Biggin Hill airport is hopeful of cashing in on an Olympic bonus

Biggin Hill residents slam airport consultation

28.1.2011 (Bromley Times)

By  Tim Dickens, Reporter

Residents have criticised a council leader for failing to address their fears
about new early-morning and late-night flights over the borough.

Bosses at Biggin Hill airport have applied to Bromley council, which owns the
airport freehold, to allow aircraft activity as early as 6.30am and as late as
11pm seven days a week for a 10-week period during the Olympic and Paralympic
games in summer 2012.

Charter flight operators will also be able to charge per passenger during this

Although council leader Stephen Carr has announced an extension of a public consultation
period over the decision until February 18, action group Bromley Residents Against
Airport Development (BRAAD), which strongly opposes the proposals, says that not
enough has been done to gauge public opinion.

Orpington resident Harry Ivey, a member of BRAAD, said: “Regrettably Mr Carr
has declined to call a public meeting at which residents can express their views.

“Originally, we asked for a four-month consultation but what we have now is a
lot less.

“Mr Carr and the council have handled this in a very confusing manner.”

The freehold of Biggin Hill airport was bought by the borough in the 1970s to
protect those who lived nearby.

Biggin Hill enjoys better opening times than London City Airport, which is closed
at weekends.

But campaigners now fear that allowing the temporary lease change for the Olympics
will pave the way for the permanent extension of opening hours of up to 26 hours
a week.

Dr Ivey added: “It would set a precedent which would be difficult for the council
to counter.”

A letter from council officer Marc Hume to airport chairman Andrew Walters in
November indicated that the chairman wants to submit “wider variations” to the
lease, adding to fears that the airport would like a permanent change to its operating
hours and to the way air passengers are charged.

Mr Carr said: “I can understand and appreciate apprehension about noise and disruption
and we will need to carefully balance these very real concerns.

“While the airport is asking for a quick decision, we will not compromise on
our commitment to consult with residents before reaching a decision.”

On Monday, airport director Peter Lonergan said that Biggin Hill Residents’ Association
supported the Olympic extension plans.

He added: “We fully respect the need to minimise noise impact at all times and
there will be no opt-out from the stringent rules during the Olympic period.

“We plan no scheduled services and any charter service is strictly limited to
a maximum of 75-seat aircraft.”


Biggin Hill Airport calls on community to back Olympic bid

BIGGIN Hill Airport says the Olympic Games in 2012 will boost the borough’s economy
and bring long-term benefits to the surrounding area.

The airport is eager to be a key gateway to the games after a request was made
to landlord
Bromley Council to extend opening hours for the July and August period in 2012.

Airport director Peter Lonergan says the Olympics will offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attract new businesses.

The airport claims that last year the council received almost £1.2m from airport

Mr Lonergan said: “I don’t think that many people realise how much income for
the council the existence of the airport generates.

“We need the local community to understand and to be supportive of our Olympic
plans so that we can make the very best of this short-term event to win a legacy
of longer term and lasting benefits for the community.”



Bromley Council urged to reject airport’s plans to open longer for the Olympics

By David Mills

BIGGIN Hill Airport has revealed details about its request for longer opening
hours during the Olympic Games.

Earlier this month News Shopper reported fears the airport would be asking its
Bromley Council for a temporary extension for the games in 2012.

Now the airport has confirmed it wants to open from 6.30am to 11pm each day from
July 13 to September 23.

The lease currently permits flights between 6.30am and 10pm in the week and from
9am to 8pm at weekends.

The airport, which is seeking approval of its application by December 23, also
wants a relaxation of the ban on fare-paying passengers.

But the council says it must consult residents before making a decision.

Bromley Friends of the Earth secretary Ray Watson said: “Once again, residents are faced with more noise, more road traffic, more
pollution and more danger of accidents, of which we have had too many in recent

“How does this scheme benefit them?”

Mr Watson added: “We call upon our councillors to remember that for the last
decade their electorate have strongly opposed expansion at Biggin Hill.

