Heathrow knows it has an insuperable problem with air pollution if it was allowed a 3rd runway. Levels of NO2 are already often illegal, in many places. Now Heathrow is considering imposing a new “H-charge” on motorists who arrive or leave the airport by car. This is intended to reduce air pollution, and get more passengers to travel by rail (already pretty crowded). The idea is for a charge of £10 – 15 for everyone, including taxis and public hire vehicles, for each trip. Not surprisingly, avid backers of the Heathrow runway like Sir Howard Davies and Lord Adonis think the charge is a great idea. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is understood to believe that some form of low emission zone around the airport will be needed. The government has made (rather hard to believe) assurances that a 3rd runway would only be allowed to operate if it can do so within air quality limits. (Which it cannot). Most of the NO2 and particulate pollution in the area is from road vehicles; a high proportion of those are Heathrow associated; a proportion comes from planes. The exact proportions are not known – yet. Heathrow likes to give the impression hardly any is from planes (not true). Heathrow airport says it will consult on the proposals for charging, and details of how it might work – but it is seen as a “last resort” to tackle its air pollution problems. It would be very, very unpopular with travellers and taxi/Uber drivers.
Plans to charge motorists £15 to enter ‘congestion cordon’ around Heathrow airport to tackle toxic air
BY NICHOLAS CECIL (Deputy Political Editor, STANDARD)
A new “H-charge” on motorists to tackle toxic air around Heathrow as part of plans for a third runway was today backed by two of Britain’s leading airport experts.
Sir Howard Davies, who chaired Britain’s Airports Commission, suggested a levy of £10 to £15 could be imposed on holidaymakers, business executives and other travellers seeking to drive polluting vehicles to the west London airport.
Lord Adonis, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, also backs a “congestion cordon” around a bigger Heathrow.
While Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is understood to believe that some form of low emission zone around the airport will be needed. He has stressed that another runway will only be allowed to operate if it can do so within air quality limits.
Currently, EU limits on nitrogen dioxide are widely breached across London including around Heathrow, largely due to road traffic levels.
In an interview with the Standard, Sir Howard, whose panel two years ago recommended a third Heathrow runway, said: “When we looked at this, congestion charging to the airport was something that people regarded as pretty extreme. But I think now, the congestion charge is hardly controversial in London any more.”
The former director of the London School of Economics added: “The idea that you should have to pay, you know, ten quid or 15 quid if you really want to drive to the airport and maybe you pay more if you are in a diesel car, I think that is a perfectly politically acceptable thing.“Indeed, I think it would be popular.”
Former Labour Transport Secretary Lord Adonis believes persuading millions more passengers to get to the airport by far better public transport links, including new Crossrail services, will be crucial.
He said: “I would support a cordon charge around Heathrow to ensure the number of vehicles going to and from the airport is reduced even after the new runway is built. The charge level should be set to ensure there is a reduction in the number of vehicles going to and from Heathrow.”
Nima Fash, 24, said it would be ‘like getting charged twice’. Bosses at the airport have committed to consulting on proposals to introduce a charge, though, a source stressed this was seen as a “last resort” to tackle any air pollution problems.
The plans at the moment would be for the levy only to apply to vehicles going to the airport and there could be exemptions in place for the greenest vehicles, taxis and local residents.
Nigel Milton, Heathrow’s director of communications, said: “We have been clear that even as the airport grows, the amount of airport-related traffic on the road will remain the same as today’s levels.
“This is something we have been able to achieve in the past – over the last twenty years, passenger numbers have nearly doubled whilst airport-related traffic has remained static.”
However, John Stewart, chairman of anti-Heathrow expansion group HACAN, questioned whether air passengers would find it “acceptable” to pay a levy to drive to the airport.
“It would be a very brave politician who introduced such a tough and potentially unpopular measure,” he said. “The very fact that it’s even being talked about shows that people realise how difficult it will be to control air pollution at a bigger Heathrow.”
A particular problem is the number of freight lorries, with Heathrow being such a big port for international trade.
To address this, airport chiefs are considering new consolidation centres around the airport, to reduce the number of deliveries to it, and investing in technology to help freight forwarders and cargo operators pool their freight loads.
To get far more passengers using public transport to and from Heathrow would need behavioural change which would be encouraged by increased and also better train, Tube and bus services.
Labour MP Gordon Marsden, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on tourism, leisure and the hospitality industry, called for more evidence about how a congestion charge would work.
He added: “Anything like that would have to be pre-dated by radical improvements in access facilities on London Underground and other public transport for travellers’ luggage given that travellers’ luggage seems to be getting bigger and bigger.”
WHAT SOME PEOPLE SAID TO THE STANDARD ABOUT IT:
Nima Fash, 24, a makeup artist from Wembley
“If it’s just me I don’t mind taking a train, but for example today my aunt was going to Nigeria – it’s not just one suitcase she has, so it’s not that easy to go on the train. What if you have a big suitcase?
“I’m all for reducing pollution. But it’s annoying because you pay to park at the airport as well if you’re staying, so to pay £15 on top is like you’re getting charged twice. I pay for my flight, pay for my parking – and then pay just to come here?”
Raj Rewani, 34, a finance analyst from Harrow
“That’s disgusting, we’re already paying for the flights. It’s absolutely ridiculous – we’re not even in London, this is outside of London.
“If that came in I’d get a cab. But if you want to pick someone up – you’ve got family coming, you want to see them at the airport, you don’t want to send them a random driver. It’s taking away our option of doing that.”
Florin Ursachi, 45, taxi driver
“If they charge £15 here it’s going to be a nightmare. You already have to pay in the short stay car park, and the price has increased.
“People aren’t going to fly from Heathrow anymore, or the drivers are going to have to increase prices. The companies and the cab offices are going to charge the customers for it.”
Marcus Sillence, 53, taxi driver
“The only people that come here are the people that are dropping off or picking up. I can’t see any other way of doing it, people will still have to do that. Whatever costs are involved for us have to be covered by the customers.
“I can’t see it changing much, passengers will just have to pay more. You have to pay at Luton and Stanstead, so they’re only following what the others are doing.”
Mohammed Habbal, 40, Uber driver
“My car is a hybrid, below 40 miles an hour it is electric. I don’t agree with this idea, it’s going to cost too much for drivers.
“Driving to Heathrow from London is not good for me anyway because often there is no one to take back, so with the charge it will not be worth it. It will be like working for free.”
Heathrow expansion plans, and ability to reduce road vehicle trips, threatened by Crossrail costs row
Date added: May 22, 2017
Simon Calder, writing in the Independent, says plans to build a 3rd Heathrow runway could be jeopardised by a row between the airport’s owners and Transport for London (TfL). Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4 are expected to be served by the new Crossrail east-west line, which is due to open in May 2018. But Heathrow is demanding very high fees from rail users to pay back the estimated £1 billion cost of the privately funded Heathrow Express spur from the Great Western line – into the airport. That opened in 1998. The Office of Rail and Road said that Heathrow could not recoup the historical costs of building this link. Heathrow challenged this decision, and a legal judgment is expected shortly. If the ruling is in favour of Heathrow, TfL may choose not to serve the airport at all — which would throw into doubt predictions of the proportion of passengers using public transport if a 3rd runway was built. The NPS for the runway requires a higher proportion of passengers and staff to use public transport in future, than now. One of Crossrail’s selling points has been easy access to Heathrow from east London and the City, down to 34 minutes from Liverpool Street to Heathrow. “Without straightforward, low-cost rail links, more airline passengers may opt to go by road to Heathrow — adding to pollution, congestion and noise.”
