Why the ruling by the Supreme Court on air pollution could stop plans for a new SE runway

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Government must produce a new action plan by the end of this year for bringing air pollution within legal limits. A decision to allow another Heathrow runway could be legally challenged unless the Government’s new plans are sufficiently ambitious to reduce emissions of a 2 runway airport below the legal limit – and also leave enough headroom to accommodate the negative impact of a 3rd runway. There is only pure speculation on how it could be achieved. The court ruling also suggests that the cost-benefit analysis for adding a runway will need to be revised, as the Government has previously claimed that complying with air quality law would be too expensive. And this does not only affect Heathrow, but Gatwick too. Gatwick is keen to claim it does not have a poor air quality problem. But EU regulations require not only that poor air quality must be improved but also that good air quality should be protected.  A 2nd Gatwick runway would mean local air pollution hotspots, with a risk of breaching the legal limits. The Airports Commission has a duty to the public not to recommend a project that would significantly damage people’s health. It would also be a poor use of taxpayer’s money to make recommendations that invite a legal challenge.
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Why This Week’s Court Ruling on Air Pollution Could Stop Airport Expansion

1.5.2015  (Huffington Post)

By James Lees (AEF – Aviation Environment Federation)
Sat at the back of the Supreme Court this week, while cheers erupted with the announcement that the panel of judges had unanimously ruled in favour of Client Earth’s air pollution case, it is possible to imagine a member of the audience hurriedly typing out a message to his or her colleagues.

It reads: “we may have a problem”.

That person could be a member of the Airports Commission staff and he or she would know that the ruling could mean the end of Heathrow’s third runway scheme and possibly even Gatwick’s bid for a second runway.

The Airports Commission, tasked with making recommendations on the future of UK airport capacity could already have written its final report, recommendations finalised, and be waiting for the post-election humdrum to die down before the report would be launched into the public sphere. The Supreme Court ruling changes that.

There is now a serious challenge to any recommendation to build a new runway, particularly (but not only) at Heathrow. Around the airport, the area is in breach of legal limits for NO2 pollution today and has been for many years. Modelling released by the Government’s environment department revealed that the area around Heathrow is forecast to continue breaching legal limits up to 2030, that’s with just two runways.

The Airports Commission has concluded that expanding either Heathrow or Gatwick would have a negative impact on air pollution through increases in air traffic and cars and taxis needed to carry passengers to and from the airport. This should mean thatunder law, planning permission for Heathrow (and possibly even Gatwick) should be refused as is the case for all developments that will cause air quality limits to be breached, or make air quality worse in an area where pollution already exceeds the limits.

But until now, there has been little reason for the Commission to think that this represented a meaningful barrier to airport expansion. The UK has been in breach of air pollution laws for some time and the Government claimed that it would take time to put in place effective measures to tackle air pollution. Being compliant with legal limits by 2030 was the latest estimate.

The Government’s stance was firmly rejected this week by the Supreme Court when it ordered the Government to produce a new action plan by the end of this year for bringing air pollution within legal limits. Any decision to expand Heathrow could be legally challenged unless the Government’s new plans are sufficiently ambitious to reduce emissions below the legal limit and leave enough headroom to accommodate the negative impact of an additional runway. That is a tough ask and it is pure speculation about how it could be achieved.

The court ruling also suggests that the cost-benefit analysis for expansion will need to be revised since the Government has previously claimed that complying with air quality law would be too expensive. The cost of having to take additional mitigation measures to accommodate increased emissions from a new runway under legal limits should be added to the cost-benefit analysis of a new runway.

Does the court’s decision open the door to a Gatwick runway? Not necessarily. EU regulations require not only that poor air quality must be improved but also that good air quality should be protected. It has been estimated that if all of the local jobs predicted by the Airports Commission materialise following Gatwick expansion, there would be an additional 100,000 vehicles using roads around the airport each day. That could create an air pollution hotspot around Gatwick. The lower background air pollution means that there is a lower risk of breaching the legal limits but a risk still remains.

The Airports Commission, as an independent but taxpayer funded organisation, has a duty to the public not to recommend a project that would significantly damage people’s health. It would also be a poor use of taxpayer’s money to make recommendations that invite a legal challenge. That is why it is possible to imagine a concerned Airports Commission member of staff hurriedly typing away on his or her phone at the back of the courtroom this week.

James Lees
Research and Communications Officer

Aviation Environment Federation
2nd Floor, 40 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UD
t: +44 (0) 20 3102 1509

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/james-lees/air-pollution_b_7188314.html

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See also:

Landmark air pollution ruling by Supreme Court could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow due to high NO2 level

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.” This could have implications for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, as areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits. That is due both to air pollution from the planes in addition to the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. In their verdict, 5 judges ordered the Secretary of State at DEFRA to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”. The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth. HACAN commented: “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a 3rd runway is concerned.”

Click here to view full story…


Part of letter by Jeff Gazzard:

Gazzard letter 1.5.2015


Comment from an AirportWatch member in the Heathrow area:

The Davies Commission conclusions can’t be accepted without proper scrutiny of the detailed local air quality dispersion modelling – which probably means a proper consultation.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that the last consultation in 2007/8 had government documents (?reverse-engineered) to explain that there would be no air quality problems with predicted graphs, based on new Euro vehicle emission standards, showing pollution levels to plummet as the years pass.

The Environment Agency argued that the argument was very optimistic and out of line with the trends in actual measured values.

Nevertheless the Government decided to proceed with the expansion proposal.

In practice, the predicted values at the monitoring locations for 2010 were not achieved and the air quality modelling for the Cranford Agreement application shows rather more areas modelled to be above EU limits than was the case in 2007.


See also
30.4.2015
UK Human Rights Blog
BY DAVID HART QC

Supreme Court: no excuses, UK must comply with EU air pollution law

http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2015/04/30/supreme-court-no-excuses-uk-must-comply-with-eu-air-pollution-law/

R (ClientEarth) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food &  Rural Affairs, Supreme Court, 29 April 2015, judgment here

Bit of a history to this one, with 5 hearings so far. The short version is that in May 2013, the UK Supreme Court (here), faced with the UK’s non-compliance with EU Directive 2008/50 (nitrogen dioxide etc in air), decide  to refer various issues to the CJEU in Luxembourg.  In 2014, the CJEU said its piece, (C404-13 and my post here), and its views are now considered by the Supreme Court, hence this second SC judgment.

The UK has been in breach of Article 13 of the Air Quality Directive since 1 January 2010, by not complying with pollution limits in specified areas. ClientEarth, an environmental NGO, sought to enforce the Directive in the national courts.  Defra admitted breach of Article 13 and the lower courts said that, given that admission, it was for the EU Commission, if it wished, to take infraction proceedings.  The Supreme Court’s 2013 judgement disagreed; it granted a declaration that the UK was in breach of Article 13, and posed various questions about the meaning and enforcement of the Directive to the CJEU.

The first two questions concerned two provisions in the Directive, Article 22 (concerning the postponement of deadlines) and Article 23 which provided for the provision of air quality plans. Unfortunately, the CJEU merged the questions, and gave one answer, thus leading to, as Lord Carnwath explained, an important ambiguity in both question and answer, not elucidated in

its characteristically sparse reasoning

ClientEarth and Defra battled it out over the ambiguity, but the current Supreme Court thought that the answer was still not clear. It proceeded not to answer the question, saying that it had become academic because the final deadline (1 January 2015) imposed by Article 22 had in any event expired by the time the matter came before the Supreme Court.  More on this gripping issue in my last post, though as will be apparent I had there somewhat overstated the clarity of the CJEU’s response. The furthest that Lord Carnwath was inclined to go (though not reaching a concluded view) was that he saw considerable force in the Commission’s reasoning that Article 22 was an optional derogation, but in the event that the state did not apply for such a derogation, it was under an

essential obligation to act urgently under article 23(1), in order to remedy a real and continuing danger to public health as soon as possible

The CJEU had dispensed with an Advocate-General’s opinion in this case, and in its absence, Lord Carnwath found a good deal of assistance in the Commission’s detailed observations – a helpful hint to those engaged in construing the more Delphic of the CJEU’s pronouncements.

The point of wider interest arose under the third and fourth questions, namely the obligations under Article 13, and the Court’s duty to enforce breaches of EU environmental law. On the third question, the Supreme Court (in line with the CJEU) emphasised that Article 13 (not to exceed pollution limits) was the primary obligation, to which Articles 22 (derogation) and 23 (plans) were supplementary. About the fourth question, the CJEU had been unequivocal that this was not just a matter for the Commission, but also a matter for domestic courts. Despite that, Defra argued that the existing air quality plans should not be quashed, and in any event Defra were going to replace the existing plans with new ones. The Supreme Court thought that this indication of intent was not enough:

Further, without doubting the good faith of the Secretary of State’s intentions, we would in my view be failing in out duty if we simply accepted her assurances without any legal underpinning.

No undertakings were forthcoming from Defra, because of the restrictions imposed by “purdah”, the constitutional convention that pending an election campaign one government does not do anything to commit its successor. Interestingly, the court also thought it could take notice of the fact that

the formation of a new Government may take a little time.

Upshot: the Supreme Court made a mandatory order requiring new air quality plans complying with the precise terms required by Article 23 within a defined timetable. Article 23 requires such plans to set out measures so that the period for which the UK was in breach of its obligations should be kept “as short as possible”. EU case law (including C-68/11 Commission v. Italyhas previously shown that the scope for arguing that it was impossible to meet its obligations was very limited, and Lord Carnwath foresaw this argument surfacing in the UK’s plans. All the more reason, he thought why the plans should be produced under order of a court, with liberty to determine such issues as and when they arose (without entirely fresh proceedings).

So the order to be made is far from a simple declaration of breach by the UK. Our courts will now have to roll up their sleeves and keep Defra up to the mark.

The judgment gives some of the background to this issue. The UK is one of 17 member states in breach, though the only one against whom the Commission has launched infringement proceedings. Why? We do not know, because the Commission’s correspondence is confidential. Lord Carnwath thinks that the Supreme Court’s previous declaration may have been a trigger (as I suppose may also have been the rather provocative assertion by Defra in the domestic courts that the only enforcer should be the Commission). According to a Defra witness, the main reason is that diesel vehicles emit more NOx than the regulatory test cycle reveals, and Defra cannot do anything about that without an EU-wide measure on diesel engines.  Well, up to a point; the sorts of measures which the Directive envisages as being contained in a member state’s plan under Article 23 include traffic planning, congestion pricing, differentiated parking fees or other incentives establishing low emission zones.