“Now is the time for them to put the residents of the borough first rather than
be tempted by a handful of the airport’s silver.”

Bromley Council leader Councillor Stephen Carr said: “I can understand and appreciate
apprehension about noise and disruption and we will need to carefully balance
these very real concerns.

“While the airport is asking for a quick decision, we will not compromise on
our commitment to consult with residents before reaching a decision.”

People are asked to write to Renewal and Recreation, Airport Consultation, Bromley
Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH or e-mail
by February 4.




BIGGIN HILL: Airport wants to be ‘the top-rated gateway’ to London 2012

By David Mills

CONCERNS about using Biggin Hill Airport as an Olympic Games gateway have led to fears the airport’s opening hours will
be extended.

An airport newsletter released last week stated: “Biggin Hill is going to be
very convenient for the 2012
Olympics and has been forecast to receive many extra flights.”

Under the airport’s lease issued by landlord Bromley Council, flights are not permitted between 10pm and 6.30am in the week and 8pm and 9am
at weekends.

But given the schedule of Olympic events, it is feared the airport has approached
the council with a view to changing the lease.

Bromley Friends of the Earth secretary Ray Watson said: “Even London City Airport
does not have such generous hours and indeed a survey of similar airports to Biggin
Hill showed only five out of 90 had better opening hours.

“Undoubtedly the airport will ask for flights later than the current 10pm permitted
time simply because the Olympic Games events will not wind up until about that

“The airport may benefit from increased profits but residents would be paying
the price – more noise, more traffic and more aircraft crash danger.

“Many of these additional trips for the Olympics would be made by helicopters
and it’s accepted that helicopters are far noisier than fixed wing aircraft.”

Chairman of the Downe Residents’ Association Derek Powell said: “They want to
offer the services of the airport for the Olympics.

“My objection is if it entails changes of the lease then we’re not supportive.

“When Brands Hatch used the race track for Formula 1, the drivers and team members
used to come in by aircraft to Biggin Hill and were helicoptered to Brands Hatch.

“That was extremely noisy.

“For the Olympics this would be on a much larger scale for a longer period.”

The council confirmed it had received a request from the airport but could not
reveal the details at this stage.

Bromley Council leader Councillor Stephen Carr said: “We have received a request
from Biggin Hill Airport and as their landlord, we need to carefully examine their

“We are aware of the interest from local residents and we will be consulting
residents about this before any decision is taken.”


But in a statement, the airport said the council was delaying key decisions.

A spokesman said: “It is massively disappointing that the council is delaying
decisions on key issues relating to our essential preparations for the 2012 London

“The vast majority of overseas participants, spectators and other visitors will
be travelling to and from the Olympic Games by air.

“The successful staging of the Olympic Games will depend fully and entirely upon
sound, business-like, forward planning, fresh investment in resources and infrastructure
and the availability of newly recruited and trained staff.

“At least 75 new jobs are in prospect at the airport for the tasks that lie ahead.

“The local community is expected to reap benefits and the airport will raise
additional revenues for accrual to the council that will generally assist Bromley
and London to maximise the commercial benefits of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

“Government forecasts estimate that 25 to 30 per cent more flights per day will
be requiring airport facilities over the two-month period between mid-July and
mid-September 2012.

“These are normally holiday periods in UK & Europe.

“An example of late decisions being made on key issues won high profile at the
recent Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

“To stay well away from similar embarrassments, we need to have key decisions
in place now in order to get on with the job of making Biggin Hill Airport the
top-rated gateway to London and the Olympic Games.

“We shall not be accepting any scheduled services at the airport within our overall
commitment to serve the London Games.”