DfT data show Hounslow, Hillingdon & Slough (all near Heathrow) have the most heavily used roads in UK
Date added: May 12, 2017
There are more than twice as many vehicles on the roads of two west London boroughs than anywhere else in the UK. The DfT figures show Hounslow to have considerably more road traffic even that the second busiest borough, Hillingdon. Both are close to Heathrow, and much of the traffic is associated with the airport. In 2016, 8,339 vehicles passed an average point in the Hounslow road network every day, a marginal increase from 8,240 the previous year. This is more than twice as many than the national average, where a typical stretch of road would see 3,587 vehicles a day. Hillingdon had 7,889 vehicles using the average stretch of its road network daily. The figures were also very high in other boroughs in west London, such as Ealing, Brent and Harrow. Another area near Heathrow, Slough, had 7,576 vehicles per hour. Road use is at the highest level it has ever been across the country due to steady growth in car traffic. Heathrow hopes to increase its number of passengers, with a 3rd runway, by about 50% and to double the volume of air freight. It claims that it will try to keep the number of road vehicles to no higher than current levels, though it has no effective means to ensure this. The DfT data shows just how bad the current problem is, even with a 2 runway Heathrow.
Inadequate draft DEFRA air quality plan remains silent on Heathrow 3rd runway impact on NO2
Date added: May 8, 2017
Defra’s new, very weak (due probably to trying not to upset owners of diesel cars in the run-up to the election) air quality plan is not likely to achieve air within legal NO2 limits in parts of London before 2030. A 3rd Heathrow runway would increase levels of NO2 in an area that has remained persistently in breach of legal limits. However, the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) point out that the draft plan does not mention the airport, with emissions associated with a 3rd runway apparently not even modelled. AEF Deputy Director Cait Hewitt said, while we are waiting to see what legal action is taken on UK air quality: “In the meantime ministers are hoping to lock in parliamentary support for Heathrow expansion by the end of the year, despite new forecasts indicating that London may still be non-compliant with air pollution limits by 2030, and despite knowing that a third runway, due to open mid-2020s, would make the problem worse. The process for approving Heathrow expansion should be halted immediately, and reconsulted on only once an effective and legally compliant air quality plan is in place, so that the impact of a third runway can be properly assessed.” Forecasts from both the Airports Commission and the DfT show that expansion would act to further increase NO2 due to extra emissions from aircraft as well as associated passenger and freight traffic on the roads.
Government response to EAC on Heathrow air pollution are vague and entirely unsatisfactory
Date added: May 8, 2017
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) criticised the UK Government for its failure to deal adequately with air pollution from a 3rd Heathrow runway. Before its dissolution, for the general election on 8th June 2017, the EAC published the response by the government (dated 21st April) to questions put to it by the committee in February. The responses on air pollution are not satisfactory. Asked by the EAC to carry out work to reduce the significant health impacts identified, the government just says it is updating “its evidence base on airport capacity as appropriate to ensure that any final NPS is based on the most up to date information” … and that “The Government is determined to meet its air quality obligations and to do so in the shortest time possible.” …”The draft NPS stipulates that final development consent will only be granted if the Secretary of State is satisfied that, with mitigation, the scheme would be compliant with legal air quality requirements.” ie. totally vague, saying almost nothing specific. The EAC said Government must publish a comprehensive assessment of the infrastructure requirements of a 3rd runway and consult on it before publishing a final NPS. The Government just said “necessary changes to the transport system will rightly be considered as part of the statutory planning process.” And so on.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has issued a warning to residents across the region not to be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s smoke-and-mirror exhibition and biased consultation survey on its further expansion plans. Both appear designed to trick people into thinking that further Stansted expansion in passenger number will be painless and sustainable. They make these claims, even before the environmental impacts have been assessed. The displays are deliberately misleading, and SSE says people should be very sceptical. Brian Ross, SSE’s deputy chairman, said the displays are all about spinning the positives and saying nothing about the negatives.” People attending the exhibitions need to ask searching questions, like explanations about the proposed increase in flight lights compared to today. And passenger movements compared to the position today. This, say SSE, reveals a very different picture from the one being put forward by Stansted’s bosses who have been making the false claim that the extra passenger numbers will only lead to “approximately two extra flights an hour”. In reality the proposal would mean an extra 2,000 flights a week compared to today’s levels – 285 per day. That means an increase from on average of a plane every 2¼ minutes, to a plane every 85 seconds. Stansted current has permission for 35 million passengers per year, while it currently has about 25 million. But the airport says it ‘urgently’ needs the cap to be raised to 44.5 million.
DON’T BE HOODWINKED BY STANSTED SPIN, WARN SSE
6.7.2017 (By Stop Stansted Expansion – SSE)
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has issued a warning to residents across the region not to be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s smoke-and-mirror exhibition and biased consultation survey on further expansion plans.
Both the exhibition which opened today (6 July) and related survey appear designed to trick people into thinking that further expansion at the airport will be painless and sustainable -before the environmental impacts have even been assessed.
“The portrayal of the potential impacts that would arise from further expansion at Stansted is deliberately misleading and the public should be very, very sceptical about the claims being made to try to push through its proposals,” commented Brian Ross, SSE’s deputy chairman, after visiting the exhibition at its first outing.
“The airport’s so-called roadshow has all the hallmarks of a sales pitch for time-share apartments. It’s all about spinning the positives and saying nothing about the negatives,” Brian Ross continued.
The campaign group is encouraging those visiting the airport’s travelling exhibition to ask questions and insist on explanations about the proposed increase in flight and passenger movements compared to the position today. This, say SSE, reveals a very different picture from the one being put forward by Stansted’s bosses who have been making the false claim that the extra passenger numbers will only lead to “approximately two extra flights an hour”. In reality the proposal would mean an extra 2,000 flights a week compared to today’s levels.
The airport is currently handling 25 million passengers a year and has not yet started to use the extra 10 million increase to 35 million, granted after a five month public inquiry held in 2007. Despite this, Manchester Airports Group which owns Stansted say that that its growth predictions mean that the present 35 million cap ‘urgently’ needs to be raised to a massive 44.5 million.
Compared with the current throughput, the expansion plans would mean 20 million more passengers per year and an extra 104,000 flights. This translates into an aircraft overflying during daytime hours from the current average of a plane every 2¼ minutes, to a plane every 85 seconds. Noise, air quality and especially road and rail transport impacts would all be significantly worsened in contrast to the airport’s claim that there will be ‘no significant adverse environmental effects.’
Those contemplating the use of the airport’s questionnaire as a means of providing comment on concerns about impacts, meanwhile, should also be aware that the survey is deliberately skewed to elicit results which are favourable towards the airport’s plans.
Analysis of the questionnaire reveals that it is appallingly biased. It consists almost entirely of claims for the benefits of Stansted expansion, and a wish list of further potential benefits with no negatives included. It provides no opportunity to express any opinion about the pluses and minuses of expansion, such as likely damage to quality of life and the environment, except in the ‘Anything else we should consider?’ question, which does not encourage criticism, in particular because it says ‘as part of our proposals’.
SSE is recommending that those living in the region who wish to make representations on the expansion plans should email or write direct to Uttlesford District Council Planning Department or use their online planning portal (quoting reference UTT/17/1640/SO) to give their views first-hand, rather than be manipulated into answering a set of questions that are contrived to give an overly positive answer that can be used against the community and support the latest round of calls for growth.
NOTES TO EDITORS
More information on Stansted Airport’s formal submission to Uttlesford District Council can be found at:
Stop Stansted Expansion brands airport expansion plans as premature and opportunistic
June 21, 2017
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has condemned Stansted Airport for insulting the intelligence of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and the community at large by claiming that its latest expansion proposals will have “no significant adverse environmental effects”. SSE’s Chairman Peter Sanders has further stressed the need for the council not to be hoodwinked by the airport’s spurious claim and to ensure a comprehensive, honest and thorough assessment of all the environmental impacts that would result from major expansion. The statement comes following the airport’s formal notification of its intention to submit a planning application later this year to seek permission to grow to an annual throughput of 44.5 million passengers and 285,000 flights. This compares to last year’s throughput of 24 million passengers and 180,000 flights. If approved, this would mean an extra 20 million passengers and an extra 104,000 flights every year blighting the lives of thousands across the region. Stansted hasn’t even started to make use of its 2008 permission to grow from 25mppa to 35mppa. Even by its own projections, the airport doesn’t expect to reach 35mppa until 2024 although the credibility of its forecasts is questionable given its wildly inaccurate record on this front.