Conclusion

In my post on the CJEU judgment, I mused

….it is now all to play for.  Will the Supreme Court order something with more “teeth” than the existing declaration of breach? If so, what?

Well, it has certainly done that in making a mandatory order, including a structure under which the UK’s attempts to remedy its breaches can be scrutinised by the Courts.


http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2015/04/30/supreme-court-no-excuses-uk-must-comply-with-eu-air-pollution-law/

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See also:

 

Landmark air pollution ruling by Supreme Court could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow due to high NO2 level

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”  This could have implications for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, as areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits.  That is due both to air pollution from the planes in addition to the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. In their verdict, 5 judges ordered the Secretary of State at DEFRA to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”. The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth.  HACAN commented: “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a 3rd runway is concerned.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/landmark-air-pollution-ruling-by-supreme-court-could-impact-3rd-runway-at-heathrow-due-to-high-no2-level/

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Research, in “Science” calls for ‘airspace reserves’ with reduced or restricted human activity (eg flights)

Researchers in Argentina and Wales have written a new paper, showing the increasing extent to which man-made structures, and human activities, are having an impact on creatures that fly. The scientists say growing numbers of skyscrapers, wind turbines, power lines, planes and drones threaten billions of flying birds and animals, huge numbers of which are killed in collisions. The researchers say “airspace reserves” should be created to protect wildlife, by providing airspace zones where human activity is partially or totally restricted to reduce the aerial conflict.  These could be temporary zones, for example to help protect birds on their seasonal migrations, or permanent areas, put in place over key habitats. They need to be taken account of in planning for major construction projects. The authors say: “Most of the conservation in reserves and national parks is mainly focussed on the ground or more recently on water. None of them have focussed on the airspace.” Bird strikes with planes cause a risk to humans, so drastic measures are taken to remove birds from the vicinity of airports. The impact of drones is yet to be assessed, but could become a problem.
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‘Airspace reserves’ could protect wildlife

Birds and planeThere is a growing conflict between animals and humans in the air

“Airspace reserves” should be created to protect wildlife, scientists say.

They warn that growing numbers of skyscrapers, wind turbines, power lines, planes and drones are threatening billions of flying animals.

Researchers in Argentina and Wales have called for airspace zones where human activity is partially or totally restricted to reduce the aerial conflict.

The report is published in the journal Science.

Sergio Lambertucci, from the University of Comahue and the Argentina Research Council (Conicet), said: “Most of the conservation in reserves and national parks is mainly focussed on the ground or more recently on water. None of them have focussed on the airspace.”

Human cost

The skies are becoming increasingly crowded.

Scientists estimate that millions of animals die each year from collisions with tall buildings, power lines and wind turbines.

But the aerial conflict can cause problems for humans too.

The research team, also from Swansea University in Wales, says that bird strikes with planes have killed more than 200 people globally and have damaged thousands of planes.

The impact of drones is yet to be assessed, but the researchers fear they could be a growing problem.

The scientists say that areas of pristine airspace should be created.

These could be temporary zones, for example to help protect birds on their seasonal migrations, or more permanent areas, put in place over key habitats.

The scientists add that the impact on wildlife needs to be taken into account in the planning stages of major construction projects.

Dr Lambertucci said: “If you know all the species that use that area before you build an airport or a building or a wind farm, you will probably be able to reduce a lot of the conflicts.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-32536907

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Science 1 May 2015:
Vol. 348 no. 6234 pp. 502-504
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa6743
  • PERSPECTIVE      ECOLOGY

Human-wildlife conflicts in a crowded airspace

  1. Sergio A. Lambertucci1,
  2. Emily L. C. Shepard2,
  3. Rory P. Wilson2

+Author Affiliations

  1. 1Laboratorio Ecotono, INIBIOMA (CONICET–Universidad Nacional del Comahue), Bariloche, 8400, Argentina.
  2. 2Swansea Lab for Animal Movement, Biosciences, Swansea University, UK.
  1. E-mail: slambertucci@comahue-conicet.gob.ar

Over the past century, humans have increasingly used the airspace for purposes such as transportation, energy generation, and surveillance. Conflict with wildlife may arise from buildings, turbines, power lines, and antennae that project into space and from flying objects such as aircrafts, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) (see the figure) (13). The resulting collision and disturbance risks profoundly affect species ecology and conservation (1, 4, 5). Yet, aerial interactions between humans and wildlife are often neglected when considering the ecological consequences of human activities.

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See also:

Global bird culls by airports, to deter bird strike. Hundreds of thousands gassed, shot and poisoned

The issue of bird strikes for planes is an emotive one. Some collisions do little damage to planes, but hitting a large bird can disable an engine, or worse. While birds and planes co-exist, some strikes are inevitable. Rose Bridger has been looking into this subject for years. She says shortly after the Hudson incident in 2009, New York’s 3 main airports began culling Canada geese. This escaped public attention until June 2010, when wildlife officials rounded up nearly 400 birds and gassed with CO2 in a nearby buiding. In fact, the geese that downed the plane were not locals, but migrants from northern Canada. By autumn 2013 geese were being rounded up from municipal properties within a 160 square kilometre area. After a non-fatal (for the plane) collision with a flock of geese at Schiphol in 2010, 5,000 were gassed in 2012. The area where geese are deemed a hazard to aircraft was extended to cover a 20 kilometre radius around the airport, and a further 10,000 geese were gassed between January and July 2013. In January, the New York Port Authority announced plans to eliminate the entire population of 2,200 wild mute swans. And there are many, many other examples. Airports should not be built in or near important bird habitats and migratory flightpaths.

Click here to view full story…

Belfast boy wants alternative home for geese facing cull for safety of Belfast City Airport planes

A 10-year-old boy – Jack McCormick – has appealed to Belfast’s Lord Mayor to have geese, considered to be posing a threat to low-flying aircraft, moved to another park. The Lord Mayor has promised to raise the issues in a meeting with George Best Belfast City Airport. “I am an animal lover and would hate to think of anything bad happening to the grey geese at the park,” Jack wrote: “My papa takes me to a great park in Gilnahirk …. It is big, but it has no geese or any animals. Why not move some of your geese from Victoria Park to the park at Gilnahirk? I would make sure that they were well-looked after. If you can’t move them to Gilnahirk, could you not move them to other parks around Belfast?” The authorities prick the eggs so they don’t develop. Jack said (children aren’t stupid!): “Last year I noticed that there wasn’t that many goslings but this year I’m hoping there will be an increase,” he said. “I don’t want any of them to die just because of being near an airport. To be fair, the geese were there first, and then the airport was built there.”

Click here to view full story…

Daily Mail claim of sharp rise in birdstrikes not borne out by the facts from CAA

The Daily Mail, it being the “silly season” with no news, had done an article on an alleged increase in the number air birdstrikes by aircraft between 2009 and 2012. However, the data published by the CAA up to March 2013 do not bear out the Mail’s claims of a doubling in three years. The CAA produces data on reported birdstrikes, and on confirmed strikes – the latter being a much lower number than the former. For instance, in 2012 there were 2215 reported birdstrikes, and 1404 confirmed strikes. Some of the increase in reporting may be due to changed reporting requirements of incidents to the CAA. The species hit most often in recent years have been various species of gulls (together the largest group), then swallows, skylarks, swifts and woodpigeons, then pigeons and kestrels. The number of birdstrikes rose significantly after 2008, when the CAA introduced a new system through which all strikes can easily be reported online. It has been mandatory for all strikes to be reported since 2004.

Click here to view full story…

Airports using a biotech high alkaloid endophytic form of grass to deter insects and birds

A form of grass – with the trade name Avanex – has been developed by a firm in New Zealand, Grasslanz Technology and commercialised by PGG Wrightson Turf. It has been designed to be endophytic, which means it incorporates a form of fungus that produces a high amount of alkaloids. This makes the grass distasteful to insects, and so the areas sown with this grass have no or few insects, and consequently few birds. The grass can be toxic to animals and comes with health warnings about livestock eating it. However, airports are enthusiastic to use the grass in order to deter birds and hence the risk of bird strike. The grass has so far been trialled in New Zealand airports since 2010 and found to cut bird numbers by large amounts, making airports very sterile areas, which is what the airport operators want. However, the blurb says “The grass could also be used at sports stadiums, golf courses and even domestic lawns,” so the company wants to use its biodiversity-destroying product even more widely.

Click here to view full story…

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BA’s CEO, Willie Walsh, says post-election indecision will block building of any new south east runway

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, the parent company of British Airways, has again said that there will not be a new south east runway. He has often said this before, but this time he sees the likelihood of political indecision after the election as an additional issue. Willie Walsh thinks  that to build a runway, there would need to be “political consensus across all the parties – not just coalition partners.”  He also warned that the cost of each of the 3 runway proposals would all be prohibitive.  The expense would lead to higher landing costs, and airlines would not find that acceptable.  Willie Walsh reiterated his view that there was “no business case” for a 2nd Gatwick runway,  with not enough demand from airlines for it.   He has said in the past that Gatwick does not have the same international attraction as Heathrow.  He commented that Heathrow was already “the most expensive airport around.”  The runway decision would be a political one, and with a coalition government looking to be inevitable, there would be huge political difficulties in pushing through an unpopular runway, with dubious benefits even to the airlines.
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Post-election indecision will halt airport expansion in south-east, says BA boss

Willie Walsh also warns cost of three competing runway schemes at Heathrow and Gatwick are a political barrier

30.4.2015 (Guardian)
By Gwyn Topham (Transport correspondent)
Post-election indecision will scupper the building of any more runways in the south-east, according to British Airways boss Willie Walsh, despite pledges from the main parties to respond to the Airports Commission’s verdict on expanding Gatwick or Heathrow.

Walsh, who is chief executive of BA’s parent company IAG, said there needed to be “political consensus across all the parties – not just coalition partners – before you can have any confidence that anything will come about. I don’t see any evidence of change in the outlook.”

He also warned that the cost of the three competing runway schemes – two Heathrow options or Gatwick – would be prohibitive: “The politics of this will be the main stumbling block – not the only one, because the cost of all three options are excessive and would translate into an unacceptable increase in charges at the airports.”

