Number of noise complaints around Chicago O’Hare airport rise to over 2.1 million up to end of July 2015

The number of complaints about aircraft noise from O’Hare Airport topped 2 million during the first 7 months of this year — 8 times the number filed in all of 2014. The total number of complaints so far this year hit a record 2,150,258, according to a report the city provided to the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission. Though 35% of the complaints in July came from 10 addresses, the total number of addresses from which complaints came was 44,502, compared with 2,705 in July 2014.  Noise complaints have soared since October 2013 when a 4th east-west parallel runway [O’Hare has 8 runways] opened and the FAA changed O’Hare flight patterns. The majority of flights take off and land westbound and eastbound. A 5th east-west runway is due to open this October. Then a 6th east-west runway in planned. Air traffic activity has been temporarily altered this summer due to the runway construction. Some of the runways are in the “fly-quiet” noise abatement program, on which pilots are asked to follow recommended procedures to reduce noise between 10 pm and 7 am, but it is up to the pilot to decide whether to follow the guidelines. Though it is in a “fly quiet” area, Schiller Park is among the communities where the noise has been worse. Its mayor said: “It’s just distressing. …Our people cannot take it any more. It’s just insane.”


Chicago O'Hare airport map

Map of the airport


Chicago O’Hare Airport has 8 runways; an east-west runway on the south end of the airfield is set to open in a few weeks and a diagonal runway across the airport was just closed.  With this +1 and -1 the airport stays at 8 runways. There are plans to open more runways, and close another over the next 5 years as part of a major update.
You can see the runways in this document from the City of Chicago:


O’Hare noise complaints top 2 million for year

O'Hare jet noise Schiller Park

A plane flies over homes along South Avenue in Schiller Park on July 30, 2015. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

By Jon Hilkevitch (Chicago Tribune)

The number of people filing complaints about O’Hare jet noise has exploded. Complaints about jet noise from O’Hare International Airport topped 2 million during the first seven months of this year — eight times the number filed in all of 2014, the Chicago Department of Aviation said on Friday.

The total so far this year hit a record 2,150,258, according to a report the city provided to the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission. In 2014, a total of 268,211 complaints were received by the city online and on a phone hotline. City officials noted that 35 percent of the noise complaints in July came from 10 addresses, but the number of people filing complaints has exploded. In July, complaints came from 44,502 addresses, compared with 2,705 addresses in July 2014.

The 382,999 noise complaints received in July were lower than the monthly number of complaints that Chicago-area residents filed in the previous three months, according to the report.

Noise complaints have soared since October 2013 when, coinciding with the opening of a fourth east-west parallel runway, the Federal Aviation Administration changed O’Hare flight patterns. The majority of flights take off and land westbound and eastbound.

A fifth east-west runway is set to open Oct. 15 on the far south edge of the airfield near Bensenville.

Air traffic activity has been temporarily altered this summer because of airfield construction, Aaron Frame, an assistant commissioner for the environment at the city Aviation Department, told the commission.

For example, diagonal runway 22 Left, which is aligned northeast to southwest on the south airfield, handled 20 percent of nighttime departures in July, up from 17 percent in June, the noise report said. The runway is not a “fly-quiet” noise abatement runway. The city’s voluntary fly-quiet program designates specific runways. Pilots are asked to follow recommended procedures to reduce noise between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., but it is up to the pilot, who factors in such variables as weather, wind direction, the amount of fuel on board and the weight of the plane in deciding whether to follow the guidelines.

Schiller Park is among the communities where jet noise has gotten worse since the air traffic changes, according to data from ground-based noise monitors.

Runway 10 Left-28 Right, which lines up with Lawrence Avenue and Schiller Park, was used for 36 percent of daytime departures in July and 25 percent of nighttime departures, the city report said.

It is a fly-quiet runway, but Schiller Park Mayor Barbara Piltaver pointed out that her town’s residents suffer from the highest noise levels, averaging 73.2 decibels in July, among 33 monitoring sites located both close to the airport and spread out more than 20 miles away.

“It’s just distressing,” Piltaver, a noise commission member, told the commission. “Our people cannot take it anymore. It’s just insane.”

If and when the proposed sixth and final east-west runway is built, Chicago and the FAA project that noise levels in Schiller Park will decline to a daily average of about 68 decibels.

O'Hare International Airport (USGS).png

Satellite image of O’Hare airport and its runways


Chicago O'Hare Intl Chicago, IL (KORD): AIRPORT DIAGRAM (APD)

Some of the comments below the article:

It is a tough argument….you don’t have to live next door to O’Hare to have patio time ruined by a plane every 90 seconds. When O’Hare was built it really was in the boonies next to a little blue-collar town named Bensenville. But density has surrounded O’Hare and it is now too entrenched in its location so everyone else will have to do the moving or learn to live with it.

Look at Midway — 100% solid density right up to the surrounding four streets.
I bought a home very near the railroad tracks. they built a second track. lots more noise. oil tanker traffic has increased greatly. I BOUGHT A HOME VERY NEAR THE RAILROAD TRACKS.
get over it!


And the great news is that the City of Chicago is paying over $8 BILLION for this project and neither American Airlines or United Airlines are paying a penny. This whole O’Hare re-do, expansion, etc…. has been an epic flop. Flight times are WORSE. Thanks Mayor Chucky and Tiny Dancer

What part of the memo, “World’s Busiest Airport”, did all these whiners miss when they decided to move near O’Hare?

and after many along the lines of the one above: I love the 6th grade spouting here. Towns like Bensenville did not have noise issues until the city of Chicago expanded the airport (bensenville never approved the expansion). in this economy, just stating “move if you don’t like it” or ” geez I’m smart I will not move near an airport” are juvenile at best. Moving a family from one home to another is difficult – after the fact. The issue here is the city running amok. And if you don’t think some crooked municipality will mess with your livelihood in the future you better start thinking again.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport

Local group for citizens affected by the airport – FAiR  – Fair Allocation in Runways

– is the 5th busiest airport in the world (after Atlanta, Beijing, London Heathrow and Tokyo Haneda) with 66,883,271 passengers passing through the airport in 2013.

– O’Hare Airport serves an approximate average of 2,409 aircraft operations per day.

– The airport is connected with more than 60 foreign destinations.

– There are 8 runways in the airport with lengths varying from 2,286m to 3,962m

– There are 4 Terminals with a total of 9 concourses and 182 gates





Chicago O’Hare diagonal runway closed after noise complaints

Chicago O’Hare diagonal runway at center of noise complaints is closed for safety reasons

CHICAGO (AP) — A runway at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport that has been at the center of a fight over jet noise is closed.

The Daily Herald in Arlington Heights reports ( ) that Runway 14-Left/32-Right was stripped of its identification numbers on Thursday.

State lawmakers and resident groups near O’Hare opposed the diagonal runway’s closure because the construction of a parallel system of six runways is causing some neighborhoods to suffer from jet noise.

Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans has said the closed runway and a second diagonal runway slated for closure are unsafe because they intersect others and reduce airport efficiency.

There are four diagonal runways at O’Hare, and Evans indicates it’s likely a third will be closed.

Information from: Daily Herald,




FAiR citizens’ movement in Chicago wins the right to take part in talks on flight paths

O’Hare airport in Chicago has 8 runways. The local campaign group, FAiR (Fair Allocation in Runways) has been campaigning for some time for all the diagonal runways to be used, in order to distribute the noise more fairly over surrounding areas. Now FAiR has won the right to have a seat at the table in talks about the noise problem with Illinois State and Chicago City officials and the FAA. A new Joint House Resolution also acknowledges the validity of city and suburban residents’ complaints about the drastic increase in planes, noise and pollution since the October 2013 changes in flight patterns and runway usage at the airport – due to NextGen (the US equivalent of PBN and concentrated flight paths that are becoming a serious problem in the UK). In addition, the resolution calls for the city to ask the FAA to delay any action regarding the diagonal runways due to be decommissioned until all hearings and meetings are completed. They also want the FAA to hold meetings about the aircraft noise problem in the areas newly impacted by the October 2013 changes. FAiR say the only three previous hearings on the O’Hare Modernization Plan held in 2005 were intentionally conducted outside the noise contour area and were minimally announced to the public.



Illinois State Senate passes bills designed to reduce O’Hare jet noise

In late 2013 the flight paths at Chicago O’Hare airport were changed, and since then thousands of residents have been exposed to far more aircraft noise. The authorities are trying to find ways to reduce their noise exposure.  The Illinois Senate has now unanimously approved legislation to mitigate jet noise by increasing the cap on the number of runways to 10 from 8, and prohibiting the city of Chicago from closing and demolishing any of the airport’s 4 diagonal runways. The aim is to distribute the noise more evenly. The two bills are aimed at expanding O’Hare flight paths are going next to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration.  If one of the diagonal runways is closed, its flights will be distributed to the other runways, causing more noise for some people. Keeping 10 runways operational at O’Hare would increase maintenance costs. And while all 10 runways would never be used simultaneously, the more complex airfield layout could create safety risks involving more planes taxiing across runways on their way to the gate or other runways. Noise complaints filed online and to a city-operated hot line totalled 39,500 in January, setting a new monthly record.  In 2014, for the whole year, noise complaints totalled 268,211, also an all-time high.