The Solicitor General, Robert Buckland, has said the law on drones should be reviewed, after the runway at Gatwick was closed and flights delayed and diverted, due to a drone. The runway had to be closed twice, once for 9 minutes and then for 5 minutes. Pilots have warned there could be a “disaster” unless there is more effective regulation of drones. The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) wants compulsory registration of drone users, so police can trace people flying them irresponsibly. The current legislation is old, and does not properly take into account the current drone issue. As well as airports and planes, drones are causing problem such as getting drugs etc into prisons. They are cheap to buy, and fun to fly, but many drone owners do not know or understand the regulations, and others do not care. A drone collision with a helicopter rotor would be more dangerous than with a plane, and could be catastrophic. It would be useful if all drones had to transmit data, so that police could locate the operator. The current rules say drones should not be flown higher than 400 feet but the data indicates the highest near miss so far was one at 12,500 feet, near Heathrow in February 2016. Drones should not get closer than 50 metres to anyone or anything.
Drones law must be reviewed, vows Solicitor General, after Gatwick runway closed over safety fears
By Danny Boyle
3 JULY 2017
The law on drones should be reviewed, the Solicitor General has said, after the runway at Gatwick Airport was closed over safety fears.
Flights were disrupted for parts of Sunday evening after a drone flew too close to the West Sussex airport.
The runway had to be closed twice, once for nine minutes and later again for five minutes.
Four EasyJet flights were diverted and one British Airways service was sent to Bournemouth Airport following the closure, with others left circling Gatwick.
Pilots have warned of a “disaster” unless drones are subjected to tougher regulation after the incident on Sunday evening.
The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) is calling for compulsory registration of drone users to allow police to track down people flying them irresponsibly.
The warning came as Robert Buckland, the Solicitor General, called for a review of the law.
“The legislation relating to aviation is quite old”, he told BBC Radio 4’s The Westminster Hour on Sunday night.
“There’s a lot of legislation about intentional attacks on aircraft. I’d hesitate to say that there’s a loophole, but certainly the development of drones is a relatively recent phenomenon.
“It’s causing problems not only at airports but also in our prisons, and it’s clear to me that we need to look very carefully at whether the law is up to spend and at whether we can improve it in order to make sure that where offences occur which cause risk to life and limb, massive disruption and criminal damage, that the law is fit for the purpose of prosecuting the perpetrators of this type of crime.”
Steve Landells, the BALPA union’s flight safety specialist, said: “Yet another incident at Gatwick involving drones shows that the threat of drones being flown near manned-aircraft must be addressed before we see a disaster.
“Drones can be great fun, and have huge commercial potential, but with a significant increase in near-misses in recent years it seems not everyone who is flying them either know or care about the rules that are in place for good reason.
“We believe a collision, particularly with a helicopter, has the potential be catastrophic.”
He added that as the number of drones being sold takes off, new technology should be looked at to address safety concerns.
“These should include, amongst other things, geofencing as standard and a system whereby the drone transmits enough data for the police to locate the operator when it is flown in a dangerous manner,” he said.
A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: “Due to reports of a drone observation in the vicinity of the airfield, runway operations at Gatwick were suspended between 18.10 and 18.19, and again from 18.36 to 18.41, resulting in a small number of go-arounds and diverts.”
It is not the first time a drone is suspected of infringing on airspace near landing strips. Last month, an airline pilot was forced to take evasive action after one came within 20 metres of his plane as he prepared to land in Edinburgh.
The Loganair flight had been descending at about 4,000ft at the time, and despite the safe landing police warned there could have been “far more serious consequences”.
Pilots warn of ‘air disaster’ after Gatwick drone incident
(By Buying Business Travel)
Pilots are calling on the government to introduce better regulation around drones after an incident at Gatwick forced five flights to be diverted.
A drone flying close to aircraft at the London airport led to the runway being closed for two periods of nine and five minutes on Sunday.
Easyjet diverted four of its flights and British Airways had one go to Bournemouth. Other flights had to fly holding patterns as a precaution.
The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) wants better education for users, compulsory registration during which the rules are made clear and more high profile prosecutions for offenders.
“Yet another incident at Gatwick involving drones shows that the threat of drones being flown near manned-aircraft must be addressed before we see a disaster,” said BALPA Flight Safety Specialist, Steve Landells.
“Drones can be great fun, and have huge commercial potential, but with a significant increase in near-misses in recent years it seems not everyone who is flying them either know or care about the rules that are in place for good reason.
“While we take no issue with people who fly their drones in a safe and sensible manner, some people who fly them near airports or densely populated areas are behaving dangerously.”
He added a collision, particularly with a helicopter, has the potential to be catastrophic, so government should look at solutions such as geofencing or putting measures in place for police to identify drones.
The British Airline Pilots’ Association’s flight safety specialist, Steve Landells, said the threat of drones flown near aircraft “must be addressed before we see a disaster”.
“We believe a collision, particularly with a helicopter, has the potential to be catastrophic,” he said.
The union has called for compulsory registration of drone users and said new technology should be considered, including a system where the drone transmits enough data for the police to track down the operator.
The Civil Aviation Authority said there were serious consequences for people who broke the rules when flying drones.
“Drone users have to understand that when taking to the skies they are potentially flying close to one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world.
“[It is] a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders and light aircraft,” a spokesman said.
“It is totally unacceptable to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment.”
Analysis of the 8th June general election results, in constituencies affected by Heathrow, done by the No 3rd Runway Coalition, found that over 70% of votes were cast for anti-3rd runway candidates. The analysis also confirms that 68% of votes cast for the Conservatives, and 65% for Labour, were for candidates who oppose the Heathrow runway. Plans for the runway have been thrown into serious doubt since Theresa May failed to win a majority she was expecting. The breakdown of the election results underlines just how unpopular Heathrow expansion really is – not just by a large number of Mrs May’s own Tory MPs but by the majority of voters too. Two key Cabinet ministers — Boris Johnson and Justine Greening — are fiercely opposed to expansion plans, as are most Conservative MPs in London seats. With the majorities of both Boris Johnson and Justine Greening severely slashed at this election, these new figures suggest both Cabinet Ministers could lose their seats next time if Theresa May were to press ahead with Heathrow expansion. Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park & North Kingston, is one of the most vocal campaigners against a 3rd runway. His seat was the only Conservative gain in London at this election – narrowly winning with just 45 votes. Were the Government to press ahead with Heathrow expansion, his would be another seat that the Conservatives could very likely lose.
71% OF VOTES CAST AT THE GENERAL ELECTION WERE FOR ANTI-3RD RUNWAY CANDIDATES
4.7.2017 (No 3rd Runway Coalition)
Election analysis by the No 3rd Runway Coalition found that over 70% of votes were cast for anti-3rd runway candidates at the General Election on 8 June (see analysis below).
The analysis also confirms that 68% of votes cast for the Conservatives, and 65% for Labour, were for candidates who oppose the expansion of the airport.
Plans for a third runway have been thrown into serious doubt after Theresa May failed to win a majority at the last election.
These new figures underline just how unpopular Heathrow expansion really is – not just by a large number of her own MPs but by the majority of voters too.
Two of her own Cabinet ministers — Boris Johnson and Justine Greening — are fiercely opposed to expansion plans, as are most Conservative MPs in London seats.
With the majorities of both Boris Johnson and Justine Greening severely slashed at this election, these new figures suggest both Cabinet Ministers could lose their seats next time if Theresa May were to press ahead with Heathrow expansion.
Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park & North Kingston, is one of the most vocal campaigners against a third runway. His seat was the only Conservative gain in London at this election – narrowly winning with just 45 votes. Were the Government to press ahead with Heathrow expansion, his would be another seat that the Conservatives could very likely lose.
John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington and Shadow Chancellor, said:“This election made it very clear that Heathrow expansion continues to be a big issue for many voters – and rightly so.
“It can be no coincidence that the Conservatives did so badly in London, with a Manifesto that pledged to build a third runway at Heathrow.