Walsh reiterated his stance that there was “no business case” for Gatwick expansion, but said Heathrow would also need to review its proposals. “Heathrow is the most expensive airport around and increasing costs here would be unacceptable to us, so I think they’re going to have to sharpen their pencil and come up with a way to make it more cost-effective.”

Walsh declined to endorse a party ahead of the election, but said he did not think the Conservatives were good for business or that the prospect of a Labour-led coalition would affect his company’s economic fortunes. He said: “I’ve been very open in my criticism of all politicians. I don’t take the view that Conservatives are good for business and therefore Labour are bad. We’ve looked at the election and in the totality it’s not going to impact on IAG.”

He said devolving decisions on air passenger duty to Scotland and potentially seeing the tax cut should the SNP hold power would benefit BA but would damage airports in the north of England. “If you devolved APD the Scottish economy would benefit but at the expense of the north of England.”

Walsh was speaking as the airline group revealed it had for the first time made a profit for the first quarter of the year – traditionally a difficult trading period for European aviation. [First announced last year].

The group made an operating profit of €25m, compared with a loss of €150m in the same period in 2014. Revenue rose 12% to €4.7bn. BA drove much of the increase but Walsh said sister airline Iberia’s performance was particularly pleasing, with the standing of the brand and customer satisfaction having improved as well as revenue growing and costs being cut.

Walsh defended his own 30% pay rise to £6.4m, revealed last month. “I’ve seen my pay increase largely as a result of the increase in the share price … my base salary has remained the same. The benefit I see is one that all of the shareholders see.”

Regarding IAG’s ongoing bid to buy Aer Lingus, Walsh said “constructive” discussions were continuing with the Irish government over its stake. “We’re hoping they will be able to make a decision in relation to their shares in the next couple of weeks … we’re relatively calm about the timing.”

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/30/post-election-indecision-will-halt-airport-expansion-in-south-east-says-ba-boss?CMP=share_btn_tw

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Earlier:

Willie Walsh says there is no business case for a 2nd Gatwick runway – BA has Gatwick’s 2nd largest number of passengers

Willie Walsh, the head of IAG, will not support a 2nd Gatwick runway, even if it is chosen by the Airports Commission or backed by the next government. He does not believe there is a business case to support its expansion, and there is insufficient demand from airlines for extra capacity at Gatwick. Mr Walsh campaigned heavily for a 3rd Heathrow runway before 2010, but has made frequent comments indicating he does not believe UK politicians will have the “courage” to build that. Willie Walsh says British Airways would resist higher landing charges, which would be necessary to fund a runway – either at Heathrow or Gatwick. (EasyJet has also said in the past they don’t want a new runway, if it means substantially higher charges – their model is low cost). BA would want lower costs, not higher costs, from a new runway. IAG’s shares have now risen as it has now made a profit at last, and will be paying its first dividend (and maybe some UK tax). Gatwick’s main airline is EasyJet with around 37% of passengers, and British Airways 2nd largest at around 14%. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/willie-walsh-says-there-is-no-business-case-for-a-2nd-gatwick-runway-ba-has-gatwicks-2nd-largest-number-of-passengers/

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Willie Walsh still wants 3rd runway – but “Heathrow is always going to be a 2-runway airport”

Edit this entry.

Interview in the Independent on Sunday with Willie Walsh. He wants a 3rd Heathrow runway, though he unwillingly accepts it will not happen. He says he stopped campaigning when “the Conservatives said they were not going to support it.” … “I accept it…. I’ve not done anything since.” Now, he says, there is “not sufficient political will – it’s seen as too risky to support a 3rd Heathrow runway. Even Labour, which did back the idea when in government, has changed. “Ed Miliband was the only member of the Labour Cabinet against the 3rd runway. Now he’s the leader”…. “It’s highly unlikely we will see a 3rd runway. Heathrow is always going to be a 2-runway airport.”  We can, Walsh says, dismiss Boris Island for a start. “There’s no support for Boris island other than from Boris.” As for Sir Howard, it does not matter what he concludes, because “whatever he does will be handed over to politicians, none of whom are bound by his recommendations”.  So with no new runways we just reach south east airport capacity and UK aviation stops growing? Yes, says Walsh.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/05/willie-walsh-still-wants-3rd-runway-but-heathrow-is-always-going-to-be-a-2-runway-airport/

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Willie Walsh of BA: Heathrow expansion is a ‘lost cause’

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA owner, IAG, has said again that there will not be a 3rd Heathrow runway, as it is too controversial.  He says UK politicians “lack the character” to get it built. “Historically, politicians have not been brave enough and I don’t think they will be brave enough going forward. You need a big shift in the politics of the country,” he said. However, Walsh warned a Conservative or Labour-led government against choosing Gatwick for an extra runway, adding that the case for growing the capital’s second-largest airport is “significantly weaker.”  Gatwick did not have the same international attraction. He said: “You won’t find many airlines that say ‘God I’d love to be able to fly to Gatwick’. That’s why this isn’t a business issue, an economic argument. It’s a political argument and the politics of expanding Heathrow are significantly more difficult than the politics of expanding Gatwick.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/10/willie-walsh-of-ba-heathrow-expansion-is-a-lost-cause/

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Willie Walsh tells AOA that a Heathrow 3rd runway will never be built – it is too politically difficult

Willie Walsh has said – at the Airport Operators Association in London – that a 3rd runway at Heathrow will “never” be built  – as he claims politicians will always put their election campaigns over national interests. He said nimbyism will stop politicians from doing anything with the findings of Sir Howard Davies’s Airports Commission – and a new  Heathrow runway is just politically too difficult.”  He claims, rather bitterly, that “This is politics with a small ‘p’. The national interest gets lost as the individual politicians look to understand how this will impact on them getting elected.” Perhaps he is also considering self interest. Sir Howard Davies, also speaking at the AOA conference, said of the airport capacity/new runway decision:  “Realistically this is the sort of decision that gets made early in a Parliament if it gets made at all,” as it is too contentious to be dealt with by politicians in the run-up to an election.  The Airports Commission know any new runway would take “a decade or more to come into effect” and the process will likely be delayed by legal challenges. The commission already faces the threat of a judicial review after campaign group, Stop Stansted Expansion, initiated legal proceedings earlier this month.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/10/willie-walsh-tells-aoa-that-a-heathrow-3rd-runway-will-never-be-built-it-is-too-politically-difficult/

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Willie Walsh tells Transport Committee there is no business case for a Gatwick 2nd runway

At the Transport Committee evidence session, Stewart Wingate, Gatwick chief executive, said he would oppose a 3rd runway at Heathrow and wanted to see Gatwick develop as a competing hub airport.  But BA’s Willie Walsh said airlines will only pay for expansion at one UK airport and that is Heathrow, implying he would oppose a 2nd Gatwick runway.  Willie Walsh also told the committee there was no business case to expand Gatwick, and he was not aware of any discussion with airlines about the extra amount they would have to pay for a new Gatwick runway.  Willie Walsh said “the only business case you could stand over is one to invest in a 3rd runway at Heathrow, but I’m not going to waste my time because it’s not going to happen.” 
http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/12/walsh-on-gatwick/
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IAG is to pay its first ever dividend and British Airways is due to return to profit

The parent group that owns British Airways, IAG, have said that they are now making profits and will give their first dividend, probably in November.  This is their first dividend since they were created in 2011 through the merger of British Airways and Spain’s Iberia. IAG has also bought bmi and Spanish budget carrier Vueling since its formation. Analysts believe shareholders will receive their first payment at the end of IAG’s 2015 financial year at the latest, as the controversial turnaround at Iberia, which required the loss of some 4,500 jobs and sparked strikes and political outcry in Spain, has stemmed the losses. IAG posted a €96m pre-tax profit for the six months to June 30 this year, up from a €503m loss at the same time in 2013.  IAG says it is on track to improve operating profit this year by “at least” €500m, from €770m in 2013. British Airways’ CEO, Willie Walsh said in August that BA had now returned to profit for the first time since 2007, the start of the financial crisis. BA has barely paid any UK corporation tax for years – it may pay round £61 million for the 2013 financial year. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/09/iag-is-to-pay-its-first-ever-dividend-and-british-airways-is-due-to-return-to-profit/

 

 

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Edinburgh Airport unveils 5 month trial of flight path to boost the airport’s capacity

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a 5-month trial of a new flight path for aircraft taking off to the west, in a bid to increase capacity. The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June,  will introduce a new SID route, the purpose of which is to allow more flights to use the runway, and allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals. This is to “allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.”  Most of the time the flights take off to the west and there are currently 3 SID€™ routes – known as Grice (which goes north), Gosam (which goes south west) and Talla (south). The new route – Tutur – will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, passing over West Lothian and to the east of Linlithgow. The settlements worse affected, with planes at 1900 – 2000 feet, would be Uphall and Dechmont. Map  Aircraft will climb as they turn, to fly over the coast and down the Firth of Forth passing North Queensferry, and then fly back over land at approximately 13,000ft near Musselburgh.  The airport says the aircraft using the trial route are likely to be their least noisy (B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s). The airport says the trial would monitor the impact on local communities, and noise monitors would be placed along the flight path to collect data on the flights.

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Edinburgh Airport’s information on the flight path trial

http://sid.edinburghairport.com/

Over the coming months, supported by air traffic control providers NATS and in line with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) guidance, we’ll be leading a trial to introduce a new Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route for certain aircraft taking off on a westerly departure route from our airport.

This will enable aircraft to depart in one minute intervals – allowing us to encourage and maintain safe and sustainable growth whilst ensuring punctuality and operations are unaffected.

At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s. What we’re aiming to do is to begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport, bringing it into the 21st century.

As we continue to see more passengers travel through our airports than ever before, we’ll need to increase airspace capacity above Central Scotland to cater for this growth.

This is a very exciting and challenging project but to keep you fully up-to-date with its progress, we’ve created this microsite. Here you’ll be able to find maps, images and more information which should answer your questions and allow you to learn more about what we’re doing.

I would encourage you all to have a look and give us your feedback.

As Scotland’s busiest airport we’re committed to the future of Scottish aviation and we’ll work with you to ensure you have all the information you need on the trial and that we can capture your views throughout the trial.

I look forward to working with you throughout this exciting project and sharing regular updates on its progress with you.

Gordon Dewar

Gordon Dewar
Chief Executive

The new route

http://sid.edinburghairport.com/follow-the-route

From the end of June, our most modern and quietest aircraft will have the option to take off on a new westerly departure route. This is called a Standard Instrument Departure route or SID for short. The aircraft likely to be using this route are B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s.