Bromley Council owns the airport but it is run by a management company under
a lease granted by the Council

– Residents reject Bromley Council Leader Stephen Carr’s clear-cut ‘U-Turn’ on
the time allowed to consider Biggin Hill Airport’s 2012 Olympics Proposals.
– Residents had demanded a 4 months open consultation period.
– There is clear-cut evidence that the public have been misled on the proposed
extension in operating hours.
– Residents ask why does Cllr Carr appear to be evasive in releasing vital information
to the public about the Airport’s Olympics and other Proposals ?
–  Many would argue that the Lease is the only local control that residents have
– through the Council – over the Airport’s flight operations. Other controls are
on a national basis through Civil Aviation Authority and National Air Traffic
– That is why local residents are committed to keeping the Airport Lease in full
– BRAAD believes it is imperative that these Olympic Proposals are not used as
a backdoor way around the robust Airport Lease – which Lease has been underwritten
by Bromley Council, by the Supreme Court of Appeal, and by the Law Lords.
BRAAD [Bromley Residents Against Airport Development] is a Coalition of Residents’
Associations and other Groups and local Residents opposed to the further development
of Biggin Hill Airport.   In particular, BRAAD sees no reason for operating beyond
the terms of the existing Lease (as agreed both by Biggin Hill Airport Ltd. and
by Bromley Council) and as endorsed by the Supreme Court of Appeal and the House
of Lords.

Further information:
Bromley Residents have demanded that Bromley Council’s public consultation period
over the Airport’s Olympics Proposals be four months – as previously sought and
as understood by local residents to have been accepted by Council Leader Stephen
Instead – currently Councillor Carr has allowed only 8 weeks consultation starting
on 8 December 2010 and ending on 4 February 2011.
Councillor Carr’s actions on this appear to be flawed because:
(1) Bromley Council had details of the Airport’s Olympic Proposals as early as
September 2010.

(2) The Airport’s formal Olympics Proposals were then received by Bromley Council
on 15 November 2010 from Biggin Hill Airport Ltd [BHAL].

(3) Local residents pressed Cllr Carr for 4 months public consultation, knowing
that the Christmas and New Year breaks would intervene.  

(4) But it was not until 8 December 2010 that Cllr Carr released details of the
Olympics Proposals to local residents – and this was only after considerable pressure
had been placed by local residents on Cllr Carr.  

(5) After all this, Cllr Carr has allowed only 8 weeks for public consultation.

(6) Cllr Carr then sent these details to only 7 residents –  hardly a “full public
consultation” !   And why was there a 3½ week delay before letting even only 7
local residents see what was being proposed ?

(7) The details that Cllr Carr sent to 7 local residents were marked

          “Private & Confidential” and “Commercial in Confidence” !   

It took another 7 days before local residents could secure written confirmation
from Cllr Carr that these security classifications could be removed and a wider
public consultation could begin.  So a whole week was lost before local residents
could get to grips with what was proposed.

(8) The lengthy holiday period of Christmas and New Year meant that many local
residents were away or occupied with work, family and friends, and hence two further
weeks have effectively been lost for consultation.

(9) This, together with the week already lost getting confidentiality clearance
– see (7) above – means that 3 weeks out of 8 had already been lost even before
public consultation could begin !

(10) Furthermore, considerable confusion appears to abound within the Council
between Cllr Carr and Senior Council Officers on timing – with different dates
for key decision stages for the Proposals apparent between Cllr Carr and Council

(11) Bromley Council’s own Press Release of 8 December 2010 had Cllr Carr saying
“…residents can comment on what is actually being proposed…”.   However, the
Council’s Release then said “…the existing [operating hours are] 06:30 to 23:00

This statement is incorrect and implies that the extra hours sought were only
16 hours per week.   

But  residents have now discovered this should have been an extra 26 hours per
week – some error !  

(12) This error has yet to be publicly corrected by Cllr Carr and (in legal terms)
is a material flaw which means that proper public consultation has yet to begin
– based on the correct information.

(13) And allowing only 5 weeks – see above at (7) and (8) – makes it impossible
for proper public consultation to take place.

(14) This is especially so when local residents need to consider the Proposals
and the Bromley Council Press Release in detail – only to discover that the information
on which local residents are being asked for views is fundamentally flawed !
Issued by BRAAD [Bromley Residents Against Airport Development]