“Speaking in my role as the local MP, let’s hope the election result will not only make Heathrow plans impossible to get through parliament, but that the Government will now recognise the real strength of feeling against the building of a third runway.”
Rob Barnstone, Coordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition:“These figures provide clear evidence that supporting a 3rd runway at Heathrow is politically toxic in the large number of constituencies affected by the airport. With Theresa May needing all the support she can get at the moment, let’s hope she drops these plans and starts looking at viable alternatives which will be more popular with voters.”
The analysis compiled the positions of all election candidates in the constituencies which experience aircraft noise from Heathrow, located within the 51db noise contour, the figure at which the DfT suggest marks the onset of community annoyance from aircraft noise around Heathrow – a total of over 1,000,000 people within 22 constituencies and comprising of a total of 1,173046 votes.
The number of votes for each candidate from the Conservative and Labour parties were categorised as either in favour or opposing a 3rd runway. In a few instances, views were unknown and were categorised as such. All the votes cast for Liberal Democrat, Green and UKIP candidates were considered as anti 3rd Runway as the party positions are completely opposed to expansion.
Analysis of votes in constituencies within the 51 decibel noise contour at the 2017 General Election.
This analysis looks at the relationship between the view of candidates at the 2017 General Election and the number of votes received for those both for and against the proposed expansion of Heathrow Airport.
The analysis uses all the constituencies located within a 51 decibel noise contour, in relation to the noise of aircraft around Heathrow. The Government has suggested that using a measure meant of 51 decibels as the average aircraft noise measurement experienced over the course of 16-hour period, best indicates the level at which community annoyance in relation to aircraft noise begins. There are an estimated 1,500,000 people, including children, that fall within this noise contour – far, far greater than any other airport in the Europe and one of the highest in the world.
The Conservative Party stated it would support the development of Heathrow Airport expansion in its 2017 manifesto. In this analysis however, the position of Conservative candidates has been identified on a candidate-by-candidate basis. The analysis found that 68% of the votes cast for the Conservatives in the constituencies assessed were for candidates who opposed Heathrow expansion. Given the large share of votes cast for candidates against a third runway, the Government could run in to potential problems in the House of Commons if it forces a Parliamentary vote on Heathrow expansion (as part of an Airports National Policy Statement). Moreover, local Conservative candidates are likely to remain conscious of constituents who could vote differently at the next election, if, as constituency MPs, they were to vote to support Heathrow expansion and dissuade a large numbers of votes being cast in their favour.
The Labour Party supported increased airport capacity in the south east of England in its manifesto, but, unlike the Conservatives, did not give a direct mention of Heathrow, suggesting the Party could be prepared to back Expansion at locations such as Gatwick or Stansted in the future. In similarity to the Conservative Party however, this analysis identifies the position of candidates, and therefore the number of votes cast, on a candidate-by-candidate basis, given a large number of Labour candidates within the constituencies studied here did not support a third runway, who received 65% of all the votes cast for the party.
All votes cast for the Liberal Democrat, Green and UKIP candidates are counted as against a third runway as those parties demonstrated clear opposition to the project in their respective 2017 General Election manifestos.
Votes cast for other candidates, including independents and very small minority parties have been added, reaching 0.5% of the total votes cast. As there were a large number of candidates within this category where a fair number of whose position on Heathrow were known, half the number of votes cast (6,285), have been allocated to each tally of those for and against a third runway.
All 22 constituencies and the candidates are listed below the key statistics found in the analysis.
A breakdown of the number and percentages of the votes:
Total votes for pro 3rd Runway candidates – 236419, 20.1%
Total votes for and 3rd Runway candidates – 841983, 71.8%
Total cost for candidates whose position is unknown – 94644, 8.1%
ChATR, Chiswick Against the Third Runway, have written to all the new Cabinet ministers since the election, to express their grave concern at the Conservative manifesto promise to build a Third Runway at Heathrow – and to urge them not to support these proposals. They ask: “How can this government lend support to a development that knowingly harms public health? There is a weight of evidence against the Third Runway showing the adverse effects of noise, pollution and sleep deprivation. It seems utterly bizarre to us that this government has endorsed a scheme that benefits foreign shareholders at the expense of millions of Londoners who will suffer these very serious and well documented health consequences.” … They say: “Poorer communities nearer the airport and working families under new & existing flight paths, trapped by debt, mortgages, stamp duty costs or other reasons will suffer the most. It seems quite wrong that the inequalities and injustices of airport expansion, which have been repeatedly raised by the affected communities, are being simply brushed aside for an, as yet unproven, marginal economic gain.” And the DfT now acknowledge that the economic benefit (without including the carbon costs) of Heathrow is only about £6-7 billion over 60 years. Read the whole letter.
Letter sent to all new Cabinet members after the June 2017 election:
The People Against Heathrow Expansion
We are writing on behalf of Chiswick Against the Third Runway (ChATR) to express our grave concern at the Conservative manifesto promise to build a Third Runway at Heathrow and urge you not to support these proposals.
How can this government lend support to a development that knowingly harms public health? There is a weight of evidence against the Third Runway showing the adverse effects of noise, pollution and sleep deprivation. It seems utterly bizarre to us that this government has endorsed a scheme that benefits foreign shareholders at the expense of millions of Londoners who will suffer these very serious and well documented health consequences.
It is worrying in the extreme that these health dis-benefits have not been properly costed in assessing the pros and cons of expansion at Heathrow and worse still, that DfT
documentation and the Davies Commission actively suppressed figures that show the true extent of the harm caused by Heathrow expansion.
Poorer communities nearer the airport and working families under new & existing flight paths, trapped by debt, mortgages, stamp duty costs or other reasons will suffer the most. It seems quite wrong that the inequalities and injustices of airport expansion, which have been repeatedly raised by the affected communities, are being simply brushed aside for an, as yet unproven, marginal economic gain.
As you know, £89 billion of projected benefit has been wiped off the Davies Commission estimates by the DfT who now acknowledge that the economic benefit (without including the carbon costs) of Heathrow over Gatwick is only c. £6-7 billion over 60 years.
This has to be set against the known harm that expansion at Heathrow will cause millions of Londoners. It has been repeatedly claimed that the regions will benefit by Heathrow expansion over any other airport, but there is considerable evidence that regional airports will have to reduce their flights as Heathrow expands and companies such as Flybe & Ryanair do not wish to operate out of Heathrow because it is too expensive.
There is no doubt from the responses in our community that Labour gains in London in the recent election reflect, amongst other things, Londoners’ deep opposition to Heathrow expansion. These concerns have been voiced for many years and yet promises have been repeatedly overturned by politicians so that communities have to keep fighting to be heard over the noise of the juggernaut of Heathrow’s PR machine.
But why are the politicians listening to Heathrow and not ordinary working Londoners?
We know that this Tory government is not listening to us. Even as the DfT ‘consultation’ was underway (in which supposedly local communities were being consulted) the Tory manifesto was published stating that Heathrow expansion would go ahead. What kind of ‘consultation’ is this? Is this Government listening to communities like ours at all?
The science showing the health costs of having planes overhead, the disingenuous measurements of noise and noise contours in the DfT’s proposals, the safety issues that have been buried by the Davies Commission and DfT alike: all this is detailed in our response to the DfT Consultation (copy attached – to the Cabinet members – 9 pages).
This is a heartfelt plea and again we urge you not to support this disastrous scheme to build a runway right in the middle of the West London suburbs.
The CAA has just closed a 3 month consultation on their guidance to support their new airspace change decision-making process. The consultation is, frankly, impossible for most laypeople to understand or respond to. The AEF has submitted their expert, 8 page, comments. They say, among other things: “The consultation questions focus on the transparency and clarity of the guidance material, rather than on the substance of the proposals.” …but there are gaps left in the regulation of noise management: Some of these are: “… there is no apparent means of redress if people feel that the communication has been inadequate, or if they doubt the accuracy of the information provided.” … “the guidance …. is too complex for use by local communities, who need clear and simple guidance on how to engage with a local airport about noise, how to find out whether an airport has recently implemented airspace changes, and how to participate in the airspace change process if it is ongoing.” … “For as long as the CAA considers its primary duty to be about facilitating aviation growth, it will be unable to make impartial judgments about airspace change that balance the public interest with that of airports and airlines”. … And “The current process is seriously flawed in that it leaves no systematic opportunity for operational restrictions (such as limits on number of aircraft movements) to be imposed if the noise impact of a given airspace change becomes intolerable”.
