Airport News

Below are news items relating to specific airports

 

Areas like Chiswick: Residents affected ‘will find out too late’ about new Heathrow noise only after final consent

The current Heathrow consultation on its plans for a 3rd runway does not give details of flight paths. Conveniently (for Heathrow) the information on those will only come after about 2023, well after (Heathrow hopes) it will have got planning consent for its scheme.  Wickedly, that means people do not know now, and will not for several years, whether they are due to have a narrow, concentrated route above them, or nearby. That will only become obvious too late for them to do anything about it.  It could mean a noisy plane, below - say - 4,000 feet - over head many times per minute. Hour after hour - most of the day. Day after day - most days. Local group Chiswick Against The Third Runway (CHATR) has said it is "unacceptable" that the details of the proposed new flight paths are not part of the Heathrow consultation.  "The scale of environmental degradation and destruction is monumental." The absence of flight path information - which for many people is THE most important aspect of the expansion - is "clearly unacceptable. We believe this is fundamentally dishonest, since the hundreds of thousands of people affected will not discover until after planning consent".

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Leo Murray: Why a third runway at Heathrow is a litmus test for environmental breakdown

If Heathrow's 3rd runway plan goes ahead, it will be a sure sign that the UK is incapable of effectively responding to the climate crisis. "Common sense might suggest that massive expansion at the UK’s single largest source of carbon emissions cannot possibly be consistent with plans to eradicate Britain’s net contribution to climate change. But the consultation documents assure us that there will be no increase in carbon emissions from the airport’s operations after 2022 – although there will be a 50% increase in flights." ...  On how the emissions are to be dealt with by offsetting: "Offsetting is problematic in principle – it actively defers structural change in high carbon sectors. It’s also demonstrably ineffective in practice. Less than 15% of offsets under the UN's CDM were found to have actually reduced emissions ... which is why the CCC explicitly advised the Government against using offsets to meet the UK’s Net Zero target." Due to devious policy manipulations, it will not be possible to challenge planning permission for the new runway on climate change grounds - they will not be considered a legitimate complaint. "Our collective ability to reflect on the wisdom of this project is a litmus test of our ability to rise to the epic challenge of environmental breakdown."

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AvGen’s concerns mount over Heathrow’s “Fly Quiet” statistics – very opaque how they are arrived at

Heathrow produced figures, intended to show how well airlines that use the airport are performing in terms of noise. The criteria include noise quota/seat, plane Chapter number (noise certification), the NOx emissions/seat, the CAEP standard (engine emissions certification), the Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) violations, the airline's Track keeping (TK) violations, and early or late movements between 23:30 and 04:30.  The group, AvGen, assesses the numbers put out by Heathrow, and finds - every time - that the numbers do not make much sense, and do not even match the stated methodology by Heathrow. Airlines get given numbers of points (it is far from clear how these are measured), and rankings for how "quiet" they are.  It appears airlines are bumped up and down the rankings in a fairly random way. Perhaps to make some airlines look good, and gloss over the amount of noise they make? For the Quarter 1 (Q1) results this year, AvGen calculates the figures, using the stated Heathrow methodology, British Airways short haul comes out 4th best (Heathrow put them first); British Airways long haul comes out 14th (Heathrow puts them 6th). Aer Lingus comes out at 10th best (Heathrow has them 4th). And so on. Contact AvGen for the full data.

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Heathrow 3rd runway plans reveal the monster airport proposed – how uniquely expensive, harmful and damaging it would be

With the publication of the Heathrow consultation documents comes realisation of what a massive, uniquely damaging and harmful plan it is. A few comments from Alistair Osborne in the Times: "The project is the equivalent of dropping Gatwick airport on to one of the world’s busiest motorways: 12 zippy lanes, no less, of the M25"... and "It can all be done without any “significant” disruption, while maintaining the traffic flow of 220,000 vehicles a day. Who says so? Heathrow, of course — despite the small matter of “realigning the M25 carriageway”, sinking it by 4.5m in a tunnel and having planes land on top. Not only that. Heathrow will be adding at least 260,000 flights a year and 50 million more passengers" ... " But, apparently, they won’t lead to a single extra car on the roads. Or any more trucks, despite the doubling of cargo capacity to “at least three million tonnes” a year. No, it’s all coming by bicycle or some green equivalent. And don’t worry about the costs because “Heathrow expansion will be privately financed and costs will not fall on the taxpayer”.... "It’s pure fantasy. Indeed, ask Heathrow how much of the £14 billion is for diverting the M25 and the company has no answer.... Apparently, a cost breakdown will be delivered to the CAA by the end of the year."

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Heathrow’s 3rd runway is equivalent to bolting an extra airport onto one that is already the world’s most disruptive

The Heathrow consultation sets out Heathrow’s assessment of the impacts of expansion on local communities and the environment, and their plans (such as they are ...) to mitigate these impacts. Speaking for the No 3rd Runway Coalition, Paul Beckford commented that: “Our communities will be destroyed by these expansion proposals, with 783 homes demolished and another 3,000 homes rendered unliveable owing to the construction and pollution. 2 million more people will be exposed to aircraft noise at levels that have a detrimental impact on health and millions will be exposed to significant increases in air pollution from vehicles accessing the airport as well as the 700 additional planes in the skies every single day. Every community across London and the Home Counties will experience the impacts of these proposals..." Paul McGuinness, Chair of the Coalition said: "Statistically, Heathrow is already the world’s most disruptive airport. It lies at the heart of the UK’s most densely populated region and has a hopeless environmental record, regularly breaching air quality targets. And all of that comes with just two runways. Heathrow’s plan equates to bolting another major airport on top of its current, disruptive operation."

