said.

Separate from Brexit, East raised the possibility of further cost reductions and job losses at the company as it undergoes restructuring. East has targeted up to £200m of annual savings by the end of 2017, but internal documents show that Rolls-Royce could earn an extra £1bn by boosting its profit margins, which would include further cost-cutting.

“I do not see any reason why we cannot achieve the sort of benchmark margin levels and that would imply that sort of number [£1bn], but it is not a fixed target. We will come out with another target when we have got something that we are sufficiently confident in that we can talk about tying a number to a period of time; like we have talked about £150m-£200m by the end of 2017. I do not want to come out with some sort of vague, hand-wavy ‘it’s a billion pounds … sometime … never’.

“One of the challenges we mentioned back in February with our full-year results is that we have to rebuild investor trust and you do not build trust by having hand-wavy arguments that nobody can really test you against.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jul/12/airbus-rolls-royce-uk-must-secure-beneficial-eu-trade-deal-quickly

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