AEF responds to CAA on airspace design consultation
June 30th 2017
By the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF)
In November 2015, following strong community opposition to a number of airspace change trials, the CAA published a report commissioned from the Helios consultancy recommending a complete overhaul of the process for airspace change. A new approach was needed, Helios said, to tackle fundamental problems in relation to the lack of transparency and poor community engagement.
Following a consultation in 2016 on its plans for implementing some of the Helios recommendations, the CAA has now drawn up a 294-page guidance document (plus environmental annex) setting out the proposed new process. Consultation on this document closes at midnight on Sunday 2nd July, and AEF has today submitted its response. Many of the proposals would implement the new policies which the Government recently consulted on.
The consultation questions focus on the transparency and clarity of the guidance material, rather than on the substance of the proposals. Nevertheless we make a number of general comments on the guidance overall and on the gaps left in the regulation of noise management:
while the guidance encourages engagement and transparency from airports, there is no apparent means of redress if people feel that the communication has been inadequate, or if they doubt the accuracy of the information provided
the guidance material may be suitable for specialist airport staff who need to understand the technical requirements of the process, but is too complex for use by local communities, who need clear and simple guidance on how to engage with a local airport about noise, how to find out whether an airport has recently implemented airspace changes, and how to participate in the airspace change process if it is ongoing
for as long as the CAA considers its primary duty to be about facilitating aviation growth, it will be unable to make impartial judgments about airspace change that balance the public interest with that of airports and airlines
the current process is seriously flawed in that it leaves no systematic opportunity for operational restrictions (such as limits on number of aircraft movements) to be imposed if the noise impact of a given airspace change becomes intolerable
We also comment on the detail of the proposed guidance, including calling for community consultation for airspace trials, more clarity over the weighting given to the results of cost benefit analysis as against community feedback, and penalties to be introduced if the ‘post implementation review’ finds that the environmental impacts of a change are significantly worse than those anticipated at the outset.
The purpose of this consultation is for the CAA to learn your views on new guidance that we have drafted to support our new airspace change decision-making process.
In March 2016 the CAA consulted on the principles of a new process that we were proposing. In October 2016 we published our report on that consultation and set out the new process we are now introducing (CAP 1465, available online).
The guidance that we have drafted defines what will happen in the new process, including each stage a sponsor of an airspace change must complete; the stakeholders they must engage at each stage and our expectations of that engagement; and how the CAA assesses the proposed change.
We are inviting your views as to whether the guidance is appropriate – including your views on whether our description of the stages of the process are comprehensible, transparent and proportionate.
…. and more …….
The AEF responses, by their Deputy Director, Cait Hewitt is 8 pages. It is long and expert. Below is one extract:
“Even if the CAA’s guidance was entirely transparent and accessible, and CAA staff fully and effectively engaged, there are a number of issues in terms of airspace and noise that will not be addressed without substantive change to the current regulatory arrangements. Of particular relevance is the fact that the CAA maintains that it has no role in regulating whether the number of aircraft using a given route should be limited for noise reasons, and that its role is only in determining where those routes should be. This situation presents a number of problems:
• The distinction between regulating for noise impacts arising from an airspace change versus regulating for noise impacts arising from increases in aviation activity starts to break down in cases where an airspace change facilitates growth. We strongly support the CAA’s proposals in its guidance for sponsors to present noise information relating to both the ‘base case’ and the ‘with option’ scenarios, and for this to address both current noise levels and projections for the future. But the base case scenario may well be associated with lower future noise projections simply because of capacity constraints than the ‘with option’ scenario.
• The guidance implies that in such situations, the CAA will tend – given its legal obligations – to prioritise the option that allows for an increase in aircraft numbers. This is consistent with the CAA’s duties beyond airspace, and reflects our impression that the CAA fundamentally sees its role as facilitating the growth of aviation. For as long as this is the case, it is impossible, in our view, for the CAA to be seen as an independent arbiter between communities and the industry when it comes to noise management, however rigorous the process is in terms of community engagement and transparency.
• Since local authorities can only impose operational restrictions in the context of planning applications, there is currently very limited opportunity for any authority or regulator to impose restrictions for noise-related reasons. We consider this a significant gap in the system. While we support the introduction of the concept of a Tier 3 airspace change and the provision of better information for communities about the noise-related impacts of such a change, the fact that neither the CAA nor any other body is able to judge these impacts to be unacceptable and to take action undermines the integrity of the current DfT-CAA approach to noise management. We are concerned, for example, that a flight path change could be approved on the basis of a particular forecast in terms of traffic movements being considered acceptable in terms of noise impact without any clear mechanism for the CAA to enforce such usage (in contrast to the way planning conditions on aircraft infrastructure operate), or to repeal approval of a flight path if, for example, usage is more intensive than originally anticipated.
Finally, it is impossible to foresee all aspects of how the process will work in practice. The guidance material, and the process more widely, should therefore be kept under review, with opportunities for all stakeholders to feed back on their experience of it.
Lord Martin Callanan has replaced, since the June 2017 general election, Lord Ahmad as Aviation Minister at the DfT. His first public speech was at an ABTA gathering of the aviation industry, where he said the usual things aviation ministers always say to the industry. Some of his comments are below, but it is to be noted that there are few details and his words hide a lot of uncertainty on Heathrow. He said: “This government will remain a pro-aviation, pro-travel government.”… “None of us like to see our airports being overtaken by competitors. But that’s what has increasingly happened in recent years. Unless we get this runway [Heathrow] built, that slide could continue. Yet when built, [the Heathrow 3rd runway] could increase passenger choice, lower fares, and give the UK room to grow our travel links for decades to come.”… More on the few domestic links Heathrow says it will provide: “So it’s good news that Heathrow Airport has promised 14 domestic routes, and that’s what we’ll make sure the airport delivers — for the good of the whole United Kingdom. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who responded to our consultation on the draft airports national policy. We’re making good progress analysing those responses and will set out the next steps as soon as possible.” ie. all a bit uncertain ….? And Gatwick is lobbying again to get a 2nd runway, seeing the problems this government faces on Heathrow. Round we go again ….
“Heathrow plan could still fail”
By Graeme Paton (The Times)
[The Times is not in favour of a 3rd Heathrow runway, and has always very obviously backed Gatwick …. AW comment]
The airport commission’s verdict on Gatwick could not have been clearer. Sir Howard Davies, its chairman, rejected its bid for a 2nd runway on the grounds that it would be more beneficial to the Spanish and Greek tourist industries than the British economy.
“About 70% of its tourist passengers are Brits going to the sun,” he said. “Sadly, relatively few residents of Marbella and Corfu come here for their summer break.”
Two years on, and 8 months after the government accepted his recommendation to expand Heathrow, Gatwick is refusing to give up. Yesterday Gatwick insisted that it was a viable option by announcing it would soon operate 60 long-haul routes. This includes newly added destinations such as Taipei, Singapore and the Chinese cities of Chongqing and Tianjin. [Most of Gatwick’s long haul routes have not succeeded. Airlines have only gone there as they cannot get into Heathrow, and move if a slot becomes available. AW comment]
The government is committed to Heathrow, with the national policy statement that paves the way for a 3rd runway proceeding through parliament. [Well, the responses to the NPS consultation are being considered by the DfT, and in due course the Transport Select Committee should hear oral evidence on the matter, before submitting their report to the DfT. Only after the DfT has considered both, and included amendments etc, can it be referred to Parliament for a vote. … AW comment]
This week, Lord Callanan, the new aviation minister,(since June 2017 election – see more below) used his maiden speech to say it was vital to prevent Britain’s biggest hub sliding behind European rivals such as Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
Doubts linger, however. Lord Adonis, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, warned the project was threatened by a hard Brexit, with private investment in big projects off the table unless Britain maintained its EU links.