Chicago voters get chance to be heard in public ballot on O’Hare airport noise problem

Chicago O’Hare airport has a new 4th runway that opened in October 2013 as well another new 5th runway that is due to open in late 2015. Others are planned. Since the start of 2014 there has been a distinct change in the flight paths, and huge opposition to the change. The number of complaints to the airport have risen sharply, month after month. However (and how often this has been heard from UK airports too) the authorities claim the numbers are false, as some people complain multiple times. This masks the fact that some don’t complain at all, being unsure how to, and being unconvinced that the airport will take any notice whatsoever. There is now a ballot of residents in 7 affected suburbs of Chicago, but all such referendums in Illinois are only “advisory.”  The questions being asked are on whether the FAA should create and enforce mandatory “fly-quiet” hours around O’Hare. The restrictions would replace the existing voluntary guidelines that ask airlines and pilots to try to reduce noise impacts after 10 pm. Another asks if aircraft noise should be reduced after 7pm,  and people are also asked about more noise insulation being available.  Airport had about 66.9 million passengers in 2013.  Chicago O’Hare on Wikipedia.




Chicago O’Hare airport new runway & flightpaths creating huge opposition by those now over-flown

Chicago O’Hare airport currently has many runways but not all can be used simultaneously. The airport has been building more, reducing the lengths of others, to get three parallel runways can be used together. There has been a lot of controversy about the plans over many years, with compulsory purchase of land, from residents who did not want to move.  There is now huge protest against the noise. A group representing city and suburban home-owners, the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition (FAiR), is asking the Chicago Aviation Commissioner to resign or for the Mayor to fire her.  FAiR say there is  “mounting frustration over the lack of response from the Mayor on possible remedies concerning “the ceaseless airplane noise” since air-traffic patterns were changed last autumn.  The Aviation Commissioner has refused to consider altering the use of runways at night to spread out jet noise instead of concentrating it over one or two air corridors. FAiR says she has made up her mind that there will be no change at O’Hare no matter how many citizens demand change, no matter what solutions are proposed and no matter how devastating the impact of her decisions on families, children and seniors, and even entire neighbourhoods.



Information about the Chicago O’Hare runways from the airport at


Runways – information from Wikipedia:

Runway layout at ORD

On October 17, 2013 O’Hare opened Runway 10C-28C. The opening of this eighth runway marked the completion of the Phase II expansion project. O’Hare landings have been reconfigured to predominately use a triple arrival scheme utilizing three of the four parallel runways, with the fourth runway being used for takeoffs.

Before the opening of 10C-28C, the new runway, 9L/27R which opened in November 2008, O’Hare had seven runways in three roughly-parallel sets. The longest is Runway 10L–28R, 13,001 by 150 feet (3,963 m × 46 m). Runways 9L, 10C, 10L, 14L, 14R, 27L, 27R, 28C and 28R have Category III instrument landing systems (ILS),[53] allowing trained aircrews to conduct landings with as little as 600 feet (180 m) of horizontal visibility. All other runway approaches except 4L and 32L have full Category I ILS. Runway 4L is seldom used for landings and has a localizer, the horizontal guidance component of an ILS system, but does not have a glideslope, the vertical component. Runway 32L was permanently closed to landings when the section south of the crossing with Runway 10L/28R was closed due to 10C/28C construction.[54]

Prior to the runway reconfiguration, all of O’Hare’s runways intersected each other with the exception of 4R/22L. This created problems in inclement weather, busy times, or high winds, and several near-collisions. The redevelopment, which essentially eliminates most active runway intersections, is intended to reduce collision hazards and delays.

The field started with four clustered runways; in March 1950 all were 5,500 to 5,750 feet (1,680–1,750 m) long. Runway 14 (later 14L) became 7,345 feet (2,239 m) around 1952; the 8,000-foot (2,400 m) runway 14R/32L opened in 1956 and became 11,600 feet (3,500 m) long in 1960. The 10,000-foot (3,000 m) 9R/27L (now designated 10L/28R) opened in 1968 and 14L became 10,000 feet (3,000 m) long around the same time. 4R/22L opened in 1971 and the new 9L/27R in 2008. In 2003 the fourth original runway (18/36) closed; its short length, lack of use, and placement no longer justified certification. Runway 18/36 is now taxiway M on airport charts.

The redevelopment, when completed, will remove the two northwest–southeast runways (14/32 L/R), construct four additional east–west runways (10C/28C, 10R/28L, 9L/27R, and 9C/27C), and extend the existing east–west runways (9R/27L and 10L/28R). The two existing northeast–southwest (4/22 L/R) runways will be retained. Currently, two of the four new runways have been constructed (9L/27R, 10C/28C), and one of the two extensions (10L/28R) has been completed.

In the earlier airfield layout, 32L was often used for takeoffs in a shortened configuration. Planes reached the runway at taxiway T10 (common) or taxiway N, formerly M (not common). This shortened the runway but allowed operations on runway 10L/28R to continue without restriction. The full length of the runway was available upon request, though with the extension of 10L/28R it was usually not needed. In May 2010 runway 14R/32L was permanently shortened to 9,685 feet (2,952 m) and it now starts at taxiway N.

O’Hare has a voluntary nighttime (2200–0700) noise abatement program.[55]

The runway reconfiguration at O’Hare will also improve the airport for future Airbus A380 service. On July 5, 2007 the runway previously designated 9R/27L became runway 10/28. On May 2, 2013, that same runway (10/28) became 10L/28R. On August 30, 2007, runway 9L/27R became 9R/27L.[56]

On September 25, 2008, a 2,857-foot (871 m) extension to 10L/28R opened.[57] On May 2, 2013, airport diagrams published by the FAA depicted the runway previously designated 10/28 as 10L/28R.[58]

Runway 10C/28C was commissioned and opened for regular use on October 17, 2013.[59] On October 17, 2013, airport diagrams published by the FAA depicted the runway as open.[53]







Read more »

Study done for Airports Commission shows 3rd Heathrow runway could place thousands more children at risk of sleep, reading and memory problems

The Teddington Action Group (TAG) has written to all headteachers in London to alert them to the findings of a report published by the Airports Commission (1st July), admitting that thousands of extra children could experience sleep, reading and memory problems as a result of a 3rd runway at Heathrow.  The TAG letter highlights the findings of the report “Aircraft noise effects on health”, by Dr Charlotte Clark of Queen Mary University of London. This points to evidence of the health and educational effects on children of aviation noise. These include: sleep disturbance and changes in sleep structure; decreased quality of life; and decreased reading performance. The report estimates that an additional 24 schools will suffer from aircraft noise above the maximum levels recommended by the WHO if a 3rd runway is built, placing thousands of extra children at risk of decreased educational attainment. TAG said parents would be concerned about the report’s findings, and how little weight was put on this issue by the Commission. The first part of the report is a review of the evidence on the effect of aircraft noise on health including psychological health; the second part deals with the effects of aircraft noise on children’s cognition and learning. and the implications for the proposed runway schemes.



Aircraft  Noise Effects on Health

by Queen Mary, University of London, for the Airports Commission

by Dr Charlotte Clark, Centre for Psychiatry, Barts & the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London.  May 2015


1. Introduction

Recent years have seen an increase in the strength of the evidence linking environmental noise exposure (road, rail, airport and industrial noise) to health. The World Health Organization (WHO, 2011) recently estimated that between 1 and 1.6 million healthy life years (Disability-Adjusted Life Years) are lost annually because of environmental noise exposure1, such as road traffic noise and aircraft noise, in high income western European Countries. The WHO estimated that each year 903,000 DALYS are lost due to sleep disturbance; 654,000 DALYS due to noise annoyance; 61,000 DALYS due to heart disease; and 45,000 DALYS due to cognitive impairment in children.

Aircraft noise negatively influences health if the exposure is long-term and exceeds certain levels (Basner et al., 2014). This review briefly summarizes the strength of the evidence for aircraft noise effects on cardiovascular health, sleep disturbance, annoyance, psychological well-being, and effects on children’s cognition and learning, as well as briefly discussing guidelines for environment noise exposure. This evidence is related to the three shortlisted schemes for the new runway.

This is a selective review focusing on reviews assessing the strength of the evidence, as well as high quality, robust, large-scale epidemiological field studies of aircraft noise exposure, highlighting studies that have been conducted within the United Kingdom, where possible. It represents key studies within the field butshould not be considered an exhaustive review. Studies of road traffic noise, as opposed to aircraft noise, have only been included where evidence for aircraft noise exposure is unavailable.




And the CONCLUSION says:

5. Conclusion

The health effects of environmental noise are diverse, serious, and because of widespread exposure, very prevalent (Basner et al, 2014). For populations around airports, aircraft noise exposure can be chronic. Evidence is increasing to support preventive measures such as insulation, policy, guidelines, & limit values. Efforts to reduce exposure should primarily reduce annoyance, improve learning environments for children, and lower the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease (Basner et al, 2014).


On the increase in schools with a Heathrow runway, it says:

3.3.2. Heathrow-NWR    [Page 22]

“It is estimated that in 2030, compared with the Do-Minimum scenario, that there will be 49 fewer schools exposed to 54dB LAeq 16 hour. In 2040 it is estimated that there will be 12 additional schools exposed to >54dB LAeq 16 hour and in 2050 24 additional schools exposed to >54dB LAeq 16 hour.

“In 2030 there is a reduction of 2 in the number of schools exposed to N70>20. However, there are increases in the number of schools exposed to N70>20 in 2040 and 2050, and for N70>50, N70>100 and N70>200 in 2030, 2040 and 2050. There is also a small increase (n=2) in the number of schools exposed to N70>500 in 2040 and 2050. Schools experiencing a high number of events over 70dB would benefit from being included in insulation schemes.”