The new SID route we will be trialling, will see aircraft take off from Edinburgh Airport in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, climbing above water before flying back over land at approximately 13,000ft.

We’ve taken great care to design this new departure route with care and consideration for our neighbours in mind. Aircraft using the route will pass over very few settlements and will be routed over the Firth of Forth for the bulk of their flight path around Edinburgh.

We’ll be actively engaging with all of our stakeholders and neighbours to help you understand why we’re doing this and help us to find out what kind of impact the trial will have.

We’ll be placing noise monitors along the flight path so we can collect data on all the flights using the new route and analyse any noise that aircraft potentially cause.

Investment in a new SID route will not only create new capacity in the air, it will also help us increase Scotland’s connectivity and ability to attract more airlines and fly to more new destinations.

Current route

Aircraft can currently choose three different westerly departure routes when taking off from Edinburgh Airport. These are called, GRICE, TALLA and GOSAM. The new route we will trial this summer will be called TUTUR. Our existing routes and the new trial route are all shown on the map below. The new route is shown by the red line.

 

The map below from Edinburgh Airport shows the three existing routes for westerly take-offs, and the proposed new route to be trialled, “TUTUR” shown in red.

Edinburgh airport current 3 routes and new trialled one TUTUR

http://sid.edinburghairport.com/

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Edinburgh Airport unveils flight path trial

28.4.2015 (BBC)

See short film clip.

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a five-month trial of a new flight path for departing aircraft in a bid to increase capacity.

The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June, will introduce a new Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route.

Airport bosses said the new route would allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals.

They said it would allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.

Edinburgh is Scotland’s busiest airport, with more than 40 airlines serving more than 100 destinations.

Last year, more than 10 million passengers passed through, making it the busiest year ever for a Scottish airport.

Most of the time the flights take off west towards Newbridge into the prevailing wind.

The airport currently uses three SID€™ routes – known as Grice (which goes north), Gosam (which goes south west) and Talla (south).

The new route – Tutur – will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, passing over West Lothian and to the east of Linlithgow.

Aircraft will climb as they fly above the river before flying back over land at approximately 13,000ft near Musselburgh racecourse in East Lothian.

The new Standard Instrument Departure will be on trial until the end of November

The new Standard Instrument Departure will be on trial until the end of November

David Wilson, chief operating officer of Edinburgh Airport, said: “At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s.

“What we’re aiming to do is begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport and bring it into the 21st Century.”

He said the trial would give more modern aircraft the opportunity to take off on a new westerly departure route.

Mr Wilson said: “We’ve taken great care to design this new departure route with the utmost consideration for our neighbours.

“The route passes over very few populated areas and flies over the river for the bulk of its flight path.”

He said the trial would monitor the impact on local communities and noise monitors would be placed along the flight path to collect data on the flights.

Councillor Gavin Corbett, of the Scottish Greens, said he would like to see a more fundamental review of travel capacity.

He said: “For example, almost half of Edinburgh Airport’s traffic is domestic traffic. That’s the kind of traffic which should be on the railways and perhaps that’s the way forward.”  [He also commented that much of the traffic using Edinburgh airport is holiday flights, taking Scottish people to spend their holiday money in other countries, thus not doing anything to help the Scottish economy].  See film clip.

Glasgow Airport is also reviewing its airspace.

Along with Edinburgh and Prestwick airport, it is part of the Scottish Airspace Development Design Group, formed last year to review capacity and future growth of air travel in central Scotland.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: “Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network designed in the 1970s and there will be a requirement for this to be upgraded.

“We are currently working to understand what this means for Glasgow Airport, however, we will consult fully with relevant stakeholder groups, community representatives and other interested parties prior to any trials.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-32502490

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Edinburgh Airport flight paths spark noise fears

28.4.2015 (Edinburgh Evening News)

Edinburgh Airport is to trial a new flight path that could see a plane taking off every minute, raising fears of increased aircraft noise and pollution.

The route, which will be tested for six months from June 25, will see southbound planes take off over Broxburn and Uphall, before turning east over the Forth, then south over East Lothian.

And it will cut the minimum interval between take-offs from two minutes to one minute, doubling the potential number of flights by large planes from the hub and increasing the total number of flights in and out of the Capital by 20 per cent to around 120,000 every year.

Not every flight will use the new route, which will increase the total number of take-offs and landings possible per hour from 42 to 50 by 2017, if the trial is rolled out permanently.

But as a result of the change residents in West Lothian are being told to expect increased aircraft noise, with some flights being routed directly over houses. Noise levels will be between 80-90 decibels, the same as standing five metres away from a busy road.

Uphall community councillor Fraser Graham, who lives under the flight path, said: “This could cause people some problems. I will be raising this at our next meeting.”

However, the airport said only quieter modern aircraft will use the new corridor, which will see planes climb rapidly on take-off. The route has been designed for larger aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 and 787 Dreamliner, and Airbus A319, A320, A321, and A330.

There were also concerns that increased flight capacity would add to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

David Wilson, chief operating officer of Edinburgh Airport, said: “At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s. What we’re aiming to do is begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport and bring it into the 21st century.”

Flights set to use the new corridor include busy international routes to Amsterdam, Brussels, Poland and Italy, as well as new medium-haul routes to the Middle East.

Residents can check the route themselves and offer feedback on the level of disturbance via a dedicated website set up by Edinburgh Airport.

Mr Wilson continued: “We’ve taken great care to design this new route with the utmost consideration for our neighbours. The route passes over very few populated areas and flies over the river for the bulk of its flight path.

“We’ve contacted community councils, groups and politicians and will continue to do this to ensure people understand why we’re doing this and to find out how the new route is impacting on them. We’ll be placing noise monitors along the flight path so we can collect data.”

Sandy Legget, general manager of air traffic controller NATS at Edinburgh, said the new route would help the airport expand.

She said: “NATS has supported the airport in preparing for this trial, ensuring the design delivers benefits for the airport and airlines and is mindful of the airport’s commitment to local communities.

“A new departure route would enable sustainable and safe growth at Edinburgh Airport.”

Colin Keir, MSP for Edinburgh Western and convener of the Cross Party Group on Aviation, said: “I welcome this trial and hope it proves successful.”

More details on the proposed route are trial can be found at   http://sid.edinburghairport.com/

 

 

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New briefing on the Airports Commission – why their runway recommendation is likely to be flawed and incomplete

Before the 2010 General Election, both Conservatives and LibDems had come out against new runways in SE England. However, by September 2012 the Coalition government set up an  “Independent Commission” to look into the runway issue. Though the impression has been given that the Commission’s work is thorough, painstaking, and has assiduously covered every issue, the reality is somewhat different.  A short paper produced for AirportWatch (very readable) sets out the areas where the Commission’s analysis has not dealt with issues adequately, including key social, health and environmental costs. Some examples are that the extent of claimed economic benefits of a new runway are based on an “innovative” – ie. unproven – economic model, which leaves out the cost of noise and air pollution. There is obfuscation on climate change, where the bald fact is that any new runway would almost certainly be inconsistent with the UK’s climate target for 2050. Air quality work has not been done. The paper concludes: “… politicians and others should feel entirely free to make their own judgements about airport expansion – based if possible on genuinely independent and unbiased evidence.  They should not be influenced by recommendations from the Airports Commission. ”  
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“Word” version of the paper can be found here

Airports Commission and airport expansion


 

The truth about the Airports Commission and airport expansion

The story so far

29.4.2015

(By Nic Ferriday, for AirportWatch)

 

Before the 2010 General Election, both Conservatives and LibDems had come out against new runways in SE England. [i]

In October 2009 David Cameron said: “No third runway at Heathrow – no ifs, no buts.” [ii]  This was widely recognised as a political tactic to protect marginal constituencies around Heathrow.

In June 2010, soon after the coalition government was formed, transport secretary Philip Hammond said: “We have been clear in our opposition to additional runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, so the challenge we face now is making them better within existing runway capacity constraints.” [iii]

However, these statements did not prevent heavy lobbying from industry and backbench Conservative MPs for airport expansion.

An “Independent Commission” was established in September 2012.  The government appointed an ‘establishment’ figure, Sir Howard Davies, as part-time chair and four establishment and virtually silent part-time commissioners.  The detailed work was devolved to a secretariat drawn mainly from the DfT (Department for Transport).  Those staff will return to their roles at DfT after the Commission finishes to implement the policies of their political masters.

The Commission was tasked with producing a shortlist of expansion options by December 2013.  It duly responded, producing its interim report with a shortlist of Heathrow (two options) and Gatwick. [iv]

The Commission was tasked with making its final recommendation in summer 2015, conveniently after the latest date for a general election.

The Commission’s work for the interim report failed to demonstrate convincingly economic benefits of new runways.  It used an “innovative” – ie. unproven – economic model [v], for ‘wider economic benefits’ but the Commission could not find the time to explain it properly to consultees.  The assessment omitted the cost of noise and air pollution and other impacts. [vi]

While there was a good deal written about climate change, it was largely obfuscation.  The bald fact was that the expansion options would almost certainly be inconsistent with the UK’s climate target for 2050. [vii]

Despite these major shortcomings, the Commission’s interim report in December 2013 recommended one new runway by 2030.  It had, to all intents and purposes, decided there should be a new runway, irrespective of environmental and social impacts.

By this means, the Airports Commission, with other supporters of airport expansion, had firmly moved the public debate on from “if” there would be a new runway to “where” it should be built.

The Commission duly published its evaluation of the 3 shortlisted options in November 2014, for consultation. [viii]

The impenetrable economic studies in the Commission’s consultation documents produced economic benefits for all the shortlisted options (when carbon constraints were ignored). [ix] ‘Wider economic benefits’ were again based on an “innovative”   (ie. unproven) economic model, which again was not explained. [x]

The Commission’s assessments continued to omit key social, health and environmental costs which could well have made the net economic outcome negative.

The Commission failed to explain why British business opportunities in the global economy would suffer from lack of UK airport capacity at Heathrow and Gatwick when there is a large amount of spare runway capacity at all other British airports.

It failed to highlight the fact that under a quarter of flights are for business and just 14% are UK business people’s trips abroad. [xi]  The vast majority of flights are for leisure, which takes far more money out of the UK than it brings in.