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Heathrow claims there will be NO NET INCREASE IN CO2 EMISSIONS, with 50% more flights….

The expansion of Heathrow, with a 3rd runway, would - logically and in the absence of any real means of reducing the carbon emissions per plane in any significant way - be likely to increase the CO2 from flights by something like 40%. But the consultation by Heathrow, published on 18th June, gives NO figures for the amount of extra carbon that would be emitted by the extra planes. They say the current amount of carbon emitted by flights, the airport, surface access is about 20.83 million tonnes of CO2 per year. But they consider the extra fights not to add any carbon at all (except domestic flights) because all will be offset using the UN CORSIA scheme. So it is entirely cancelled out and ignored. Heathrow say: "Current baseline GHG emissions have been estimated at 20.8 million tonnes of CO2e (MtCO2e). Air transport accounts for over 95% of Heathrow’s GHG emissions followed by surface access transport at 3%." And ""Heathrow’s carbon neutral growth aspiration means that growth in CO2 emissions from additional flights after expansion would be offset through carbon credits, resulting in no net growth in emissions. " Caroline Lucas MP commented: "Heathrow is taking economy with truth to new levels`' 

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Heathrow consultation starts – trying to cover up the devastating impacts the 3rd runway would have, in so many ways…

The main Heathrow consultation - before the DCO consultation - on its proposed 3rd runway has opened. It closes on 13th September. It is a massive consultation, with dozens and dozens of long documents - making it impossible, in reality, for a layperson to read.  Below are links to the key documents. Heathrow says it is proposing "tough new measures to reduce emissions". It proposes a slight increase in the amount of time when scheduled flights are not allowed at night - just 6.5 hours (that does NOT include planes that take off late....) so little change there. This is a statutory consultation (the earlier ones were not) and Heathrow says it "will inform the airport’s Development Consent Order (DCO) application, which is expected to be submitted next year."  There will be 43 consultation events to be held during the 12-week consultation period. Heathrow says its "expansion will be privately financed and costs will not fall on the taxpayer." It will be interesting to see how they pay for the work to bridge the M25, paying for it all themselves. There is no information on flight paths, as those will not be decided upon until perhaps 2023. They use only indicative flight paths. There expected to be more flights, even before the runway is built, by 2022.

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Heathrow’s planes over Richmond Park would ‘damage mental health’

Millions of people who use Richmond Park, for peace, quiet and tranquillity, face up to 93 low-flying aircraft an hour if there is a 3rd Heathrow runway. The noise from the planes, so people cannot escape from the stresses of life and enjoy nature, is likely to have negative impacts on the mental well being of thousands of people. Richmond Park is surrounded by housing and urban development, but it is precious island and refuge, so close to London. With the expansion, there will be more planes, and lower, over the Park. Under the Heathrow expansion plans, hundreds of planes would produce noise levels of up to 80dB – many times over the WHO guidelines for good health – flying at 1,500 feet over the park. It seems that high, and rising, numbers of people living in the London area (and other cities) suffer from anxiety and mood disorders. To help them, the government might want to ensure there are quiet, tranquil areas that people can spent time in, to relax and de-stress. But instead, the government is happy to allow Heathrow to hugely increase plane noise over this treasured, ancient park.  Is nothing worth saving, from the ravages of economic growth etc?

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Extinction Rebellion delays protest at Heathrow – disrupting the airport likely to only create opposition to the campaign

Climate activism group Extinction Rebellion has postponed until later this year a plan to shut down Heathrow, using drones. It had said, on 1st June, that it had plans to cause a lot of disruption during June and July, to highlight the problem the UK has with the CO2 emissions from aviation - and the huge increase a 3rd runway would generate. There had never been any risk of lives being endangered, as drones would not have been flown near planes. XR had consulted widely among supporters, who feared a furore over safety concerns would eclipse Extinction Rebellion's broader message over the need to take radical action to tackle the climate crisis. It could end up with overall very negative publicity, and hinder the message getting out effectively to a wider audience.  XR says any protests would take place within an exclusion zone in a 5km radius around the airport, avoiding flight paths, and the notice period for any drone action would be at least two months.  The intention is to push for the systemic change needed to cut Britain’s emissions as quickly as possible, by causing economic disruption - but trying to minimise disruption to passengers.

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Heathrow plans its 3rd runway to bridge the M25 in 3 sections – one runway and two separate taxiways

The Times has published images from Heathrow, showing their plans for expansion (consultation due to start of 18th) including what they do to get the runway over the 12 lane M25 (the busiest section of motorway in the UK, and probably in Europe). Heathrow has only ever said it would be just over £1 billion for the work, though it would cost much more. The plan appears to be for the M25 to be lowered a bit, into a tunnel. There would be two separate taxiways over the motorway, with the planes probably visible to drivers travelling below. Also a wider section on which would be the runway itself. Distracting for drivers?  Heathrow claims having two openings in the tunnel between the taxiways and runway would "improve stability, ventilation and visibility on the road."  Might it also be cheaper?  The Times says: "Plans to cross the M25 have been revised after talks with Highways England, which had raised concerns about the risk of damage to the tunnel by landing aircraft. It was also feared that drivers may be distracted by planes overhead."  Nowhere else in the world is a road a busy as the M25 crossed by a runway or taxiways.  Heathrow will seek to soften the impact of expansion by spreading the work over as long as 30 years - easier to pay for.

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