Third runway at Heathrow could place thousands more children at risk of sleep, reading and memory problems


A community group has written to all headteachers in London to alert them to the findings of a report published by the Airports Commission, admitting that thousands of extra children could experience sleep, reading and memory problems as a result of a third runway at Heathrow.

Teddington Action Group’s letter, which coincides with the first day of term at most schools, highlights the findings of the report “Aircraft noise effects on health”, which was published on 1 July 2015 by the Airports Commission.  The report points to evidence of the health and educational effects on children of aviation noise, which include:

  • sleep disturbance and changes in sleep structure
  • decreased quality of life
  • decreased reading performance

The report estimates that an additional 24 schools will suffer from aircraft noise above the maximum levels recommended by the World Health Organisation if a third runway is built. The national average school size is 220 pupils per primary school and 950 pupils per secondary school, so this would result in somewhere between 5,280 to 22,800 extra children at risk of decreased educational attainment.

Incredibly, this document was only published on 1 July as a separate addendum to the Airports Commission’s final report.  Its content does not feature within the main body of the Commission’s report and its content was not subject to public consultation.

Teddington Action Group’s letter urges headteachers to write to the Secretary of State for Education, asking her to ensure that the effects of airport expansion on children are given appropriate consideration by the Government when it decides whether to accept the Airports Commission’s recommendation to build a third runway at Heathrow.

A spokesperson for Teddington Action Group said:

“Any parent will be very concerned about the findings of this latest research. The fact that they hardly get a mention in the Commission’s 342 page final report shows how little weight the Commission placed on the human cost of airport expansion. This report highlights that it will be the younger generations that will pay the highest price of expansion.  “


For further information, please contact



The letter from the Teddington Action Group to the Headteachers said:

3 September 2015

Dear Headteacher

Effects of aircraft noise on education

We are writing to alert you to new research, which points to evidence of significant adverse effects of aircraft noise on children’s education and health.

Teddington Action Group is a group of residents, many of whom are parents, who are opposed to increases in aircraft noise and pollution from Heathrow Airport.

You will no doubt be aware that the Airports Commission, which was set up by the Government to examine the need for additional UK airport capacity, recently published its final report recommending that a third runway be built at Heathrow Airport.

As part of its work, the Commission asked Dr Charlotte Clark, a respected researcher at Barts & the London School of Medicine, to prepare a report looking at the effects of aviation noise on health and the associated impact of the three shortlisted runway options. This report was never consulted upon and was only published along with the Commission’s final report on 1 July.  Dr Clark’s report can be found at

Dr Clark’s report summarises the current evidence on the health and educational impacts of aviation noise, acknowledging that:

  • Evidence for children concluded that there were associations between aircraft noise and high blood pressure, which may have implications for adult health (p.2);
  • Children aged 9-11 years of age living near London Heathrow reported annoyance for aircraft noise exposure at school and at home (p.9);
  • Night-time noise is associated with sleep disturbance and changes in sleep structure. Aircraft noise exposure during the evening and early morning also has relevance for the health and sleep quality of the local population, and may be particularly relevant for children (p.18).
  • Based on current evidence, aircraft noise might be associated with decreased quality of life (p.19);
  • Many studies have found effects of aircraft noise exposure at school or home on children’s reading comprehension or memory skills. One study, which included 9-10 year old children from schools around London Heathrow, found that aircraft noise was associated with poorer reading comprehension and poorer recognition memory. The same study indicated that as aircraft noise exposure increased, reading performance decreased (p.19).
  • The development of cognitive skills such as reading and memory is important, not only in terms of education but also subsequent life chances and adult heath (p,19).

We hope that you share our view that the findings of this research are extremely concerning.

The report also estimates that an additional 24 schools will suffer from aircraft noise above the maximum levels recommended by the World Health Organisation if a third runway is built. The national average school size is 220 pupils per primary school and 950 pupils per secondary school, so this would result in somewhere between 5,280 to 22,800 extra children at risk of decreased educational attainment.  The new flight paths are yet to be confirmed so the actual number could be much higher, and in any case, these figures are over and above the many thousands of children already living under Heathrow’s flightpaths and suffering the adverse effects highlighted by Dr Clark’s report.

Unbelievably, the effects of Heathrow expansion on children barely get a mention in the Commission’s 342 page final report and children were excluded from the Commission’s quality of life study.  There was no attempt to cost the negative impact of expansion on education, for example the cost of the additional educational support required in schools to mitigate the effects of decreased reading performance.

Dr Clark recommends that newly affected and existing schools exposed to high levels of aircraft noise should be insulated, but also states that such a large-scale insulation programme should be evaluated empirically to ensure its effectiveness.  She acknowledges that children spend a considerable amount of time at school in the playground and that play is thought to be important for children’s social, cognitive, emotional and physical development, as well as enabling relaxation between more formal teaching activities. Dr Clark states “Unfortunately, at this time, there is no empirical evidence upon which to draw conclusions about how aircraft noise exposure might impact upon children’s use of playground settings”.

We are concerned that the human impact of airport expansion is at risk of being overlooked in favour of economic arguments.  If you share these concerns, we ask that you write to the Secretary of State for Education asking her to ensure that the effect on children is given the appropriate consideration by the Government when it considers whether to accept the Airport Commission’s recommendation to build a third runway at Heathrow.

An example letter that you may wish to use or amend is attached for your convenience.

Yours faithfully




Secretary of State for Education

Sanctuary Buildings

20 Great Smith Street

London SW1P 3BT


Secretary of State for Transport

Great Minster House

33 Horseferry Road

London SW1P 4DR


The paper says, on psychological health: (Page 9) that:

“There have been fewer studies of aircraft noise effects on adult psychological health. The HYENA study, found that a 10dB increase in day-time (LAeq 16 hour) was associated 9 with a 28% increase in anxiety medication use: similarly, a 10dB increase in night-time (Lnight) aircraft noise was associated with a 27% increase in anxiety medication use. However, day-time and night-time aircraft noise exposure were not associated with sleep medication or anti-depressant medication use (Floud et al., 2011). Anxiety medication is prescribed for individuals experiencing levels of anxiety and worry that interfere with their ability to function effectively: they can also be prescribed for sleeping problems. A sub-study of the HYENA study found that salivary cortisol (a stress hormone which is higher in people with depression) was 34% higher for women exposed to aircraft noise > 60dB LAeq 24 hour, compared to women exposed to less than 50dB LAeq 24 hour (Selander et al., 2009). However, no association between aircraft noise and salivary cortisol was found for men.”
and on Page 19:
“Based on current evidence aircraft noise might be associated with decreased quality of life but is unlikely to be causing psychological ill-health. The increases in hyperactivity symptoms observed for children are small and unlikely to be of clinical significance in the population exposed. The evidence relating to aircraft noise effects on psychological health should be re-reviewed throughout the planning process, as further evidence becomes available.”

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Stansted Airport announces consultation on concentrating departure routes – ends 27th November

Stansted Airport has launched a public consultation on a new take-off procedure that the airport says will “reduce aircraft noise for more than 4,000 people living near the airport.” The new performance based navigation procedure (PBN) uses GPS technology that enables aircraft to fly flight paths more accurately. [This means more concentrated, narrow flight paths – so a smaller number of people are over-flown, but they get far more planes . The effect has been, at other airports, to make the noise intolerable for a minority of people, whose health and quality of life can be adversely affected.  The airlines and the airports like the PBN system, as it can lead to fuel savings and therefore greater profits. However, this can be at the expense of those adversely affected under the newly narrowed flight routes].  Stansted says results from a trial on two of the airport’s existing departure routes showed that 85% fewer people were directly overflown by aircraft using the new procedure.  [ie. concentrated, narrow flight paths]. The airport has to consult, before submitting the changes to the CAA for approval. Stansted hopes it will not get too much negative feedback. Unless there is a considerable level of public opposition, the flight path changes will become permanent.  


Stansted airport says:

“Together with the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee’s Environmental Issues Group, over the last two years we have conducted an airspace trial at Stansted that we feel demonstrates significant and positive improvements for the local area. The results of the trial are shared in these consultation documents and we want to hear the views from members of our local communities.”

Consultation summary

Consultation document



To respond to this consultation, you can send your thoughts via email at:

Alternatively, write to:

Airspace Consultation Team
Airfield Operations
3rd Floor
Enterprise House
Stansted Airport
CM24 1QW

As part of your response, please indicate:

  • Your name and location.
  • If you are commenting on behalf of an organisation.
  • Whether or not you support adopting the technology used in the trial. 
  • Please also indicate if you do not wish your name, or any other personal details to be included in the consultation feedback report.

The consultation began on 1st September 2015 and will close on 27th November 2015. If you wish to comment on the consultation, please do so in advance of the closing date.



Stansted Airport announces plan to reduce aircraft noise – Have your say

1 September 2015
By Michael Steward (Dunmow Broadcast)

Stansted Airport has launched a public consultation on a new take-off procedure today (September 1) that will reduce aircraft noise for more than 4,000 people living near the airport.

The new performance based navigation procedure uses modern Global Positioning System (GPS) technology that enables aircraft to fly flight paths more accurately when taking off from the airport.

Results from a trial on two of the airport’s existing departure routes showed that 85% fewer people were directly overflown by aircraft using the new procedure.

The airport has been working on the initiative for two years and is now seeking views from the local community to help shape its final proposal before submission to the Civil Aviation Authority for approval.

Andrew Harrison, Stansted’s managing director, said: “We all look forward to hearing the feedback from the community about this innovative project which demonstrates significant and positive improvements for local residents around the airport.”

Keith Artus, chairman of the Environmental Issues Group from the Stansted consultive committee, said: “We feel the noise and environmental benefits from this project are considerable and urge our local communities to look at the achievements and facts provided in the consultation materials and make their responses accordingly.”