Parliamentary uncertainty also poses problems. If Theresa May falls, the arch-Heathrow opponent Boris Johnson could replace her. And Jeremy Corbyn may make things difficult for the policy.
Heathrow’s attempt to build a 3rd runway has collapsed twice before over the past two decades.
With the need for extra airport capacity in southeast England now at critical levels, [well, that is according to the aviation industry and its backers – there is actually plenty of spare capacity, unless the industry is allowed to grow to an extent that breaches carbon targets …. AW comment]Gatwick believes it is in a strong position to capitalise if Heathrow fails for a third time.
Lord Callanan discusses Brexit and the future of aviation at the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Travel Matters conference.
Below is the text of his speech:
I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak this morning (28 June 2017).
If there’s one thing that ABTA seems to be good at, it’s timing.
Last year you scheduled the Travel Matters conference on what turned out to be the day before the EU referendum.
I trust that gave you plenty to talk about.
This year’s was timed even better:
right after a general election
just as we kick off formal Brexit negotiations with the rest of the EU
and just in time — I am pleased to say — for me to deliver my very first speech to industry as a DfT minister
It’s a real privilege to have been asked to serve in this role.
And at such an important time for our aviation and travel industries.
Right at the outset, I’d like to make something clear.
Amid all the change and inevitable uncertainty of the moment — and I’ll talk more about that shortly — one thing isn’t going to change.
This government will remain a pro-aviation, pro-travel government.
Before the election, the government had already set a clear direction.
One of its first actions last summer was to approve a major expansion of City Airport.
Next we negotiated the first ever UN Security Council resolution on aviation security.
To confront the terrorist threat with all the co-operation, training and technical assistance available.
A month later, we signed a deal with China to allow many more flights between our countries.
We followed that up by announcing our support for a new runway at Heathrow.
Then we ran a consultation on modernising our airspace.
Let me be clear.
Our airspace is a piece of national infrastructure as important as our roads and railways.
I know that our proposals matter to this industry and we are grateful for your support.
A week after we began that consultation, we signed a deal in India to allow more flights between our countries.
Soon we’ll be publishing a call-for-evidence for the government’s aviation strategy — our plan for how we can best support the industry in future.
So the direction is clear: we’re a government that recognises the vital importance of air travel to our country.
But we also recognise that this is a challenging time for the industry.
A year ago, the British people voted to leave the European Union.
And last week we began formal negotiations to do just that.
Now, I know that this industry wants certainty, and quickly.
So does the government.
So does the rest of the EU.
It’ll be some time yet before we can deliver that certainty.
We’ve only had 1 full day of negotiations so far.
But what I can say is that the early signs are encouraging.
Michel Barnier — the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator — said last week that an orderly UK withdrawal is his priority, along with an end to uncertainty .
And his concluding comment at the end of that first day of negotiation was that, and I quote:
For both the EU and the UK, a fair deal is possible and far better than no deal.
That is why we will work all the time with the UK, and never against the UK.
And as we proceed with those negotiations, securing the best possible access to European aviation markets is a priority.
And I believe we should be confident.
Our aviation market is the biggest in Europe.
You serve millions of EU nationals and every year carry millions of UK holidaymakers to EU destinations.
It’s in the interests of the UK, the EU, European countries, and everyone who travels between them that we seek an open, liberal arrangement for aviation.
Of course, the final outcome will have to await the conclusion of negotiations.
Long-term prospects for aviation
But whatever happens, the long-term prospects for this industry are strong.
Earlier this year, PWC published a detailed report, looking at how the global economic order will change by 2050 .
Their forecast is that:
the UK will be the fastest growing economy of the G7 over the period to 2050
we should grow faster than the EU average
and that we should do better than other big economies, such as France and Germany
Clearly, that growth is going to create new demand for international travel.
But it is also predicated on more international travel.
As PWC’s report makes clear future growth requires deeper links with the world’s other fast-growing economies, many of which are not on our doorstep.
That’s why in the years ahead the aviation and travel industries will be so vital.
That’s why we were keen to sign those deals with China and India to allow many more flights between our countries. And that’s why we took the decision to support a new runway at Heathrow.
Let me say a little more on that decision.
None of us like to see our airports being overtaken by competitors.
But that’s what has increasingly happened in recent years.
Unless we get this runway built, that slide could continue.
Yet when built, it could increase passenger choice, lower fares, and give the UK room to grow our travel links for decades to come.
Of course, one reason we opted for Heathrow is its potential for strengthening our domestic links too.
That means strong surface access links — but also new domestic flights.
The years I spent working as a member of the European Parliament gave me a real appreciation for how domestic links serve international travel.
So it’s good news that Heathrow Airport has promised 14 domestic routes, and that’s what we’ll make sure the airport delivers — for the good of the whole United Kingdom.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who responded to our consultation on the draft airports national policy.
We’re making good progress analysing those responses and will set out the next steps as soon as possible.
But finally, I’d like to touch on 2 regulatory issues that I know are of interest to the sector, both of which were addressed in the Queen’s Speech.
First, the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing Bill.
Every year, ATOL protects over 20 million people from losing money or being stranded if their tour operator goes out of business.
It’s an important scheme, and it gives consumers confidence in this industry.
But in an evolving travel marketplace, we need to ensure the scheme keeps pace.
For instance, online booking means that customers have a wider choice of providers – including those based overseas.
Yet not every European travel provider is covered by the same level of protection.
That is why the EU is now updating its regulations.
To bring much of the rest of Europe closer to the model we have operated since we updated ATOL in 2012.
At the same time, it makes sense for us to harmonise our domestic regulations with those coming in across the EU — making it easier for you to trade across Europe.
That’s what the ATOL bill will do.
It’s a sign that, even as we ready to leave the EU, we will still be working in close partnership in the years to come.
I am grateful for the support we have already received from the industry on this.
And look forward to more of that support as the bill makes progress through Parliament.
But in conclusion, I’d like to repeat what I said at the beginning.
This is a pro-aviation, pro-travel government.
The country needs this industry.
For our economy and for the global links that you provide.
So I’ll be a minister who wants to see this industry delivering.
Not just for our customers, but for the UK as a whole.
“Grow Heathrow” is a community project that has been living in Sipson since 2010, as a protest against a 3rd Heathrow runway. They have been fighting eviction for many years. Now Grow Heathrow has been given 14 days to leave, by the High Court. They had taken over a derelict site and turned it into a partly self sufficient community, growing a lot of their own food and acting as a community centre. On 29th June Judge Dight granted a possession order to the landlords of the site, Lewdown Holdings. The judge acknowledged the hardship and logistical difficulties which will be caused by the effect of the order – which requires the eviction of an entire settled community, but granted Lewdown the possession order. The judge said the owner had no need to justify his alleged failure to use the land for any purpose, though it had been derelict. Lewdown Holdings have had their planning permission for the site rejected, so nothing is planned on it. Grow Heathrow say they will appeal, and they do not intend to leave. They are being given pro bono legal help from Leigh Day. One of the activists living at Grow Heathrow said: “We are completely committed to continuing support for the local community. Airport expansion will make their homes uninhabitable.” They have a lot of support from local residents, one of whom commented: “They took over a piece of neglected land which they skilfully rejuvenated to provide a vibrant hub for like-minded people.”
Grow Heathrow runway protest community given 14 days to leave site
Court orders 20 residents to leave the community garden set up on derelict site to protest against airport expansion
By Sandra Laville (Guardian)
A community project set up to protest against a third runway at Heathrow has been given 14 days to leave its home by the high court.
Grow Heathrow took over a derelict garden centre in Sipson in 2010 and turned it into a community garden as part of action in protest against the plans for the runway. About 20 people live at the site and from their base they have become an integral part of the community activity against the building of a third runway at the airport.