The Commission failed to show how much of the demand for extra capacity is due to the current tax regime which inflates demand.  Tax-free fuel and VAT exemptions for the aviation industry are worth about £10 billion pa. [xii]

If aviation were to pay its fair share of tax, growth in demand would be far less and the economic impact of a new runway would probably move from being positive to become negative.

The Commission failed to assess air pollution impacts in any detail [xiii] , despite the fact that air pollution levels round Heathrow already breach legal UK and EU limits set to protect our health. [xiv]  Air pollution is estimated to kill over 4,000 Londoners every year. [xv] However, a very rushed report and consultation was later carried out [xvi]  which suggests that air pollution will not be problem. [xvii]

It has failed to assess noise impacts properly; it has just used some “indicative” flight paths to gauge possible impacts. [xviii]  The real flight paths, and numbers of people that would be affected, are not known.

The Commission has hidden away the fact that all its shortlisted proposals are inconsistent with the UK’s targets for reducing CO2 emissions. [xix]

Unlike other economic activities, aviation produces large amounts of greenhouse gases in addition to CO2, emitted at high altitude.  These have been dismissed by the Commission [xx], thereby under-stating the climate impacts of expansion.

It has failed to carry out the recommendation by the government’s Committee on Climate Change that an assessment should be made of the economic benefits of new runways if aviation remains within its allowable CO2 emissions. [xxi]

The reason for not doing the study on CO2 emissions is that the estimated future economic benefits of a new runway would become negative [xxii] (due to CO2 emissions requirements alone – even without the adverse economic impact of the industry’s favourable tax status, social and health costs and environmental costs).

Although jobs would be created, the Commission provides no evidence that expanding Heathrow or Gatwick would reduce unemployment.  It concludes that extra jobs at Heathrow would lead to inward migration and a need for up to 70,000 new housing units. [xxiii] At Gatwick it estimates up to 18,400 new housing units. [xxiv]

It gives no assessment of the impacts on schools and hospitals that are already stretched to breaking point, or road congestion, water supply or sewerage.

The Commission may do some further work on these issues.  But results will not be published or open to public scrutiny before the Commission’s recommendations are published.  So in practice such work will have no effect.

And to cap it all, the DfT has just appointed Simon Baugh from Heathrow as its Communications Director!

 

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Conclusions

The history of the Commission and analysis of its findings point inexorably to a ‘stitch-up’.

The Coalition government, having originally confirmed opposition to new runways, then set up a Commission whose recommendations would enable it to renege on its promise.

The Commission was packed with government employees and establishment figures and duly came up with the result the government wanted – airport expansion justified by economic benefits. 

To this end, the Commission had to leave out major ‘inconvenient truths’ – about climate change, tax avoidance and social impacts.

It had to leave out these impacts and use an unproven economic model for ‘wider economic benefits’ in order to demonstrate an economic justification for a new runway.   

Given this situation, politicians and others should feel entirely free to make their own judgments about airport expansion – based if possible on genuinely independent and unbiased evidence.  They should not be influenced by recommendations from the Airports Commission.

Nic Ferriday,  April 2015

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk

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[i]  http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2008/sep/29/toryconference.transport ;

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/sep/17/heathrow-third-runway-costs

[ii] http://www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/4694685.David_Cameron___No_third_runway___no_ifs__no_buts_/

[iii] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/better-not-bigger-hammond-creates-south-east-airports-taskforce

[iv] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/airports-commission-interim-report

[v] See endnote x.

[vi] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/266670/airports-commission-interim-report-appendix-3.pdf  paras 2.11, 17, etc

[vii] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/266670/airports-commission-interim-report-appendix-3.pdf   Para 5.17, page 71

[viii] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/airports-commission-publishes-consultation-on-shortlisted-options-for-a-new-runway

[ix] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/381912/AC01_tagged_amend_25_11.pdf  Eg paras 3.22,23,72,73

[x] Ibid Para 3.128

[xi] http:/www.aef.org.uk/uploads/Bus_proportion.doc  See “detailed results”.

[xii] Green Alliance press release 15/6/10: “The UK aviation sector enjoys historic tax exemptions worth £10 billion a year, because it does not pay fuel duty and VAT is not paid on airline tickets”;
Policy studies Institute report: “ .. if it [aviation] was taxed to the same extent as trains and coaches are on fuel it would pay £8.5 billion a year (Eagle [ministerial answer] 2008) .. If VAT was charged on tickets at the standard rate of 17.5 per cent that would bring in £2.3 billion a year (House of Commons Transport Committee 2010).”

[xiii] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/381912/AC01_tagged_amend_25_11.pdf  paras 2.56,57.

[xiv] http://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/s6457/Minutes%20-%20Appendix%202%20-%20Heathrow%20Air%20Quality%20Map.pdf

[xv] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/30/london-air-quality-premature-deaths

[xvi] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/airports-commission-air-quality-assessment

[xvii] The study used two different models and the conclusions are based on the one which gives lower values.  It concludes that EU limits would not be breached.  However, this depends on its forecast that air pollution levels will plummet anyway from now until 2030 and it only considers the impacts of a new runway soon after it is opened, ie when far from fully used.

[xviii] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/381912/AC01_tagged_amend_25_11.pdf  para 2.54.

[xix] http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/AirportWatch_short_climate_and_runway_briefing_January_2015.pdf

[xx] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/271231/airports-commission-interim-report.pdf ; Box 41, p15: “As scientific understanding in this area continues to improve, climate policies may need to evolve to take better account of NCEs.[non carbon emissions]”

[xxi] http://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/CCC_letter_aviation_commission.pdf

[xxii] AW members were told at a meeting on 17/12/15 with DfT that if the ‘abatement cost of carbon’ were included in the economic assessment, the net benefits would be negative.

[xxiii] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/374664/evidence-base-heathrow-north-west-final.pdf  para 1.56 “The additional employment supported by Heathrow’s expansion would lead to a significant requirement for additional housing. The Commission’s analysis indicates this would total between 29,800 and 70,800 houses by 2030 within the local authorities assessed as part of the local economy assessment. This additional housing and population growth would also require substantial supporting infrastructure including schools and health care facilities.”

[xxiv] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/374662/evidence-base-gatwick-airport-second-runway.pdf  Para 8.13

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“Word” version of the paper can be found here

AC and airport expansion 

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Landmark air pollution ruling by Supreme Court could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow due to high NO2 level

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”  This could have implications for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, as areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits.  That is due both to air pollution from the planes in addition to the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. In their verdict, 5 judges ordered the Secretary of State at DEFRA to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”. The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth.  HACAN commented: “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a 3rd runway is concerned.”
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Landmark air pollution ruling could scupper 3rd runway at Heathrow

29.4.2015 (HACAN)

A landmark ruling by the Supreme Court handed down this morning could have implications for a third runway at Heathrow.

In a unanimous verdict, five judges ordered the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to consult on strict new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission no later than 31 December 2015.

The plans require the Government crack down on the UK’s high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution. Lord Carnwath said the court was “in no doubt about the seriousness” of the UK’s breach of EU law in failing to meet legal pollution limits, which leaves it open to the risk of European Commission fines totalling £300 million.

The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”.

The judgement marks a victory for the campaigning legal firm ClientEarth which had sued the Government over its lack of action.

The judgement could also have implications for a third runway at Heathrow.

Areas around the airport continue to be stubbornly above the EU legal limits.  It is down to a combination of pollution from the planes and the huge amount of traffic on the M4 and M25. Due to the proximity of these huge roads, it is the only airport in the UK where the EU limits are breached or are likely to be so in the future.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, which campaigns against a third runway, said, “This is a potential show-stopper as far as a third runway is concerned.  It is difficult to see how any Government will get away with backing a new runway at Heathrow when the plans it is now required to draw up urgently to present to the EU say it must come up with a coherent plan to cut air pollution.”

http://hacan.org.uk/landmark-air-pollution-ruling-could-scupper-3rd-runway/

www.hacan.org.uk

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See also:

Why the ruling by the Supreme Court on air pollution could stop plans for a new SE runway

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Government must produce a new action plan by the end of this year for bringing air pollution within legal limits. A decision to allow another Heathrow runway could be legally challenged unless the Government’s new plans are sufficiently ambitious to reduce emissions of a 2 runway airport below the legal limit – and also leave enough headroom to accommodate the negative impact of a 3rd runway. There is only pure speculation on how it could be achieved. The court ruling also suggests that the cost-benefit analysis for adding a runway will need to be revised, as the Government has previously claimed that complying with air quality law would be too expensive. And this does not only affect Heathrow, but Gatwick too. Gatwick is keen to claim it does not have a poor air quality problem. But EU regulations require not only that poor air quality must be improved but also that good air quality should be protected. A 2nd Gatwick runway would mean local air pollution hotspots, with a risk of breaching the legal limits. The Airports Commission has a duty to the public not to recommend a project that would significantly damage people’s health. It would also be a poor use of taxpayer’s money to make recommendations that invite a legal challenge.

Click here to view full story…


Earlier:

Airports Commission consultation shows air quality problems with new runways, but no adequate data yet

No new information has yet been provided by the Commission.  29.4.2015

The Airports Commission consultation document is aware that air quality is a major obstacle for a new Heathrow runway.  It says expanding either Gatwick or Heathrow would have a negative impact on air quality, with all proposed schemes requiring expansions to local road networks to accommodate increased road traffic. For both the Heathrow runway options the Commission says “Both local Air Quality Objectives and EU limit thresholds are at risk of exceedance at a small number of monitoring sites in the local area under this scheme. While in some cases these exceedances are also forecast to occur in the do minimum scenario, there is clearly a substantial negative impact of the scheme on air quality, unless forceful mitigation measures are implemented.” But they have not been able to complete full detailed modelling of the air quality impacts of new runways and further work is needed. This unfortunately is not in time for the consultation.  The Commission intends to supplement this at a future date with “more detailed dispersion modelling”.  [Section 2.56 of consultation document]. That means models to show how wind and weather disperses pollution, and it could be questioned how much faith should be placed on sufficient wind speeds in coming years.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/airports-commission-consultation-shows-air-quality-problems-with-new-runways-but-no-adequate-data-yet/

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UK Supreme Court orders Government to take “immediate action” on air pollution

29 April 2015 (Client Earth)

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year.

The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, handed down this morning, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”

The historic ruling is the culmination of a five year legal battle fought by ClientEarth for the right of British people to breathe clean air.