The consultation runs for 12 weeks until November 27, and more information can be found at:


See earlier:


NATS proposes more low flying Stansted planes over north Essex & SSE will keep fighting changes to departure routes

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) will keep fighting planned changes to the airport’s departure flight paths. NATS first proposed changes to Stansted flight paths in June, but SSE say there must be clear and compelling benefits for local residents before any shift is implemented. NATS plans to route about 50 more outbound planes per day along a flightpath towards Clacton to avoid congestion in the skies over London. NATS received over 400 responses to its recent airspace consultation; about 82% objected to the proposed changes. NATS has now published its Feedback Report claiming that “the package of net operational and environmental benefits presents a compelling case for change”. The changes help NATS meet its targets for flight efficiency, which give more priority to cutting fuel burn and CO2 emissions than cutting noise for those overflown. The planes are unlikely to reach 7,000ft until around Kelvedon, and between 4,000 and 7,000 feet, there has to be a trade-off between cutting noise and cutting fuel burn. Hence consultation. NATS has submitted its Airspace Change Proposal to the CAA and if approved the change would come into effect in December 2015.

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Stop Stansted Expansion supports call to take part in flight path consultation, and says changes should be postponed

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) welcomes NATS’ call to local residents to have their say and respond to the proposed transfer of traffic on departure routes from Stansted Airport. The proposed change involves switching daytime traffic from the existing south-east (Dover) departure route to the existing east (Clacton) route (see map). The consultation closes on 8th September. Traffic on the Clacton route would double if this proposal were implemented. NATS’ own figures show 1,470 fewer people would be overflown, but 2,400 people would be overflown more intensively. NATS says that the driver for change is network performance and to avoid Heathrow traffic congestion. SSE says significant changes to Stansted’s airspace are likely to come in the next airspace review phase scheduled for 2018/19. If there is a new south east runway, that will mean significant redesign of Stansted routes in future. Therefore SSE says there must be clear and compelling benefits for local residents before any changes are implemented. They recommend that NATS’ proposed changes should be postponed until the airspace redesign planned for 2018/19.

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Plan to redirect Stansted Airport departures to reduce Heathrow congestion

Air traffic control service NATS proposes to redirect the majority of Stansted departures from an established southerly route, to an existing route to the east of the airport. “At the moment, departures from Stansted heading towards the South East are kept lower for longer when compared to the route heading east because of Heathrow arrivals.” The changes would only affect daytime departures. This is to reduce congestion above Heathrow. Arrivals are not affected. NATS has started a 12-week consultation on the proposals. Martin Peachey, noise advisor for Stop Stansted Expansion campaign group said: “We basically support the proposal because NATS say it should reduce the amount of people flown in the day and reduce CO2 emissions. It would remove day time departures for a large area to the south but it would double the amount of flights to the east so that would need to be carefully studied. …. There will be winners and losers.” The changes are part of the NATS’ London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP).

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Protesters set up camp in forest due to be cleared for Frankfurt airport 3rd terminal and access road

The operator of Frankfurt airport, Fraport, is planning a 3rd terminal, as it claims this is needed for it to remain competitive against other European hub airports.  This new terminal would add enough capacity for 14 million more passengers a year when it opens in the first half of 2022. The airport can currently handle 64 million, but Fraport says there will be demand for 68 million to 73 million passengers by 2021.  Over 4 days, airport protesters set up a camp in the nearby Treburger Oberwald forest, that is to be cleared in the course of the construction of a third terminal at Frankfurt airport.  The peaceful event, “Forest instead of concrete,” organised by the group,  Robin Wood, made the point that not only would be increased number of flights increase the carbon emissions of German aviation, but the loss of some 60 hectares of forest for the terminal and access road would also increase CO2. The protesters also hang up a banner in protest outside the concrete and gravel supplier Sehring, which profits from the environmentally damaging construction projects. Before the construction of the new north-west runway, the activists had occupied trees in Kelsterbach Forest for 9 months until their camp was cleared in February 2009 by the police.

Summer Camp at Frankfurt airport: Forest instead of concrete – Protest at Kieswerk Sehring


 [Imperfect translation from the original German below].


Banner action outside the factory of Sehring AG against forest destruction for the airport expansion (Photo: M. Flörsheimer)

Robin Wood Frankfurt protest 28.8.2015

In protest against the planned expansion of Frankfurt airport, this afternoon at Waldsee Langen in front of Kieswerk Sehring, activists from the group ROBIN WOOD demonstrated. Two activists climbed trees outside the factory and hung up a banner with the slogan: “We know no mercy in the forest for concrete”.

The concrete and gravel supplier Sehring is a profiteer of socially and environmentally incompatible airport expansion. The company wants to grub up 60 hectares for further Auskiesung in Bannwald am Waldsee Langen. By contrast, there are many years of resistance, including in court.  So the Hessian Land Association of BUND tried to stop the company’s destruction of the land by their action.

“Forest instead of concrete” is also taking part in the climate camp in Treburer Oberwald, which began today. It is located in a wooded area that is to be cleared in the course of the construction of a third terminal at Frankfurt airport. The new terminal makes a huge capacity expansion possible. More air traffic means more noise, dirt, more damage to health and more climate damage.

ROBIN WOOD demands: Bannwald obtained – No Terminal 3 – deconstruction instead expansion of Frankfurt Airport!


No Terminal 3 – deconstruction instead of expansion Summer camp against airport expansion in Frankfurt has begun

Original German at

(Frankfurt / Main) Summer camp against the construction of a third terminal at Frankfurt Airport has started today in the Treburer upper forest.  Environmentalists who are part of the Robin Wood initiative, are  in the wooded area south of Zeppelinheim, which is due to be cleared for the construction project of the 3rd terminal.  They will be there till Sunday, for 4 days.

Fraport AG wants to make the ground-breaking ceremony starting work for the terminal this autumn.

ROBIN WOOD calls for the renunciation of Terminal 3. The environmental organization supports the Alliance of Citizen Initiatives against airport expansion with the camp in the region. They say:

“The Rhine-Main region cannot cope with a further increase in air traffic. We request demolition [of the airport] instead of expansion”, says ROBIN WOOD activist Peter Black. “With our camp we want to experience the forest, that is due to be destroyed for The Juggernaut airport “

For the construction of a motorway connection and the site access to the third terminal, the airport plans to clear six acres of mixed forest.   [??] 60 hectares of forest for more The Project by Gravel Mining Company eats watch ring the Waldsee Langen. The total amount of land over the decades would be more than 2,000 hectares of forest destroyed for the Rhine-Main airport.

Frankfurt Airport handled 60 million passengers in 2014. After the completion of the two stages of construction of the third terminal it might be 90 million passengers.  That is a huge increase in capacity, which roughly corresponds to the passenger traffic of the airport of Dusseldorf and Cologne / Bonn. The expansion would allow an increase in the annual number of aircraft movements by approx. 490,000 to 701,000.

From the perspective of ROBIN WOOD, it is irresponsible and unfair to build the infrastructure for air transport, which is the most dangerous transport for climate change. Air transport contributes at least 5% to global warming. Only a small fraction of the world’s population benefits from it.   The people in the global South are the first to feel consequences of Climate Change.

“Aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. The protection of the forest is the most effective way to protect the climate. We are here to [?] prevent the dual climate damage caused by the planned third terminal, as well as the loss of the forest “, says ROBIN WOOD traffic manager Monika.  

The Summer Camp cordially invites all interested parties to come.   They will be offered a varied program:   this includes a botanical tour (10: 00 ), trial climbing lessons (from 12 noon), workshops on nuclear shipments (14: 00) as well as noise and ground water pollution (5: 00) and a concert of singer-songwriter Siggie Lama (8: 00) on Saturday (Friedrichswerder ). A journey through the history of resistance against airport expansion expected visitors from 11:. 00 on Sunday (30.8) Then, the traditional cake stand of civil initiatives in the region takes place at 14: 00. [? !]


For Further inquiries:
ROBIN WOOD contact at summer camp, Tel 0176/94 92 09 56th

Monika put, traffic officer, Tel. 040/380 892 21, Monika Lege, Transport Officer, tel. 040/380 892 21,

Ute Bertrand, Press Officer, tel: 0171/835 95 15, Ute Bertrand, Press Officer, Tel 0171/835 95 15.


Frankfurt Airport to Build Terminal 3 as Spare Capacity Runs Out

By Richard Weiss
April 15, 2015
Fraport AG, the operator of Frankfurt airport, said it will build a third terminal at a cost of as much as $3.2 billion in a bid to remain competitive against other European hubs.
Terminal 3 will add capacity for 14 million more passengers a year when it opens in the first half of 2022. The airport can currently handle 64 million, which will be overtaken by demand for 68 million to 73 million by 2021, Fraport said.
“We are already late in realizing the third terminal, we would need it in 2020 rather than in 2022,” Chief Executive Officer Stefan Schulte said at a press conference at the airport today. “We must remain competitive against state-of-the-art terminals in London, Paris, and Barcelona.”
The building in the southern part of the airport will cost almost  €2 billion, and the price for connecting it to local rail systems is another €500 million, Chief Financial Officer Matthias Zieschang said.
Costs to build highways may bring the total to as much as €3 billion, he said. Fraport previously said the terminal would open in 2021.
Fraport shares rose 3.1% to €58.13 at 3:22 p.m. in Frankfurt, taking the advance to 21 percent this year.
Istanbul Growth
The airport may soon lose its place as Europe’s third-largest hub. In 2014, travelers through Frankfurt rose 2.6 percent to 59.6 million, while numbers at second-placed Paris Charles de Gaulle climbed 2.8 percent to 63.8 million.
Istanbul airport saw an 11 percent surge to 57 million, fuelled by expansion of Turkish Airlines, taking it past Madrid and Schiphol, with a growth rate that suggests it may take third place, or even second, in 2015.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Fraport’s biggest customer, has capped its fleet at 400 aircraft compared with earlier plans to increase it to 480, and is shifting some long-haul operations to Cologne airport to save costs.
Two alternatives to Terminal 3 suggested by the local state government will continue to be evaluated but wouldn’t add enough capacity for projected passenger growth or the additional space needed by larger planes such as Airbus A380s, Schulte said.