But on Thursday Judge Dight granted a possession order to the landlords of the site, Lewdown Holdings. The judge acknowledged the hardship and logistical difficulties which will be caused by the effect of the order which requires the eviction of an entire settled community, but granted Lewdown the possession order.
Lawyers for Grow Heathrow argued they had the right to a home, as interpreted under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and were therefore entitled to resist a possession order. Any possession order, they said, would infringe the freedom of expression (under Article 10) and freedom of assembly, protest and association (under Article 11).
The judge found that the defendants could not rely on these rights to override Article 1, that: “Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions.” The judge stated that a “private landowner [is] entitled to put its land to any form of lawful use, including doing nothing with it”.
He said the owner had no need to justify his alleged failure to use the land for any purpose.
Alex Sharpe, one of the protesters, said Grow Heathrow would appeal against the granting of the order. He said: “What we want to do now is sit down with the landowners Lewdown and talk to them like adults. They have had their planning permission for this site rejected and we don’t have any intention of leaving this site. We hope to be able to talk to them sensibly about this.
“We don’t have any intention of leaving the Heathrow villages because we are part of the fight against the third runway, and as long as that is still a threat we will be here.”
The activists are being given pro bono legal help from Leigh Day.
The eviction of the residents could start in 14 days, but activists hope the appeal and conversations with the owners will mean this does not happen.
Ruth Raynor, one of the Grow Heathrow protesters, said after the hearing in London: “We are completely committed to continuing support for the local community. Airport expansion will make their homes uninhabitable.
“As caretakers of this land we’ve cleared 100 tonnes of rubbish, returning the land to an ecological habitat and community garden. We would like to continue a conversation with Lewdown Holdings outlining a community based educational project.”
The shadow chancellor and Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, John McDonnell, said the project had inspired the whole community and improved what was a derelict site. “We need lawful spaces of protest with the values of education and community embedded in them; Grow Heathrow would be a great loss for my constituency in this crucial campaign year against Heathrow airport’s expansion,” he said.
The activists and their hundreds of supporters cleared the site of 30 tonnes of rubbish and built a self-sufficient community when they took over the site in 2010 as part of protests against the third runway.
Jane Taylor, chair of Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents Association, supported the activists.
“Grow Heathrow came to the village to breathe new life into the community following another attempt by Heathrow airport to decimate its neighbouring villages. They took over a piece of neglected land which they skilfully rejuvenated to provide a vibrant hub for like-minded people.”
“Grow Heathrow” still hanging on in Sipson – which would be wiped out by a 3rd northern runway
January 4, 2014
A small Transition community calling itself Grow Heathrow set up in Sipson three years ago, in order to give heart to the community, so badly damaged by the runway threat and the purchase by Heathrow airport of many properties. The Grow Heathrow site is a hub for local residents and environmental activists to share knowledge and practical skills such as organic gardening, permaculture design, bicycle maintenance and wood and metal work. They endeavour to be self-reliance, producing their own food; by use of solar and wind power, as well as simpler heating technologies, they are completely “off grid”. They collect water from the greenhouse roofs to feed the plants, fruit and vegetables; they use fuel-efficient rocket stoves to heat water; they have compost toilets making “humanure.” The site has been under threat of eviction for many months. Following an Appeal Court decision on 3rd July 2013 that the landowner could take possession, nothing has happened. They could be evicted at any time. They are still trying to negotiate with the landowner to buy the land, and the legal process seeking to apply to appeal to the Supreme Court is still trundling along. Meanwhile Heathrow’s proposal for a 3rd runway in the Harmondsworth area, west of Sipson, has been short-listed by the Airports Commission.
“Grow Heathrow” squatters in Sipson pledge ‘peaceful’ resistance to bailiffs, due to evict them
August 15, 2014
The remarkable “Grow Heathrow”squatter community, occupying land near Heathrow in protest at the airport’s expansion, are expected to be evicted by bailiffs today – or soon. They say they will “peacefully” resist, but a range of non-violent means, including digging tunnels and locking themselves onto items. Grow Heathrow, which includes some 15 families, moved onto a derelict site near Sipson in 2010. The privately owned land had been a wasteland, and an area for anti-social activities. Grow Heathrow cleared rubbish from the site, and created a garden, as well as being as self sufficient in food as possible. They also ran creative and artistic workshops, and a positive and productive community. However, the land owner wants the land back, perhaps for sale to Heathrow airport (their 3rd runway plans would make most of Sipson impossible to live in). Many local people in Sipson have been delighted to have Grow Heathrow as neighbours, rather than a derelict site. The local MP, John McDonnell said he “wholeheartedly” supported the activists. “These are people who not only helped us fight off the third runway, they’ve actually occupied a site which would have been the sixth terminal for the expanded Heathrow Airport.”
Court of Appeal decision on Grow Heathrow eviction due
SQUATTERS occupying land once designated for Heathrow’s third runway will find out whether their appeal against eviction is successful next week.
Next Wednesday (July 3), campaigners from environmental action group Transition Heathrow will return to the Court of Appeal and hear whether they are allowed to remain at the Grow Heathrow community garden in Vineries Close, Sipson.The appeal was heard back in January, and the judges have since been mulling over their ruling in what could be a landmark case in land use and eviction cases.
The owner of the contested land, Imran Malik, was given a judgement of possession by Central London County Court in July 2012, nearly two years after first serving the group with an eviction notice, but Grow Heathrow were given dispensation to challenge the ruling.
The group’s legal argument is that eviction would infringe on their right to a home, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
This defence has never been used as the basis of such an appeal, and the ruling could have implications for housing law.
Previously disused wasteland, the group cleared the area and established Grow Heathrow in March 2010. It is now well regarded amongst people in Heathrow Villages, and John McDonnell appeared as a witness during the appeal in support of the young activists.
Grow Heathrow want to buy the land from Mr Malik and set up a Community Land Trust (CLT), but the offers have been rebuffed.
The momentous hearing starts at 9.30am, in court 70.
In a very interesting new study, entitled “What’s wrong with infrastructure decision making? Conclusions from six UK case studies” by the Institute for Government, some useful problems are shown up. In the case of the Heathrow runway, the study says – as with other bad infrastructure approvals – “poor investment decisions could lock the economy into inappropriate infrastructure systems for many years, with significant harmful effects on future prosperity.” … “Bad investments can result in white elephants – projects that waste public money and fail to deliver the promised economic benefits.’ The report says there is a serious problem in that government does not always identify the best investments. They say some of the reasons why government can make bad choices (eg. on Heathrow) are that there is no national strategy for infrastructure investment (no UK aviation policy); the more ambitious the forecast, the more questionable the model (seriously the case with crazy forecasts of alleged economic benefit for the runway); Ministers and senior civil servants can fail to understand project risk; Government finds it difficult to make decisions which create ‘concentrated losers’ (which is an immense problem for Heathrow with local impacts like air pollution, congestion etc, and noise impacts over hundreds of square miles); and no method to properly compensate people for the costs the runway would impose on them.
What’s wrong with infrastructure decision making?
Conclusions from six UK case studies
The UK needs to make a series of major decisions about the country’s energy supplies, rail network and airports, but weak processes are leading to the wrong projects and contested decisions, wasting both government time and taxpayer money.
This report argues that making decisions about infrastructure is one of the most important but difficult tasks for the UK government.
High-quality economic infrastructure – energy, transport, utilities and digital communication – supports successful economies. Well-chosen projects contribute to job creation and increased productivity. That is why the Government is planning £245bn of economic infrastructure projects over the next five years.
But poor investment decisions could lock the economy into inappropriate infrastructure systems for many years, with significant harmful effects on future prosperity. Bad investments can result in white elephants – projects that waste public money and fail to deliver the promised economic benefits.
The report also notes that not all infrastructure projects are equal. Looking at major decisions, from High Speed 1 to Hinkley Point C, it is clear that government does not always identify the best investments. This is a serious problem.
The report examines six large and controversial infrastructure projects: the Heathrow third runway, High Speed 1, High Speed 2, the Thames Tideway Tunnel, Hinkley Point C and the Jubilee Line Extension.