The ruling will save thousands of lives a year by forcing the Government to urgently clean up pollution from diesel vehicles, the main source of the illegal levels of nitrogen nioxide found in many of the UK’s towns and cities.

ClientEarth Lawyer Alan Andrews said: “Air pollution kills tens of thousands of people in this country every year. We brought our case because we have a right to breathe clean air and today the Supreme Court has upheld that right.

“This ruling will benefit everyone’s health but particularly children, older people and those with existing health conditions like asthma and heart and lung disease.

“The next Government, regardless of the political party or parties which take power, is now legally bound to take urgent action on this public health crisis. Before next week’s election all political parties need to make a clear commitment to policies which will deliver clean air and protect our health.”

The Supreme Court ruling means the Government must start work on a comprehensive plan to meet pollution limits as soon as possible. Among the measures that it must consider are low emission zones, congestion charging and other economic incentives.

ClientEarth is calling for action to clean up the worst polluting diesel vehicles, including through a national network of low emission zones.

http://www.clientearth.org/news/press-releases/uk-supreme-court-orders-government-to-take-immediate-action-on-air-pollution-2843

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Supreme Court orders UK to clean up air pollution in landmark ruling

Major victory for ClientEarth after five year legal battle

By Jessica Shankleman (Business Green)

29 Apr 2015

Ministers must draw up strict plans to crack down on the UK’s high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, following a landmark ruling in the Supreme Court today.

In a unanimous verdict, five judges ordered the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to consult on new air pollution plans that must be submitted to the European Commission no later than 31 December 2015.

Lord Carnwath said the court was “in no doubt about the seriousness” of the UK’s breach of EU law in failing to meet legal pollution limits, which leaves it open to the risk of European Commission fines totalling £300m.

The EU Air Quality Directive demanded the UK brought pollution down to legal limits by 2010 or apply for an extension by 2015. But the government in 2011 said that a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 and instead argued the law allowed it to comply “as soon as possible”.

Defra’s plans revealed that some of the worst polluted areas of the country, such as London, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire, will be unable to meet legal limits until after 2030.

The NGO ClientEarth sued the government over its proposal, in an attempt to force the government to take more ambitious action to tackle air pollution, which is blamed for tens of thousands of deaths a year.

At a hearing earlier this month, the government volunteered to publish a consultation this autumn on a new plan that included “appropriate, feasible and effective” measures for bringing down NO2. That plan would then be submitted to the Commission by the end of this year, the government said.

The Secretary of State argued that an injunction was unnecessary because the European Commission launched its own infraction proceedings against the UK last year, which it was working to comply with.

However, ClientEarth argued Defra could not be relied upon to deliver voluntarily and asked the Supreme Court to impose an injunction.

The judges agreed with ClientEarth, saying they would be “failing in their duty” if they “simply accepted” assurances from the Secretary of State without any legal underpinning. They also noted that since 2010, the government has revealed more pessimistic predictions of when some areas could comply.

The outcome is likely to place fresh pressure on ministers to introduce bolder measures for tackling air pollution.

Some campaigners have called on the government to ban the most polluting diesel vehicles, which are widely blamed for causing spikes in NO2 pollution that may increase the risk of breathing and heart problems, expand ultra low emission zones in urban areas and revisit plans for road pricing and higher taxes for the dirtiest vehicles. The ruling could also impact plans to expand Heathrow Airport, as it is located in one of the UK’s worst air pollution blackspots.

ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said the Supreme Court ruling upheld the right for people to breathe clean air. “The next government, regardless of the political party or parties which take power, is now legally bound to take urgent action on this public health crisis,” he said in a statement.

“Before next week’s election all political parties need to make a clear commitment to policies which will deliver clean air and protect our health.”

Ellie Watson, an environment lawyer for Pinsent Masons said the ruling could open the door for a series of similar legal challenges across European Member States as the UK is not alone in failing to comply with NO2 limits.

“UK Government will now have to act fast to cut nitrogen dioxide levels to avoid hefty fines,” she said. “For business, this will inevitably mean more stringent regulation but savvy firms will translate investment into low emission vehicle fleets and ramped up green travel policies into cost savings and PR benefit.

“EU law-makers may now find themselves under some pressure to rethink the directive and the EU’s approach to managing pollution levels.”

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2406257/supreme-court-orders-uk-to-clean-up-air-pollution-in-landmark-ruling

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See also:

EU ruling on air pollution compliance is a ‘major blow’ for Heathrow Airport expansion plans

The levels of air pollution in the Heathrow area already routinely breach EU limits (the Air Quality Directive), for nitrogen dioxide, due to the concentration of road traffic in the area – in addition to the aircraft. The UK has tried to avoid a showdown with the EU by agreeing to reduce air pollution levels in line with the EU directive by 2025, but the date has since slipped to ‘post 2030′. The European Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has now rejected this plan and UK ministers will have to prepare new measures for reducing illegal pollution levels ‘as soon as possible’. The CJEU has given the UK Supreme Court responsibility for enforcing compliance with air quality law. Judges will examine the case next year. The cross-party 2M group of councils opposing a 3rd Heathrow runway say this is a ‘major blow’ for the plans. Heathrow hopes that improvement, over coming years, in road vehicle emissions will solve their problem, but this is outside their control. The 2M groups says the Supreme Court will have to be convinced about the unlikely scenario in which air pollution can be reduced  -while Heathrow increases flights, road traffic and freight.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/12/eu-ruling-on-air-pollution-compliance-is-a-major-blow-for-heathrow-airport-expansion-plans/

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Defra condemned for proposals – yet again – to scrap local air pollution monitoring, with danger of reducing air quality

Edit this entry.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/24345/

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Defra condemned by Clean Air in London for proposals scrapping local air pollution monitoring

Air pollution is a key problem for Heathrow, making the addition of a 3rd runway very hard to justify – or to fit within legal air quality limits. The main pollutant with which Heathrow has problems is NOX – nitrogen oxides, the  majority of which comes from road traffic. The actual proportion from aircraft, airport vehicles and other road vehicles is very difficult to establish. The other key air pollutants are PM10 and PM2.5 – tiny particles which lodge in the lungs and can cause long term health problems. DEFRA has responsibility for air quality monitoring. It put out a consultation on streamlining some air pollution  monitoring, on 19th December (finishes 30th January). The aim is to no longer require local authorities to monitor 4 pollutants, and to combine monitoring of PM10s with PM2.5s. The group, Clean in London says “DEFRA’s plans would result inevitably in the scrapping of thousands of local monitoring sites that have taken a decade to put in place and probably all of them within a few months or years.”  Also that “Alarmingly, local authorities are being told to make use of Defra’s tiny national monitoring network (i.e. 137 monitors, few of which measure two or more of NO2, PM2.5 and PM10).”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/defra-condemned-by-clean-air-in-london-for-proposals-scrapping-local-air-pollution-monitoring/

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ClientEarth wins case – EU Court rules UK government must act to clean up deadly air pollution

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has delivered its judgement in ClientEarth’s case,  that the UK must act to clean up illegal levels of air pollution “as soon as possible”.  Under current plans the UK will not meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) until after 2030 – twenty years after the original deadline.  NO2 has known harmful health impacts including increasing the risk of heart attacks and asthma. In their case at the ECJ, ClientEarth win on all points.  The judgement says the UK’s plans should have aimed at compliance by 1 January 2015 at the latest.  The UK remains in ongoing breach of EU law, and UK courts must order the government to produce a plan which rapidly achieves NO2 limits. To be successful, a plan to deal with air pollution needs to drastically cut nitrogen oxides from diesel vehicles. Much of the air pollution around airports, like Heathrow, is caused by these diesel vehicles.  Around 29,000 people die early in the UK each year as a result of air pollution, making it the biggest public health problem after smoking. ClientEarth’s case will return to the UK Supreme Court for a final ruling next year. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/eu-court-rules-uk-government-must-act-to-clean-up-deadly-air-pollution/
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April 29th: International Noise Awareness Day – Campaigners issue their ‘Noise Manifesto’

Noise campaigners representing different organizations in the UK are joining forces with campaigners in Germany, to mark the 29th April – as International Noise Awareness Day. UK campaigners want the next Government to take noise seriously.  They have a manifesto on noise, which includes a demand for reductions in aircraft noise with fairer flight paths; reduction in road traffic noise by lower speed limits; measures to limit noise from wind farms; and a ban on piped music in public areas where people cannot avoid it.  2015 marks the 20th anniversary of Noise Awareness Day. The UK noise campaigners have made links with anti-noise campaigners in Germany.  In Berlin, a day of events, including demonstrations and a conference, will take place on 29th April organized by campaigners against road, rail and aircraft noise. Val Weedon, president of the UK Noise Association, said: “Each year local authorities and government departments are deluged with complaints about noise. Yet the election manifestos are virtually silent on noise.  We are urging the next Government to speak out about noise and implement practical measures to improve the noise climate”.
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April 29th:  International Noise Awareness Day – Campaigners issue their ‘Noise Manifesto’

29.4.2015

Noise campaigners representing different organizations have come together to call on the next Government to take noise seriously.

To mark the 20th anniversary of International Noise Awareness Day http://chchearing.org/noise/day/ on 29th April, the campaigners have issued their Noise Manifesto.  It outlines six key things the next Government could do to improve the noise climate (see below).

 

Noise day

Campaigners launch their manifesto outside Parliament

The UK campaigners have made links with anti-noise campaigners in Germany.  A day of events, including demonstrations and a conference, will take place in Berlin on 29th April organized by campaigners against road, rail and aircraft noise.

Val Weedon, president of the UK Noise Association, said: “Each year local authorities and government departments are deluged with complaints about noise. Yet the election manifestos are virtually silent on noise.  We are urging the next Government to speak out about noise and implement practical measures to improve the noise climate”.

Meanwhile, at Gatwick on Saturday 25th, to tie in with the German activities on April 29th, the polar bears from Plane Stupid invaded the terminal at Gatwick to protest against any plans for a 2nd runway. Local people helped them out with a bit of singing (including in the song, a verse about “What shall we do with the noisy flight paths? … response “Keep on protesting till they stop them.”