Robin Wood Frankfurt and Istanbul
Robin Wood protesters in solidarity with fellow campaigners fighting against the huge environmental destruction, and loss of land including forest, for a planned new 3rd airport at Istanbul.

Frankfurt Airport given planning permission to build Terminal 3, to increase passenger number

Frankfurt airport currently has 2 passenger terminals with a capacity of approximately 65 million passengers per year, plus 4 runways. In 2009, the German government decided there should be a new Terminal 3 in order to handle the expected passenger flow of 90 million per year by 2020.  The new terminal is scheduled to be built by Fraport, south of the existing terminals. Fraport has now announced that it has been granted approval of its planning application, by the city of Frankfurt. However, it still needs a demand assessment. The building of a new terminal has been deeply controversial, and has been strongly opposed – as it is a means by which the airport can grow substantially. Fraport hopes the first phase of construction will start next year. Fraport say the airport will reach its maximum passenger capacity of about 64-68 million passengers a year by 2021 and that the new terminal when finished will allow it to serve up to 25 million more. Opponents say the airport already creates too much noise and does not need to be expanded. The CDU and the Greens said in their coalition agreement at the end of 2013 that they were in favour of looking at alternatives to building a new terminal. Opponents say they will keep fighting the expansion plans.







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Protest by “Heathrow Homeless” on Bank Holiday Monday, to deliver runway to airport bosses

The proposed north-west runway at Heathrow would mean the compulsory purchase of 750 homes, and the eviction of their residents. Another 3,000 homes may be bought up by the airport, as they would be  too unpleasant to live in. Map. The Heathrow Villagers affected are understandably highly anxious, depressed, angry and desperate at the prospect of losing their homes, their communities, and areas where they may have lived and raised families over many decades. On August Bank Holiday Monday a group set off on a coach trip to express their fears and their outrage at the prospect of the demolition of their homes. They went first to the house of Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye (who was out), and then the constituency office of the Conservative Party in David Cameron’s constituency, and then the home of Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Sustainability & Environment Director. They laid out a fake plastic runway in his drive, in the pouring rain. The protesters felt their action was justified as there are no plans to create new housing for displaced people; no schemes have been put into legal documents; no support is planned for tenants made homeless. These are issues that need to be addressed BEFORE a decision is made on Heathrow expansion.



“Heathrow Homeless” deliver runway to airport bosses

31.8.2015 (Stop Heathrow Expansion)

Villagers under threat of losing their homes if Heathrow gets the go-ahead for expansion took their protest to houses owned by two airport bosses on Bank Holiday Monday to deliver a roll-out plastic version of the third runway.

A group calling themselves Residents Against Expansion, organised and funded a “Heathrow Homeless Coach Tour”, inviting residents and their supporters to bring a suitcase to highlight the plight of thousands of people who would be forced to look for alternative places to live. Their destination was kept a secret until everyone was on the coach ready for departure from Harmondsworth Village at 9.30am.

The first stopping point was Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye’s £3m house in Oxford. As the coach pulled up nearby it was evident that the detached, four-storey property was undergoing a major renovation and expansion programme of its own and was unoccupied. Undeterred, the residents quickly unrolled a 4m x 25m plastic version of the third runway bearing the slogan “No If, No Buts”, a reminder of David Cameron’s anti-expansion stance before the 2010 General Election.

After a brief group photo with their suitcases, the group repacked the coach and headed off to David Cameron’s constituency office in Witney, Oxfordshire.

On reaching Witney’s high street, Harmondsworth resident Armelle Thomas (69) went over to the solitary door, which is sandwiched between two shops. She clutched an old photograph of her husband Tommy as a young member of the RAF during the Second World War. Tommy had died on Friday morning, aged 93, but Armelle was determined to join the coach party to voice her disgust that her husband’s last months had been made a misery by the news on 1st July that Sir Howard Davies had recommended Heathrow and the destruction of their longtime home.

Neil Keveren of Residents Against Expansion delivers a reminder of Cameron's pledge


John Holland Kaye told reporters on that day that “the argument was settled once and for all” (even though it wasn’t and the government has yet to make a decision) and later said Heathrow could get “shovels in the ground in 2019″. The CEO’s ridiculous and insensitive boasting demonstrated that it was business as usual at Heathrow after years of trying to convince the public that it would not adopt the untrustworthy and deceitful behaviour typical of BAA. Holland Kaye’s comments to the press destroyed years of attempts to improve community relations.

On route to the next destination, a road sign declared that Witney is twinned with Le Touquet in France, which added to Armelle’s sense that her late husband was with the group in spirit; Le Touquet was Tommy’s birthplace.


Pouring rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the protesters and they stepped out of the coach at the third and final stop in Henley-on-Thames, the home of Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability and Environment. The house was unmistakable from the road as there was a large “Proud to Back Heathrow” poster in the window and a sticker in the back window of the car on the drive. Mr Gorman doesn’t keep a low profile. On reading these public declarations of support for the third runway proposals, the residents decided to deliver Mr Gorman something he might like – a runway outside his front door.

Later online research showed that the 5-bed detached house was bought in 2008 for £1,025,000 and could now be worth £1,365,000. If that estimate is accurate, Matt Gorman’s profit alone in the past 8 years is greater than the full valuation of many homes in the Heathrow villages. Little wonder that wealthy bosses at Heathrow don’t understand the fears of people living in blighted homes. No plans are being made to create new housing for displaced people. No schemes have been put into legal documents. No support is planned for tenants made homeless. These are issues that need to be addressed BEFORE a decision is made on Heathrow expansion.

At the Henley house, a calm and confident young woman came to the front door and talked to two villagers. They reassured her that this was a short peaceful protest and they’d soon be on their way. It was a good-natured conversation, as was the protest until half a dozen neighbours decided to come out of their houses to vent their anger about having protesters in their street. Their behaviour was a marked contrast to the sympathetic response from people in Oxford and Witney. Mr Gorman’s neighbours found it acceptable to make provocative, threatening and offensive remarks to people who had arrived to conduct a peaceful protest about their situation.

Soon afterwards, as protesters were preparing to leave, Mr Gorman arrived followed by a police officer.

Armelle Thomas shows what it means to be proud

Mr Gorman asked the police officer various questions to ascertain if there were laws to use against the people from the Heathrow communities who had visited him, who he had been told were taking photographs of the house and had walked on his driveway. No crime had been committed and the residents went happily on their way leaving the tiny cluster of Henley moaners to shuffle out of the rain and back into their expensive homes, free from aircraft noise and choking pollution.

One wonders how these people would react if Mr Gorman wanted to force them from their homes to build a real runway!

Mr Gorman has claimed to be interested in feedback from communities but on his day off from work he made it clear he had no interest in their views.




Film on YouTube

Film on YouTube
While the village communities of Harmondsworth and Sipson will be torn apart by a third runway, the village of Longford will be erased from the map
With it hundreds of years of English heritage will be buried beneath the tarmac.

Map shows the area (red line) that would be compulsorily purchased (750 homes), for a Heathrow north west runway, and the area (purple line) which Heathrow will now also offer to buy (total 3,750 homes).


Map below shows Heathrow north west runway location, and approximate airport boundary.From Heathrow document.

Heathrow north west runway option 31.7.2013

Harmondsworth Open Day shows the extent of the threat of a Heathrow runway, and what it would destroy

On Sunday 12th April the village of Harmondsworth hosted an open day, to show off the village – and inform visitor about what plans for a Heathrow north-west runway would mean for the area.  The Heathrow Villages are fighting for their survival.  If Heathrow is allowed to build its north west runway, Harmondsworth will be destroyed.  Much of it would be built over, with the airport’s northern boundary slicing off around half of the village. Longford would disappear altogether. During the open day, held on the village green, there were tours of the magnificent early 15th Century Great Barn, and walking tours of the village and of Harmondsworth Moor. A huge canvas had been created, showing a plane and a wire boundary fence – which would be where the airport would come to within a few yards of the current village centre. Though the Great Barn and the Church of St Mary the Virgin would not be demolished, their proximity to the airport boundary would mean the level of noise and air pollution would be intolerable. In an effective short video, Neil Keveren explains how people in the area have been living through hell, unable to plan for their future – or even make decisions about whether to do improvement work on their homes – because of the Sword of Damocles threat hanging over them. And Christine Taylor shows on a map what would be destroyed.