It finds there are six reasons why the UK struggles to make decisions on infrastructure:
There is no national strategy for infrastructure investment.
Government does not devote enough attention to assessing early options.
The more ambitious the forecast, the more questionable the model.
Ministers and senior civil servants can fail to understand project risk.
Government finds it difficult to make decisions which create ‘concentrated losers’.
Inadequate evaluation misses the opportunity to improve future projects.
Some sections relating to Heathrow are copied below:
3. The more ambitious the forecast, the more questionable the model. Uncertain
long-term forecasting may be used to green-light schemes which are costly and
difficult to deliver – as some have alleged was the case for the third runway at
Heathrow and Hinkley Point C. Detailed future economic analysis, particularly for
complex outcomes such as employment, investment and regeneration, is where
governments traditionally struggle. Criticisms of individual projects are often
driven by concerns about the robustness of their business cases. Despite these
concerns, successive governments have failed to communicate the inherent
difficulties of modelling large projects with long-term payoffs, and continue to put
more weight on these estimates than may be justified.
5. Government finds it difficult to make decisions which create ‘concentrated
losers’. Economic infrastructure has diffuse benefits and concentrated costs,
creating small groups of highly vocal ‘losers’ who are likely to oppose projects. The
drawn-out tales of Heathrow and HS2 indicate that a small number of influential
voices can seriously delay, or even derail, decisions. The history of our six case
study projects – particularly in the period between final analysis and the start of
construction – illustrates the problems governments have when deciding whether
to go ahead.
Heathrow runway expansion
The question of UK airport capacity has been considered many times since the 1968
Roskill Commission, yet progress has been slow and successive governments have
postponed the decision on where to give the go-ahead.9 When Theresa May’s
Conservative Government approved a third runway at Heathrow in October 2016, it
provoked a cabinet split and public criticism, on grounds of noise, environmental
impact, and the expense of the particular model chosen, which would pass
considerable costs onto airlines and passengers.
An air of uncertainty still hangs over the project; a public consultation is underway, to
be followed by a national policy statement (NPS) on aviation and a parliamentary vote.
Meanwhile, the only new runways built in recent decades have been at London City
and Manchester airports. London airports still rely on runways that have been in place
since the middle of the 20th century.10
Problems with the expansion of airport capacity in the south-east of England illustrate
the failure to create appropriate institutions and methods of serious engagement with
local communities, as well as to compensate them for the costs that large
infrastructure projects impose on them.11 The continued controversy (even after the
final report of the Airports Commission) also demonstrates the challenges of using
long-term forecasting to justify schemes that are costly and difficult to deliver in the
Case study: Heathrow third runway
The analysis that the Airports Commission undertook for Heathrow attempted to
forecast flight demand for the next 60 years. It did so using diverse datasets and a
highly complex set of models,82 using the Department for Transport’s own modelling
tools as a starting point.83
The conclusions of this modelling heavily influenced the Commission’s
recommendations. They predicted ‘a faster and more substantial increase in
passengers and destinations served at an expanded Heathrow than at Gatwick,
particularly in the long-haul market’.84 Overall, they assumed linear national and
international growth broadly in line with past trends.
However, the aviation market is notoriously difficult to predict. The economist John
Kay highlights that moving ‘from Orville Wright’s first flight in 1903 to the introduction
of the jumbo jet took barely 60 years’. The next half-century was less eventful but he
notes that ‘while the Roskill commission of the 1960s, which reviewed London airport
policy, got traffic growth projections broadly right, it did not forecast that the growth
would come from low-cost airlines offering point-to-point services’. Even the 2003 air
policy review ‘failed to appreciate how the centre of the world economy was shifting
east, and that Dubai would come to be the world’s busiest airport for international
passengers’.85 The Airports Commission’s assumption of such little disruption to
existing trends is, given recent history and the pace of technological change, risky.
* Sensitivity analysis establishes how much the value of a benefit would have to fall, or a cost would have to rise, to render a given option unattractive. It gives decision makers some measure of the uncertainty of analysts’ predictions.
The Commission’s base-case forecasts have already been shown up as inaccurate. It
predicted Gatwick would reach 40 million passengers by 2024, but the airport got to
41 million in May 2016.86 The Commission can hardly be faulted for inaccurate
predictions. All forecasts are, by their nature, doomed to inaccuracy. However, given
the divergence of demand from the Commission’s predictions in less than a year, it
looks unlikely that 60-year forecasts will stand up for long.
This uncertainty is often lost, or downplayed, in the policymaking process. In the
case of the Airports Commission, it initially set out a range of possible scenarios to
guide decision making and was even-handed about the range of possibilities.
These included a scenario entitled ‘low-cost is king’, in which growth in cheap air
travel accelerates and demand pivots from Heathrow to Gatwick.153 However, the
final report used only the starting point deemed ‘most likely’ for its analysis and
recommendations. Other scenarios disappeared.
and there is more, in this very interesting paper, at
Gatwick is again saying it wants a 2nd runway, after it has increased its annual number of passengers to over 44 million. Gatwick hopes to exploit possible indecision by government over the Heathrow 3rd runway, continuing to claim (very dubiously) that its 2nd runway would be “financeable and deliverable”. Gatwick said its number of passengers has risen, so far this year, by 7.7% compared to the same time last year. The vast majority of Gatwick travellers are on short haul leisure trips to Europe, but it hopes to get more long haul holiday travellers to the USA and the middle east or far east. It remains largely a “bucket and spade” airport. Gatwick wants to persuade government that its 2nd runway would be a useful alternative to Heathrow, which is used by most business travellers to destinations in the Far East and the Middle East. Since the June 2017 election and the loss of a proper Tory majority, the government will have increasing problems pushing through an unpopular Heathrow runway, with opponents such as Boris Johnson – and Jeremy Corbyn. Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick, says he can build long haul routes and they can see future passenger demand and “we stand ready to deliver should the government give us the go-ahead.” In reality, Gatwick is in the wrong place, and has surface access transport far below the standard that would be needed for a 2 runway airport.
Low-cost long-haul boom beefs up second runway case in spite of Heathrow, claims Gatwick chief
By Bradley Gerrard (Telegraph)
29 JUNE 2017
Gatwick is hoping the Government will give the go-ahead for a second runway in its forthcoming airport plan after ramping up long-haul traffic beyond what independent experts expected it to hit.
Chief executive Stewart Wingate said the Government was set to start consultations on a new airport strategy this year and that he believes his airport now merits expansion more than it did when its plans were scrutinised by the Airports Commission lead by Sir Howard Davies in 2015.
“What we would like to see as part of the airport strategy is an endorsement of an additional runway as well as or instead of one at Heathrow,” Mr Wingate said.
He added Sir Howard had predicted Gatwick would only have 48 long-haul connections by 2050 if it built a second runway but a rapid rise in the low-cost long-haul industry means it now has more than 60 just with its existing single runway.
Mr Wingate said major commitments from the likes of Norwegian, which has said it would base 50 Dreamliner aircraft at Gatwick if it was expanded, had also substantially changed the proposition the airport offered from just a few years ago.
“As we went through the Airports Commission the question raised that we had to answer was ‘can you support long-haul connectivity’?,” Mr Wingate said.
“We would argue that Dreamliners and the low-cost long-haul market mean we are well placed.”
Mr Wingate was speaking as the airport welcomed a record 44.1m passengers in the year to March, up 3.2m on the comparable prior period.
Revenue rose 7.7pc to £381m thanks a higher level of sales in areas from airline charges to car parking. Charges to airlines rose 2pc but this was partly offset by an increase in the level of discounts offered to help encourage greater passenger numbers.
Mr Wingate said its charges equated to an average £9 per passenger, which he claimed was up to a third of the amount of some rival airports.
Costs also rose partly because it has employed more people and pay has risen. But its outgoings rose less rapidly (7pc including depreciation and amortisation) than sales which the airport said supported its operating profits.
The airport also splashed out this year with its largest ever level of capital investment in 12 months of £272.6m – including on a new security area in the North Terminal – and is set to spend £1.6bn in the seven years from April 2014.