This entertaining video shows the polar bears at work: https://vimeo.com/125997196 

 

 

A range of events are taking place in  Berlin on 29th and 30th April.  For more information of the Berlin events:

 

erwin.stufler@t-online.de

 

Six key things the next Government could do to improve the noise climate:

  1. Aircraft Noise: Ensure fair flight paths for all
  1. Road Traffic Noise: Cut speed limits
  1. Rail Noise: Retrofit all trains with quieter brakes – would cut noise by up to 50%
  1. Wind Farm Noise: Update official noise guidelines in order to better assess the impact on communities
  1. Neighbour Noise: Fine local authorities who persistently fail to tackle neighbour noise problems
  1. Piped Music: Ban piped music from public places, such as hospitals, where people have no choice but listen to it

Published by the UK Noise Association – www.ukna.org.uk, with the support of

AirportWatch  www.airportwatch.org.uk,

HACAN – www.hacan.org.uk and

Pipedown – www.pipedown.info

 

April 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Schiphol will never become ‘Heathrow’s 3rd runway’ – it has tight noise and ATM limits

We are routinely told that, if Heathrow doesn’t expand, people from other UK airports like Newcastle, Edinburgh and Liverpool will choose to fly to Schiphol (Amsterdam) to interchange onto long-distance flights.  The CEO of Schiphol Airport has even rather cheekily called it ‘Heathrow’s third runway’ or referred to Amsterdam as “London’s 2nd hub.” However, John Stewart explains that this is not a situation that can continue indefinitely. Though Schiphol has 5 runways, in reality only two can be used at one time. And unlike airports in the UK, Schiphol has strict noise regulations about which runways can be used, and when.  The use of the two runways which go over densely-populated areas is avoided whenever possible. Schiphol has almost reached its permissible noise limits, with around 425,565 flights last year – and a limit of 510,000 per year (cf. 480,000 at Heathrow).  When the noise from planes using one runway reaches a certain point, no more is allowed in that year, and traffic should be diverted to alternative runways. The system in use at Schiphol to protect residents from aircraft noise is more rigorous than in the UK, and the Dutch take their noise responsibilities on aircraft noise too seriously to allow Schiphol to become effectively a UK hub.
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Why Schiphol will never become ‘Heathrow’s third runway’

Blog by John Stewart

28th April 2015

We routinely are told that, if Heathrow doesn’t expand, people from other UK airports will choose to fly to Schiphol to interchange on to a long-distance flight.  The CEO of Schiphol has even rather cheekily called it ‘Heathrow’s third runway’. [And Amsterdam as London’s 2nd hub].

He knows full well it can never be that because Schiphol has almost reached capacity.

It is not that Schiphol lacks runway space.  It has five runways (six if you include one for very small planes) and fewer flights than Heathrow.  [52.5 million passengers in 2014 at Schiphol compared to 70 million at Heathrow].

Schiphol map

 

The capacity constraint is down to the strict rules which exist about which runways can be used and when.

There are tight noise regulations in place which mean that all five runways are never in use at any one time.  Indeed, rarely are more than three of the runways used at once.  And the use of the two runways which go over densely-populated areas is avoided whenever possible.

 But here’s the big reason why Schiphol can never become London’s third runway.  It has almost reached its permissible noise limits.  The airport has a complex way of regulating noise:  “the present system as from 2005 consists of 35 points around Schiphol where the actual noise of passing planes is physically measured and added up to annual totals per point. If a total at a certain point exceeds its legal maximum, the relating runway can no longer be used and traffic should be diverted to alternative runways. The maximum capacity of this system is some 480,000 air traffic movements each year.

You can read more about this in the paper Noise Reduction at Schiphol:Noise reduction Schiphol  

The system is being altered so that possibly 510,000 flights will be able to use the airport each year.  [The number was about 425,565 in 2014].  But that’s it.  No more.  And not significantly greater than the 480,000 cap at the two-runway Heathrow.  The trips from Edinburgh, Manchester or Newcastle to Schiphol to interchange will have a finite limit. 

Schiphol is looking to get round its limits by ‘outsourcing’ perhaps as many as 70,000 low-cost, leisure flights to the smaller airports Netherlands.

If  – and it still very much is ‘if’ that happens – it will free up some space at Schiphol but not enough to dent the myth that Schiphol can ever become Heathrow’s third runway.  Gatwick maybe.  Stansted possibly.  Even Birmingham or Boris Island.  But not Schiphol.  The Dutch take their noise responsibilities far too seriously for that to happen. 

http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=381

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Comment from an AirportWatch member:

“In the Netherlands noise is clearly taken very seriously. It would be shameful if
Heathrow were to have a lower standard – more noise due to a third runway
– in order to gain ‘competitive advantage’ over Schiphol”


See earlier:

Schiphol airport unfazed by prospect of new London runway – many UK passengers prefer transferring from Schiphol

Schiphol Group president and chief executive Jos Nijhuis, described Amsterdam as “London’s second hub”. Schiphol now handles up to 8 million UK passengers a year, 60% of whom connect to onward flights. Schiphol believes passengers from UK regional airports will continue to choose Amsterdam rather than Heathrow to connect to long‑haul flights, even if Heathrow gets a 3rd runway. 13 UK airports have services to Amsterdam and this will rise to 14 next month, with the addition of Belfast.  The loss of UK regional traffic to Amsterdam because of capacity constraints at Heathrow has featured heavily in Heathrow’s lobbying for a new runway, wanting to prevent the loss of customers to Schiphol. And wanting to keep on being the biggest international airport, by far, in Europe.  Jos Nijhuis said: “We are London’s second hub and doing very well. …I tell [Heathrow chief executive] John Holland-Kaye: ‘Consider our most western runway as yours. We can rename it Heathrow Runway Three….We are a much better transfer airport [than our rivals]. We designed the airport for transfers.” KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers said: “I don’t think additional capacity in London would make Heathrow more attractive than Schiphol to passengers in Newcastle or Humberside.” He felt higher charges needed by Heathrow to pay for a new runway would mean the runway would not reduce the traffic going via Schiphol.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/schiphol-airport-unfazed-by-prospect-of-new-london-runway-many-uk-passengers-prefer-it/
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Schiphol claims to operate Heathrow’s 3rd runway and provide the UK with global links

Schiphol airport has launching an aggressive advertising campaign, making out that it is offering more than 100 daily flights to the UK, enabling Britons to connect to 275 destinations across the world. Schiphol now serves 23 UK airports in Britain, compared with 12 offered by Gatwick and only 7 by Heathrow. Schiphol has 5 runways – compared with Heathrow’s 2 [of course, they cannot all be used at the same time – probably in practice only two are used at once].  Schiphol hopes to have more passengers etc than Heathrow within a decade (don’t they all?). The Telegraph is promoting this story, to help pile on pressure for new runways in the south east, and also as part of its continuing campaign against APD – wanting flying to be even more under-taxed than at present. The Telegraph, and Schiphol, are promoting the fear that Heathrow might be overtaken some time, with threats that ….”the Government is outsourcing Britain’s airports and jobs to our European competitors.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/11/schiphol-claim/

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Schiphol to get 3,000 fewer night flights per year – but that still leaves 29,000 per year

The number of night flights at Schiphol in the next 3 years will be reduced from 32,000 to 29,000. That still means around 80 flights per night – hugely more than other airports. There has been an agreement  – the Alders Agreement – between the airport and the local communities under the airport ‘s flight path. It allows for some growth at the airport but only within strict environmental limits. In order to remain within these limits the number of night flights had to be cut, but the agreement is only for 3 years.  Schiphol is saying that the 3,000  flights are not being switched to other airports, and it is a real reduction, not just a displacement.  Up to 2020  the limit for the number of aircraft movements at Schiphol is 510,000 per year. There are also meant to be measures to use quieter planes to cut noise and compensate residents for noise.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/11/schiphol-night/

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Not only is the election silent on climate or the new runway issue, but the runway debate is silent on climate change

The glaring omission in this election of discussion of a range of issues has been noted by many commentators. A recent open letter in the Independent asked the parties to set out their polices on a range of climate issues. Tim Johnson, Director of the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), in a letter in the Independent, has said of the gap in  the current political discourse about climate change, that this is “nowhere more apparent than in relation to the impending decision on airport expansion….Shortly after the election, the new government will receive the advice of the Airports Commission in relation to new runway capacity. But while the commission’s head, Howard Davies, speaks as though climate change impacts are being taken fully into account, in fact the commission’s own analysis predicts that aviation emissions will exceed the maximum level compatible with the UK’s Climate Change Act if any of its shortlisted schemes at Heathrow or Gatwick is granted approval. ….This enormous climate hurdle in the way of expansion appears almost totally absent from political debate. With a new runway potentially locking the UK into an emissions path entirely at odds with our long-term climate commitments, politicians will very soon need to face up to the CO2 consequences of sanctioning airport growth.”
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Letters:  Airport debate is silent on climate change

26.4.2015 (Independent on Sunday)

Peter Wadhams and his co-signatories (18 April) highlighted the gap in current political discourse about climate change. This is nowhere more apparent than in relation to the impending decision on airport expansion.

Shortly after the election, the new government will receive the advice of the Airports Commission in relation to new runway capacity. But while the commission’s head, Howard Davies, speaks as though climate change impacts are being taken fully into account, in fact the commission’s own analysis predicts that aviation emissions will exceed the maximum level compatible with the UK’s Climate Change Act if any of its shortlisted schemes at Heathrow or Gatwick is granted approval.

This enormous climate hurdle in the way of expansion appears almost totally absent from political debate. With a new runway potentially locking the UK into an emissions path entirely at odds with our long-term climate commitments, politicians will very soon need to face up to the CO2 consequences of sanctioning airport growth.

Tim Johnson
Director, Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), London, SE1

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/letters-teachers-morale-has-never-been-lower-10205545.html

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Nic Ferriday, speaking for AirportWatch, said:

“The Airports Commission is well aware that a new runway puts UK carbon targets seriously at risk. However, this is not politically convenient. All the main parties have been only too glad to keep the climate implications of a runway hidden away, and keep the highly contentious issue of a runway off the agenda for the election.

“That was why the Conservatives arranged for the Commission to only report after the election. Some would call that cynical.”

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Letters:  Climate change: time is shorter than we thought

16..4.2015 (Independent)

Atmospheric CO2 has risen above 400 parts per million and is accelerating. The Arctic Ocean may well be ice-free this summer; methane gas is being released from the melting permafrost into the atmosphere and ocean acidification is intensifying. Sea levels are now rising far faster than predicted only a couple of years ago.

All these changes are irreversible. They make maintaining the global temperature rise below 2C an illusory goal. The unavoidable outcome of this nightmare scenario is a rapidly deteriorating climatic situation.