Heathrow hopes to buy off Harmondsworth with about £320,000 per property demolished

Heathrow is to spend hundreds of millions of pounds in an attempt to buy off local opposition to a proposed 3rd runway, with plans to use a massive new fund to compensate homeowners and insulate homes and public buildings against aircraft noise. Heathrow knows noise is a key reason why its runway is politically toxic. It also knows the bad publicity of destroying Harmondsworth and Sipson, and making other areas un-liveable. Now – publicising its runway plan tomorrow – Heathrow is proposing to pay the market price, unblighted, of homes plus 25% and the costs of legal fees, moving costs and stamp duty of buying a new home. For a £250,000 property, homeowners would receive £312,500 compensation, plus £7,500 stamp duty costs and legal fees. [About  £320,000 each – for a £250,000 house.  ie  £304 million for the 950 houses Heathrow would demolish].  This of course does not cover homes nearby, where life would become unpleasant. Heathrow is planning another public consultation in July to decide how the money should be divided up. There might also be more money for noise insulation in areas beyond the  usual”noise contour” (57dB) and help for schools.





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Alex Salmond says 3rd Heathrow runway is for the benefit of London and SE, to the detriment of Scotland

Alex Salmond, the former First Minister of Scotland, speaking on the subject of Heathrow expansion, said that UK Governments have a long history of dressing up London investment as being of equal benefit to the whole nation. He is not persuaded that the Treasury is particularly interested in benefiting Scotland. There is evidence that public spending in previous decades, while supposedly UK-wide, is in reality aimed at helping London and the south of England.  Some examples given are the redevelopment of docklands, the Jubilee line extension, and concentrating defence spending, procurement, and the civil service firmly in the south. Alex Salmond says that much of this type of spending was omitted from all official accounts of “identifiable public spending” and it still is. But public spending in Scotland was routinely described as a “subsidy.”  He says the proposed Heathrow runway would be to the potential detriment of Scotland, which is facing all of the pain and none of the gain. He wants to boost direct Scottish flights to and from international destinations for the benefit of travellers, tourism and Scottish exporting industries. And he wants APD cut in Scotland, reducing the need to fly via London at all.


Heathrow decision just latest example of UK Government’s London obsession


31 August 2015
UK Governments have a long history of dressing up London investment — like here at the docklands in the 1980s — as being of equal benefit to the whole nation, says Mr Salmond.
There are three great lies in life.

One is “The cheque’s in the post”. The second is “Darling, I’ll respect you in the morning”, and the third is “I’m from the London Treasury and I want to help Scotland!”

Twenty five years ago, ground-breaking research by award-winning journalist George Rosie – published under the banner “Scotching the Myth” – exposed the truth that much of supposed UK-wide public spending is in reality a subsidy ramp for London and the south of England.

The vast expenditure lavished in and around London in the 1980s and 1990s – on a host of infrastructure projects such as the redevelopment of docklands, the Jubilee line extension, and concentrating defence spending, procurement, and the civil service firmly in the south – was presented by proponents of the Union as benefiting all of the UK equally, despite the clear economic advantage given to London.

The bulk of this type of spending was omitted from all official accounts of “identifiable public spending” and it still is. Meanwhile, public spending in Scotland was routinely described as a “subsidy” – notwithstanding the £300 billion generated from North Sea oil taxes and the fact that Scotland continues to generate more tax per head than the rest of the UK, as it has for each and every one of the last 30 years.

Such is the language of political control. I’m a big fan of infrastructure spending to boost the economy, north and south of the border. And I’m also a fan of London as a buzzing and diverse capital city.

But I’m also a big fan of fairness and balance – and successive Westminster governments have failed lamentably to spread the benefits of infrastructure investment to Scotland and other areas of the UK, while all the time denying that London receives preferential treatment.

And if Scotland gets short-changed then the north of England gets taken to the cleaners. A report last year by the Institute of Public Policy Research showed that in terms of all infrastructure spending, London received a mind-boggling £5,426 compared with £223 per head in the north east of England!

But I predict that airports will be the next row over the concentration of taxpayers’ money in London – to the potential detriment of Scotland.

A UK Government-appointed commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, was charged with recommending the site for a new runway in London. Earlier this summer, it chose expansion at Heathrow – despite a massive cost to the taxpayer.

Like so much else of London-centric policy – not least energy, as the threatened closure of Longannet shows – Scotland is facing all of the pain and none of the gain from a third runway at Heathrow.

Our priority should be to protect Scotland’s position and boost direct Scottish flights to and from international destinations for the benefit of travellers, tourism and our exporting industries.

However, if new capacity is needed in London then at least Heathrow’s rival Gatwick have pledged they would build a new runway there at no cost to the public purse and guarantee proper access to the capital from Scottish airports.

The Heathrow option is the worst of all worlds – taxpayers, including in Scotland, would have to stump up over £5 billion of construction costs to create a virtual aviation monopoly of international connectivity.

And just like other London-based spending, our friends in the Treasury would deem public cash for Heathrow as a “UK-wide strategic project” – in other words, no Barnett consequential money to invest in infrastructure in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

A new runway in London is some years away, and right now we need the transfer to Scotland of Air Passenger Duty – as agreed through the Smith Commission.

Scotland’s airports are crying out for this power, because cutting APD will help us attract more direct international flights, more direct access to global markets, and more visitors coming directly to Scotland – reducing the need for flying via London altogether.

Not for the first time, the UK Government is obsessed with London – while Scotland’s focus should be flying high and handsome to the wider world.
*Former First Minister of Scotland
Alexander Salmond is a politician who served as the fourth First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014. He is currently a member of both the Scottish and United Kingdom parliaments.

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Canadian Borealis Infrastructure (Channel Tunnel rail owner) and German Allianz (insurer of Thames Tideway tunnel) consortium interest in London City Airport

A Canadian pension fund that co-owns the Channel Tunnel rail link has joined forces with the German insurer behind the Thames Tideway Tunnel (super sewer) project to enter the £2  billion bidding war for London City Airport. GIP announced at the start of August that it is selling.  Borealis Infrastructure, which manages investments for the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, is understood to have teamed up with Germany’s Allianz to make a consortium approach.  They are rivals to buy the airport, including another Canadian investment giant, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), which has partnered with the sovereign wealth fund of Kuwait and Hermes to submit an offer for the airport. Australia’s Macquarie is also thought to be considering a consortium bid.  Borealis and Allianz are already large investors in British infrastructure, and they have worked together on transactions, including a huge deal to buy RWE’s Czech gas pipeline business and the company that owns German motorway services. Some bankers reckon £2 bn is a top-end valuation for the airport but feasible given the current frothy nature of the market for infrastructure assets.



Channel Tunnel rail link owner and insurer eye City Airport bid

Borealis Infrastructure and Allianz are understood to have joined forces for a swoop on the airport, which has been valued at £2bn

By Ben Martin  (Telegraph)

29th Aug 2015

A Canadian pension fund that co-owns the Channel Tunnel rail link has joined forces with the German insurer behind the Thames Tideway Tunnel project to enter the £2 bn bidding war for London City Airport.

Borealis Infrastructure, which manages investments for the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, is understood to have teamed up with Germany’s Allianz to make a consortium approach.

The duo will come up against a host of heavyweight suitors, including another Canadian investment giant, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), which has partnered with the sovereign wealth fund of Kuwait and Hermes to submit an offer for the airport. Australia’s Macquarie is also thought to be eyeing a consortium bid.

Infrastructure investors are lining up to swoop on City after Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the private equity firm that owns a host of energy and transport assets including Gatwick, announced at the start of the month it wanted to sell the airport. Borealis and Allianz are already important investors in British infrastructure and are viewed as natural suitors for City.

Toronto-based Borealis jointly owns the high-speed rail link between London and the Channel Tunnel with OTPP, and is a shareholder in Associated British Ports.

Allianz, meanwhile, is one of a group of investors that is backing the £4.2 bn Thames Tideway Tunnel, the “super-sewer” project which gained financing approval last week from water regulator Ofwat. Furthermore, Borealis and Allianz have worked together on transactions in the past, including a €1.6  bn (£1.17 bn) deal to buy a RWE’s Czech gas pipeline business in 2013.

The two groups earlier this month partnered with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Munich Re to purchase Tank & Rast, the owner of German motorway services.

City Airport is viewed as something of a trophy asset in the infrastructure world. Located close to both Canary Wharf and the City, it is convenient for workers in the capital’s financial districts and so inevitably carries a high proportion of business travellers.

Some bankers reckon £2 bn is a top-end valuation for the airport but feasible given the current frothy nature of the market for infrastructure assets.

Dermot Desmond, the Irish billionaire businessman, bought City for £23.5 m from construction business Mowlem 20 years ago. He went on to sell it to GIP for about £750 m in 2006.

The airport has enjoyed strong growth, catering for 3.7m passengers last year compared with 2.8m in 2010. However, uncertainty over its mooted £200 m expansion plan could mean that bids fall short of GIP’s asking price.

Boris Johnson , the London mayor, recently blocked the airport’s proposal to boost capacity because of concerns about the increase in aircraft noise. The airport is appealing against his decision and, if it succeeds, City hopes that expansion will allow it to carry 6m passengers a year by 2023.

Spokesmen for Borealis and Allianz declined to comment.






The sovereign wealth fund of Kuwait & Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan interested in buying London City Airport

The sovereign wealth fund of Kuwait is teaming up with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Hermes to bid for London City airport, while Macquarie is leading a rival consortium. The airport has been valued at £2 billion. Wren House Infrastructure Management is a massive sovereign wealth fund, one of the world’s largest, owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). The KIA is the world’s fifth largest sovereign wealth fund with some $592bn in assets. The current owners of 75% London City Airport, GIP, hired Credit Suisse to handle the sale. Oaktree Capital owns the remaining 25% of the airport, and has agreed to the sale. London-based Wren House was set up in 2013 to facilitate direct infrastructure investment by Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund already owns Bristol airport (bought Sept 2014 from Macquarie) and holds a stake in Birmingham Airport, as well as other non-airport assets. Despite growth in passengers at London City airports, the sale is likely to be complicated by uncertainty over its £200m planned expansion.

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GIP to put London City airport up for sale this year – might raise £2 billion?

London City airport is to be put up for sale by GIP by the end of the year, who want to capitalise on the rising global demand for air travel. GIP owns 75%, with Oaktree Capital owning the remainder, but both have agreed to the sale. GIP also has the main stake in Gatwick airport, and Edinburgh but say they are not selling these now. It is thought the airport might fetch as much as £2bn, which the FT says would be a multiple of over 60 times the company’s EBITDA in 2014. GIP bought the airport for about £750m in 2006 from Dermot Desmond; he had paid £23.5m for it in 1995 from Mowlem. The airport is trying to get planning consent for work to increase the annual number of passengers to 6 million per year by 2023, (4.1 million in 2014) but this has been blocked by Boris, due to noise. London City is appealing against this and may hear the outcome next year. City airport has already been granted permission to increase ATMs from 70,000 to 120,000 per year. It is widely believed that GIP would sell Gatwick soon, after the government makes a decision on if/where there might be a new runway. Last month, GIP said it would be prepared to give a legally binding promise that it will not sell out for a quick profit if the government decides to opt for a runway at Gatwick.

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Luton Airport wants to relax aircraft noise violation limits as it starts expansion programme

Luton Airport has submitted an application to ‘simplify’ noise limits as it starts its expansion programme. The airport has asked its owner, Luton borough council, to change a condition on the planning permission it granted in 2013, to lessen stringent noise limits.  St Albans district council has been warned in an officer’s report that this change would “increase noise over and beyond levels that were previously considered unacceptable”.  Luton Airport is worried it will struggle to meet one of the conditions attached to its approval, and that airlines found exceeding noise levels will face more penalties very frequently – day and night.  Within 6 months of starting its expansion – to ultimately nearly double passenger numbers – the airport is supposed to reduce noise from all aircraft, to lessen the impact upon neighbouring residents. Instead of the condition placing a limit over all 24 hours of the day and night on noise levels generated by all aircraft., Luton wants the reduction to affect planes flown overnight only – between 11pm and 7am. The report by the St Albans council officer says there are already planes exceeding current noise limits. Luton Council has yet to decide on the application.

Luton airport bosses want to ‘simplify’ noise rules they say unfairly target quiet planes

By LutonOnSunday

August 29, 2015

The expansion is expected to boost passenger capacity from 12 million to 18 million

LUTON Airport has submitted an application to ‘simplify’ noise limits it says will target quieter planes during its expansion.

Neil Thompson, operations director at the airport, said restrictions placed by Luton Borough Council in 2013 on its plans to double passenger numbers meant modern planes – which are quieter – had lower noise limits than older, noisier aircraft.

The condition places a limit 24/7 on noise levels generated by all aircraft.

Mr Thompson said: “What we want to do is to have one limit for the day time and one for the night time because with the current condition, if you are a quiet aircraft, you have a lower noise limit and if you are a noisier aircraft you have a higher limit.

“We want to target noisier aircraft and encourage the airlines to use quieter aircraft.”

The expansion is expected to boost passenger capacity from 12 million to 18 million.

However, the plans have been meet with opposition from a number of groups, including St Albans City and District Council.

The authority said the new limits would result in ‘significant noise disturbance’ for residents.

It said: “We objected to the original planning application due to significant concerns relating to noise from the development and aircraft.

“The variation of the condition would, in the opinion of this council, increase noise over and beyond levels that were previously considered unacceptable.

“This would result in significant noise disturbance to the amenities of residents in the district.”

Luton Council has yet to decide on the application.



This is the report for Luton Airport, by Bickerdike Allen, on why they think the changes are unfair.   15.5.2015


Airplane noise violation limits must remain in force at Luton Airport, says St Albans MP

28 August 2015

By Debbie White  (Herts Advertiser)

Stringent noise violation limits imposed as part of an agreement to allow Luton Airport to nearly double passenger numbers must remain, according to the district council.

The airport has asked its owner, Luton borough council, to change a condition attached to the planning permission it granted in 2013, because it fears airlines will be penalised for failing to meet noise limits.

But at a St Albans district council (SADC) planning referrals meeting on Monday (24), councillors agreed to lodge an objection against the proposed variation of the condition with the Luton authority.

St Albans MP Anne Main wrote to SADC in support of its objection, saying that constituents had complained about increased plane noise.

She said: “It is clear that there is deep concern as to how this will impact upon local residents.

“We must maintain the current levels. It is important that residents can enjoy their gardens, their parks, or have peace in their homes without constant disruption overhead.

“Moreover, I have been contacted by residents who also believe the current levels are disruptive, and are calling for a more stringent approach to noise pollution.”

After the meeting Mrs Main said that while she accepted “we need to have a well-connected economy and airports that serve St Albans, authorities must make every effort to mitigate the potential disruption that comes with planes flying overhead.

“I am arranging a meeting with representatives from Luton, NATS [the UK’s main air navigation service provider] and residents to ensure that constituents’ concerns are heard at a high level. We need to ensure everything possible is done so that noise levels are kept to a minimum.”


Luton Airport bid to relax noise limits of flights over St Albans and Harpenden

24 August 2015 (Herts Advertiser)

By Debbie White

The airport has asked its owner, Luton borough council, to change a condition on the planning permission it granted in 2013, to lessen stringent noise limits.

But St Albans district council, which is to discuss the proposed change at its planning referrals meeting tonight, has been warned in an officer’s report that it would “increase noise over and beyond levels that were previously considered unacceptable”.

Luton Airport is worried that it will struggle to meet one of the conditions attached to its approval, and that airlines found exceeding noise levels will face more penalties.

Within six months of starting its expansion – to nearly double passenger numbers – the airport is supposed to reduce noise from all aircraft, to lessen the impact upon neighbouring residents.

Luton is concerned that with the new limits in place, aircraft will violate limits many times, day and night.

Instead, it wants the reduction to affect planes flown overnight only – between 11pm and 7am.

It adds that the current condition penalises operators for flying planes that meet the latest international noise standards.

But, the district council’s report says, there are already planes exceeding current noise limits.

Pointing out that Luton Airport has had ample time to prepare for noise limit changes coming into affect, the report adds: “It simply seems that the operator only appears to be seeking to vary the condition now because a trigger date for new, more stringent noise limits is approaching.”




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Gatwick announces “independent review” of Westerly Arrivals due to the extent of opposition to changed flight paths

Due to the level of disturbance, upset and anger for miles around Gatwick, from increased aircraft noise, narrowed and altered flight paths, Gatwick’s Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, has commissioned an “independent review” of air traffic, which will focus on Westerly Arrivals (ie. planes arriving from the east, to the airport, when there are westerly winds).  The review will be led by Bo Redeborn, who for many years was Principal Director of ATM for EUROCONTROL. Gatwick airport says Mr Redeborn “will be assisted by a small independent review team which has been tasked with ensuring the involvement of local communities most affected.”  The review is to look at whether, for westerly arrivals: “Everything that can reasonably be done to alleviate the problems which local communities are raising is in fact being done, whether this involves action by the airport or by other parties most closely involved – NATS, CAA, DfT or the airlines.”  And if Gatwick’s approach to providing “information to the local community and for handling complaints are fully adequate for the task.”  Thousands of people do not believe Gatwick is succeeding on either. The review is to begin on 1st September 2015. It may end in November, but may be extended if more consultation is needed. There will be a review of Easterly Arrivals later on.


Gatwick announces independent review of Westerly Arrivals

24/08/2015  (Gatwick Airport Press Release)

In response to noise concerns expressed by some local residents, Gatwick’s Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, has commissioned an independent review of air traffic, which will focus on Westerly Arrivals.

The Review will be led by Bo Redeborn who brings extensive experience and understanding of air traffic control having previously served as Principal Director of Air Traffic Management for EUROCONTROL. He will be assisted by a small independent review team which has been tasked with ensuring the involvement of local communities most affected.

The purpose of the review is to consider, in relation to Westerly Arrivals, whether:

  1. Everything that can reasonably be done to alleviate the problems which local communities are raising is in fact being done, whether this involves action by the airport or by other parties most closely involved – NATS, CAA, DfT or the airlines; and;
  2. The approaches which Gatwick has adopted for providing information to the local community and for handling complaints are fully adequate for the task.

The review is to begin on 1st September 2015 and a provisional target date for completion has been set for November. It is accepted that this end date may need to be moved back depending on the extent of consultation which the review team decides is necessary. A review of Easterly Arrivals will be undertaken as part of a second phase review.

Terms of Reference for the Review can be found at the following link




In response to feedback from some of our local residents and resident groups, Gatwick’s Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, has commissioned an independent review of the air traffic around Gatwick, focussing in particular on westerly arrivals.

The Review will be led by Bo Redeborn; Bo fulfils very well the principal criteria necessary for this role. He has very extensive Air Traffic Control experience, and has the necessary degree of independence from Gatwick and the other key players involved in these matters. He will be assisted by a small review team, all of whom will also be independent of Gatwick and the other key players.

Amongst other current activities, Bo is currently an independent member of Gatwick’s Environment, Health and Safety, and Operational Resilience Committee. From 2011-2014 he was Principal Director Air Traffic Management in EUROCONTROL and, before joining EUROCONTROL in 2009, he was Manager Air Traffic Management and later Manager Air Traffic Management Support and Development in the Swedish CAA (LVF).

It is intended that the review will be completed in November, but it is possible that it may run into December.