It will pose a number of grave problems for all aspects of society in the short-term and certainly well before the end of the next parliament.

The effects will be economic as well as ecological and are already evident. The mitigation actions needed are colossal. They will drive up energy demand at a time when international agreements on climate change will require the imposition of strict limits on carbon emissions and drive up public expenditure as tax receipts from economic growth shrink.

The future of all nations is irrevocably and immediately threatened. Yet we see little or no discussion of this by any of the main political parties during this general election campaign.

We therefore request for the benefit of the electorate and as a matter of urgency that all parties specifically set down clearly what policies they propose on  the following:

– ceasing all infrastructure development in flood risk areas as determined by the latest science and observations of ice- sheet collapse;

– plans to evacuate flood-prone cities and to protect critical infrastructure such as nuclear power stations;

– moving to a zero fossil-fuel economy by the next decade, with full acknowledgment of all  the political and  economic impacts;

– the extent of international co-operation to be pursued on climate change, in particular focusing on the management of security – given the paradox that the global nuclear weapon arsenal (including Trident) is being upgraded when  the futures of all nations  are most threatened by climate change.

Peter Wadhams – Professor of Ocean Physics, University of Cambridge

Angie Zelter

Dr Mark Levene

Dr Mayer Hillman

Robert Aldridge

Professor John Whitelegg

Dr Robin Stott

Jeffrey Newman

John Pilger

Paul Ingram

Kevin Lister

 


 

Letters:  The neglect of the issue of climate change in the election

16.4.2015 (Independent)

The present election campaign is being labelled fascinating by some and frustrating by others. My frustration is the comparative neglect of  the massive issue of  climate change.

A consensus of scientists suggests that on current trends we have 15 years before the emission of greenhouse gasses destabilises the world climate disastrously and irreversibly. With this prospect, political wrangling over many other issues becomes irrelevant or even absurd.

Why should political leaders not appeal to the electorate with a programme that involves the necessary investment in renewable energy sources and the disinvestment in fossil fuels?

The financial cost of such a policy would be substantial, but the long-term benefit would be immeasurable.

People do care about the future for their children and grandchildren. Rather than buy votes for short-term advantages, shouldn’t our leaders be visionaries who can harness this deeper concern, and implement effective policies on climate that can be replicated across the world?

Maurice Sinclair

Birmingham


 

General Election 2015: Academics call on parties to set out plans to evacuate cities and move to a fossil fuel-free economy

They slammed politicians for ignoring climate change during election campaigning

by TOM BAWDEN
17 April 2015 (Independent)

Academics and campaigners are calling on all parties to set out clear plans to evacuate cities and move to a fossil fuel-free economy, as they condemn politicians of all persuasions for virtually ignoring climate change during their election campaigning.

In a letter published in the Independent, University of Cambridge Professor Peter Wadhams and nine other leading climate change experts warn that the world is headed for an ‘unavoidable nightmare’ that will “pose grave problems for all aspects of society in the short-term and certainly well before the end of the next parliament”.

Particular problems are likely to result from the rising sea levels, ocean acidification and melting Arctic ice and permafrost associated with climate change, the letter warns.

“The future of all nations is irrevocably and immediately threatened. Yet we see little to no discussion of any of this by any of the main political parties during this general election. We therefore request for the benefit of the electorate as a matter of urgency that all parties specifically set down clearly what policies they propose,” said the letter, also signed by Professor John Whitelegg of the University of York and University of Southampton genocide researcher Dr Mark Levene.

The letter also calls on parties to set out their policies for protecting critical infrastructure such as nuclear power stations from flooding, for building infrastructure in flood risk areas and for international co-operation to tackle climate change.

“I think it’s a disgrace that climate change is seeing so little attention and it’s a sad indictment of the political system in the UK and internationally,” Prof Wadhams told The Independent.

“Emissions in the UK and EU have come down a little bit but only because we have outsourced our manufacturing to China and India where emissions have gone up in leaps and bounds,” he added.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/general-election-2015-academics-call-on-parties-to-set-out-plans-to-evacuate-cities-and-move-to-a-fossil-fuelfree-economy-10185069.html

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Another area where the silence on climate impact is stunning is the possible new south-east runway.

The Airports Commission, due to make its runway recommendation shortly after the election, has given the impression that it has carefully considered the issue of carbon emissions generated when saying that Heathrow or Gatwick should expand.

The industry, the media and the politicians have taken it as unquestioned that a runway can be added without endangering carbon targets. However, the reality is that the Commission and the Department for Transport are well aware that the addition of a new runway would mean UK aviation would exceed the recommended carbon limit, if the UK is to meet its overall climate obligations. But that information is hidden away in an appendix to the Commission’s consultation.

Nic Ferriday, speaking for AirportWatch, said:

“The Airports Commission is well aware that a new runway puts UK carbon targets seriously at risk. However, this is not politically convenient. All the main parties have been only too glad to keep the climate implications of a runway hidden away, and keep the highly contentious issue of a runway off the agenda for the election.

“That was why the Conservatives arranged for the Commission to only report after the election. Some would call that cynical.”

Some background:
The Committee on Climate Change recommended in 2009 that the carbon emissions from UK aviation should not exceed their level in 2005, by 2050. The figure set for annual UK aviation carbon is 37.5 megatonnes of CO2 pa.

That level is what is required in order for the UK to have a good chance of meeting its climate targets under the Climate Change Act, by 2050.

(The target for aviation is already a very generous one – effectively double the carbon emissions compared to their level in 1990, while all other sectors have to cut theirs by 85%).

Adding a new runway in the SE does not of itself increase UK aviation CO2 emissions, but it has to be taken as part of the UK whole. Taking into account the growth forecast by the Airports Commission at all regional airports as well as a new runway in the SE, the target is breached by a large margin.

This is actually shown in the Airport Commission’s report but is buried away in the small print. www.aef.org.uk (home page) shows their results in accessible form.
The graph is shown on the attached.

While the political parties mention airport expansion when pressed, none except the Green Party are citing climate change as a consideration when discussing airport expansion.

www.airportwatch.org.uk

 

 

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Great majority of election candidates around Gatwick oppose a 2nd runway

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) members have carried out a survey of the views of parliamentary candidates about a new runway at Gatwick. All 11 Conservative Parliamentary candidates in the seats around Gatwick (Crawley, Horsham, Arundel and South Downs, Mole Valley, Reigate, East Surrey, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge & Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Mid Sussex, and Wealden) oppose a 2nd  runway.  So do all Green Party candidates.  So do all UKIP candidates.  Almost all Lib Dem candidates oppose a 2nd runway – except for a few; the odd ones out being the candidates for Crawley and Horsham.  The Labour candidates are about equally divided, half for and half against the runway.  Many of the candidates have now signed a pledge against the runway, appreciating the runway would produce an increase in aircraft noise, worsened environment and lack of infrastructure such as roads, rail, schools and hospitals. At the national level both the Labour and Conservative manifestos say in effect that they will wait for the recommendations of the Airports Commission (expected June/July).  At the Lib Dem conference last year a resolution supporting a Gatwick runway was overwhelmingly defeated, and their manifesto reflects this policy but leaves a little wriggle room if the Airports Commission comes up with “compelling new evidence.” 
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Candidates Oppose Gatwick 2nd Runway

26.4.2015

(GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

All eleven Conservative Parliamentary candidates in the seats around Gatwick oppose a second runway.  So do all Green Party candidates.  So do all UKIP candidates.

Almost all Lib Dem candidates oppose a new runway, the odd ones out being the candidates for Crawley and Horsham.  The Labour candidates are about equally divided, half for and half against.

GACC members carried out a survey of parliamentary candidates with many of them signing a pledge to oppose a new runway due to increase in aircraft noise, worsened environment and lack of infrastructure such as roads, rail, schools and hospitals.

At the national level both the Labour and Conservative manifestos say in effect that they will wait for the recommendations of the Airports Commission (expected June/July).  If all the Conservative candidates were to be re-elected the bloc of eleven votes in a hung Parliament might perhaps just be sufficient to stop the runway.

The Green Party candidates are in line with their national manifesto which opposes any new runway, mainly on climate change grounds.

The UKIP manifesto opposes any new runway but supports instead greater use of Manston.

At the Lib Dem conference last year a resolution supporting a Gatwick runway was overwhelmingly defeated, and their manifesto reflects this policy but leaves a little wriggle room if the Airports Commission comes up with compelling arguments.

The constituencies included in the survey were Crawley, Horsham, Arundel and South Downs, Mole Valley, Reigate, East Surrey, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Mid Sussex, and Wealden.

Not all candidates could be contacted but the summary above gives an accurate reflection of the majority views.

www.gacc.org.uk

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Councils around Gatwick opposed to a 2nd runway

Almost all the county, borough, district, town and parish councils around Gatwick have decided to oppose a second runway.

  • Kent County Council has reversed its position, from support for a second Gatwick runway to opposition.
  • After a long and passionate debate, West Sussex County Council councillors voted 37:26 to cancel their support in principle and to oppose a 2nd runway.
  • Surrey County Council is sticking to its policy, agreed a few years ago, to oppose a second runway unless sufficient infrastructure improvements are made first.
  • Crawley Borough Council, the planning authority for Gatwick, has voted 25:11 to oppose a second runway.
  • Horsham District Council has voted 23:1 against.
  • Mole Valley District Council has voted unanimously against.
  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has voted 39:1 against.
  • Tandridge District Council has sent in a response drawing attention to its core strategy to oppose any expansion of the airport which would adversely affect their residents.
  • Mid Sussex District Council has strongly opposed a 2nd runway
  • Wealden District Council has opposed a 2nd runway
  • Reigate and Banstead Council is still making up its mind.
  • Horley Town Council and virtually all the fifty or so parish councils around Gatwick have voted No to a runway
  • The only odd one out is East Sussex County Council which voted 27:19 to support a 2nd runway. Most of the votes in favour came from councillors in seaside areas such as Hastings or Eastbourne who were enticed by the prospect of more jobs.
  • None of the Members of Parliament around Gatwick support a 2nd runway. Eight out of nine MPs have declared their opposition. One (Henry Smith) says that Gatwick have not yet made a case for a new runway, and has now stated that the costs would outweigh the benefits.

 

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and see

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/01/crawley-borough-council-votes-by-2611-to-oppose-second-runway-at-gatwick/  for much more on councils opposed to a new Gatwick runway

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