Terms of reference




Gatwick now says it will “carry out a fresh review of the whole situation” on Gatwick westerly arrivals

The group opposing Gatwick’s altered flight paths, “Gatwick Obviously NOT” wrote to Global Infrastructure Partners, (GIP), the main owner of Gatwick, on 9th May.  Now a reply has been received from Sir Roy McNulty, who is the Chairman of Gatwick Airport Ltd.  [Sir John Major, former Prime Minister, is Chairman of the Senior Advisor Panel at GIP]  The letter says: “Sir John Major has shared with me your letter of 9th May. Sir John has asked me to look into this matter and reply to you direct.  Having reviewed the issues… I have concluded that the best course is to carry out a fresh review of the whole situation as regards westerly arrivals into Gatwick …  Yours sincerely.”   Westerly arrivals are those coming in from the east to Gatwick – in other words the narrowed swathe the people in west Kent, and much of Sussex  have all been suffering from.  The airport and its owners are aware of the extent of the opposition and anger that their flight paths have caused, from the literally thousands of complaints and letters that have been sent.  Many people are not only angry about the aircraft ” super-highways” in the sky over their heads, but deeply stressed by having their tranquillity removed, with no consultation or warning.  Extracts from one (of many) furious and determined letter are copied here, illustrating the problem.



SESAR Deployment Speech by Bo Redeborn, Principal Director ATM

(not dated – press release from Eurocontrol)

“There is a saying among pilots that particularly useless things include altitude above you, runway behind you and air in your fuel tanks.  I’d like to add another one to this list – a development that hasn’t yet been implemented.

We all agree that it’s vital to get deployment right, particularly in the case of a huge programme such as SESAR.  However, it’s not easy – in fact we can see that, in many ways, it’s actually much harder than development.  For example on deployment you have to involve everyone – not just the subset of stakeholders who volunteer to help on development.

It also involves a lot more money, some 30 billion euros and money, as we all know, is in rather short supply at the moment.

And of course, it’s not a quick exercise.  We can expect to be working on the deployment of SESAR for the next decade – well beyond the end of the development phase.  So we need to make sure that the mechanism we put in place works – and that it is robust.

So what do we need to do?  Well I believe a critical first step is to learn from experience both here in Europe and elsewhere.

Within Europe, we’ve seen deployment of some projects move ahead rapidly while others never seem to get going at all.  This can happen even if the development phase of the project has been a success – a good example of how the issues facing deployment are very different to those facing development and how the transition from one phase to the next needs to be carefully handled.

There are many reasons for deployment being slow – for example sometimes there has been a lack of clarity on standards and guidance material. Safety cases have been difficult to conclude.  Sometimes the business case has not been made or the benefit has been remote from the investment.  We’ve also seen the delays caused by airlines, albeit understandably, adhering to the doctrine of last mover advantage.

Indeed, there is now general acceptance that some public funding will be required to overcome this doctrine.  However, public funds are limited – particularly at the European level – and they need to be focused where they will do the most good.  Here, there may be some valuable lessons to be learned from the approach to incentivising equipage in other parts of the world.

Another reason for problems has been poor deployment planning.  Now, we already have a raft of plans – the Network Strategic Plan, the ATM Master Plan, Performance Plans, the Regulatory Roadmap to name just a few.  We need to make sure that our new deployment process is coherent and that all the planning is coordinated.  We’ve tried having a proliferation of plans before and it didn’t work.

So we have to take into account the existing mechanisms as we move forward.  I’m not saying that these existing mechanisms can’t be changed – far from it, we need to be willing to change.  But we cannot just bolt on a new set of processes and plans without considering the effect on what’s already there and without looking at the whole picture.

This sort of wider view is crucial for success in other ways as well.  Deployment needs to be coordinated on a pan-European basis across the whole network – both on the ground and in the air, and also working with our military and our general aviation colleagues.  In fact, for many aspects, we actually need to think wider than Europe – we need to make sure that our needs are reflected in the ICAO processes designed to achieve global interoperability.

That is why we at EUROCONTROL, together with our stakeholders – indeed with many of those in this room today, are actively preparing for ICAO’s Air Navigation Conference at the end of next year – to make sure that there is a single European voice and that it is heard.

I mention working with our stakeholders on ANC12 not just because that’s what’s happening but also because it is a good illustration of how a joint approach really adds value.  However, there are limitations to a purely collegiate approach.  As a sailor myself, I strongly believe that you still need a clear direction to steer and a firm hand on the tiller.

You also need to recognise that deployment is a challenge – it is a complex web of equipment, manufacturing, procedures, training, regulation, guidance material and of course finance.  Planning for it, working out how it can best be achieved, has been an integral part of our activities at EUROCONTROL for many years.

But we at EUROCONTROL have always taken pride not just in our professionalism but also in our independence.  I try to make sure that we approach problems with the question “What’s best for European ATM?” and not “What’s best for this part of the sector?”.  Of course, we are fortunate in that we are not just allowed to be independent, it’s actually expected of us – without independence we could not function in our various roles, such as the Network Manager.

The consultation paper marks a step in the debate we now need to have on how to get this difficult thing right. And it follows from a Task Force report that did seem to me to get most things right – the three level approach and so on.  But it was always apparent that it was the second level that was going to be the most difficult to fix. And so it is there that we need to devote most effort.

Industry has to have a key role here. But how do you associate all those that need to be involved?  And how do you ensure that the work done genuinely meshes with the ATM Master Plan and the Network Strategic and Operations Plans? These and other questions need more work, in particular to ensure that the Network Manager is firmly part of the partnership that is necessary at this level, if it is to succeed.”

So on this occasion I would like to urge everyone to put aside their own agendas and to come together to address the question “What is best for European ATM?”.  Because, in the long run, we all need a sustainable, healthy and successful European ATM system.”



Mr. Bo Redeborn has been Principal Director of ATM at EUROCONTROL NV since February 1, 2004 and served as its Director of Cooperative Network Design. Mr. Redeborn served as Director of Air Traffic Management Strategies at EUROCONTROL since February 2004. He worked six years as an air traffic controller in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on an ICAO technical assistance mission, then returned to the Swedish CAA and took up managerial functions with increasing responsibility. Mr. Redeborn started training as an air traffic controller at the Swedish ATS Academyin 1972. Mr. Redeborn headed the Air Navigation Services ATM Support & Development Business Area at the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)and was responsible for technical and operational support and development with regard to the provision of air traffic control services and air navigation systems in Sweden. He serves as the Chairman of Board at AVTECH Sweden AB.

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About £85 million spent to update Heathrow tunnels and reinforce them against heavy A380s above

The main tunnel into Heathrow airport terminals was built in the 1950s, to the standards of the time. The runways to over it. Now with better safety standards needed in case of fire, and with heavier planes overhead, with aircraft like the A380, the tunnels need to be  refurbished and strengthened. This work is costing about £85 million, which is about 10 times the cost of their initial construction. Work is being done at night, keeping one tunnel open. The work is due to finish in about February 2016.  Presumably – if Heathrow was to get its north west 3rd runway and the M25 had to be tunnelled underneath it – the same quality of tunnel with extra strength to withstand heavier planes has to be incorporated.The Airports Commission considered the cost of surface access improvements for the Heathrow runway would be about £5.7 billion (the cost of the M25 tunnelling is an unspecified part of that total). Heathrow airport is not willing to pay those costs, and wants the taxpayer to bear the financial burden.

Millions needed to strengthen airport tunnels

It’s costing tens of millions of pounds and will take another year to be completed.

A major project to refurbish and strengthen the famous road tunnels leading to Heathrow airport is continuing.

It’s to improve safety and allow for the new generation of heavier planes using the runway above.

The work is being carried out during the night so the airport can operate as normal during the day.

Transport correspondent Mike Pearse.


Bam Nuttall ready to go on £85m Heathrow tunnel revamp

Bam Nuttall win £85m job to refurbish the main airport road tunnel and cargo tunnel at Heathrow

The civils contractor confirmed that it had been appointed to the job by Heathrow Airport Ltd, and is due to commence later this month.

Bam Nuttall will be in partnership with specialist mechanical and electrical contractor VVB on the project, after working with the firm on the upgrade to the bound bore of the Blackwall Tunnel.

The firms will be required to keep the tunnels open during the work in order avoid disruption to the airport, meaning the work to refurbish and improve the tunnel ventilation systems and upgrade the fire detection, suppression and alarm systems will take place over night and during pre planned lane closures.

The work is scheduled to complete at the end of February 2016.



See earlier:

Heathrow boss rules out footing the £5 billion bill for road and rail works – wants taxpayer to pay

The Airports Commission left the matter of who would pay for the approximately £5 billion needed to tunnel a section of the M25, and other surface access improvements, vague. The assumption has been made that the taxpayer would have to fund this, though the Airports Commission suggested that Heathrow would be able to find the funding from its investors for this. Now the CEO of Heathrow has dismissed the suggestion that the airport foots the £5 billion bill for road and rail work if a 3rd runway is built.  Huge motorway engineering would be needed, to have the runway going over the motorway.  John Holland-Kaye has ruled out paying for the surface access work. Though the government funds road and rail improvements under normal circumstances, tunnelling the M25 and dealing with hugely increased road traffic using an airport 50% larger than at present are not normal circumstances. Especially in times of huge economic savings being necessary in public finances. The Commission’s final report said it considered the runway was commercially viable “without a requirement for direct government support. This remains the case even in a situation where the airport is required to fund 100% of the surface access costs.” This would be by Heathrow “raising both debt and equity finance. This finance is then serviced through subsequent revenues and refinancing by the airport operator.”






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