LAANC (Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council) to consider legal action against “biased and flawed” Airports Commission report
LAANC, the Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council, has said it is considering a legal challenge over the huge gaps and deep bias of the Airports Commission (AC) report. It will wait for a full report from its legal team before deciding its next steps. Founded in the 1960s to enable local authorities to collaborate on tackling noise pollution from Heathrow, it now addresses any form of disturbance. Its director Colin Stanbury, said his initial view was that the AC report contained serious gaps, including the flawed benefits methodology used, which dramatically overestimated the economic benefits. There are serious concens about the number of houses that would need to be built. “There was incredulity that Sir Howard had allowed Heathrow’s claim to stand that the massive cost of surface access changes would be picked up by the taxpayer …” Air quality claims in the report were considered beyond common sense. And so on, for many issues including noise and air freight. But the AC’s report was independent, and the AC has been wound up. Legal challenge may not be possible until there is a government report. The LAANC will produce its own non technical summary before end of summer to help people digest the AC report and analysis. The 2M group of councils is also taking advice on a possible legal challenge.
LAANC to consider legal action against “biased and flawed” Airports Commission report
LAANC is considering a legal challenge over the huge gaps and deep bias of the Davies Commission report – but will wait for a full report from its legal team before deciding its next steps.
LAANC, the Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council, gave members and observers a heads-up on Friday on its views on the Davies Commission recommendation and next steps for the organisation.
Founded in the 1960s to enable local authorities to collaborate on tackling noise pollution from Heathrow the organisation these days has a broader remit to address any form of disturbance. It also allows associate membership to parish councils and community groups, including the Colnbrook Community Association.
Director Colin Stanbury presented his initial view to the meeting at the offices of Spelthorne Borough Council on Friday, insisting that the Davies report was heavily biased and contained serious gaps:
- The benefits methodology adopted by the Commission was flawed and dramatically overestimated the benefits, he told the meeting. But even with 50,000 fewer job being created under the revised scheme analysis the burden being placed on all neighbouring authorities to build 5,000 new homes each to accommodate 70,000 new workers was impossible. That local unemployed would benefit from a jobs bonanza was also hotly disputed.
- There was incredulity that Sir Howard had allowed Heathrow’s claim to stand that the massive cost of surface access changes would be picked up by the taxpayer on the basis that improvements to transport infrastructure would be needed even without a third runway.
- Air quality claims in the report were considered beyond common sense. The suggestion that higher pollution on London’s Marylebone Road somehow lessened the impact of Heathrow on the UK meeting air quality targets was dismissed.
- The lack of information on Flight paths was a glaring omission which, in the view of LAANC would require yet another consultation. Many, many people who perhaps had little interest in expansion of the airport currently were about to impacted. The aborted flight path trials had proved that this topic alone could tie up a new runway for years.
- The lack of a freight assessment, another key omission, rendered the impact on local roads void.
- The recommendation that night flights should be banned under a Third Runway approval. Heathrow had already indicated it would not accept Sir Howard’s recommendation for a ban on night flights.
- The council rejected claims that, with two out of three runways operational at any time, controlled periods of respite would be possible as claimed. They fear respite could be reduced in practice.
However, while any challenge has to be made fairly quickly, there may few legal grounds at this stage. The difficulty, it seems, is that as an independent report it is not yet a government backed report, so there may be limited grounds to legally challenge. The organisation will reach its conclusion within the next few weeks.
LAANC will produce its own non technical summary before end of summer to help people digest Davies’ thousands of pages of analysis. The organisation believes many more currently unaffected people need to be aware of the impact of a Third Runway.
One LAANC member suggested that the Chinese premier’s state visit to the UK in September may see the prime minister use the opportunity to make some announcement in view of the country’s stake in Heathrow – although a decision to back Davies’ recommendation is thought to be premature in view of the Summer recess.
Disappointingly, none of the three representatives from Slough Borough Council managed to attend or send apologies.
That is “the norm” according to Cllr Wayne Strutton (Con, Haymill and Lynch Hill), attending as an observer. He strongly criticised the Council for repeatedly failing to turn up, and singled out Deputy leader Cllr Swindlehurst for offering a fawning congratulations to the airport earlier in the week.
He caused some surprise to the LAANC leadership by suggesting that Slough had withdrawn from the influential 2M group of councils – which is also taking advice with a view to a possible legal challenge.
Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council
LAANC, the Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council, was founded in the 1960s as an umbrella local authority organisation representing the interests of residents around Heathrow. The objectives of LAANC are to examine all problems arising from the nuisance of aircraft noise, both in-flight and on the ground. An Executive Committee and Director provide a focus for the work of LAANC which is self-financing from member subscriptions.
No full-time staff are employed, but through a unique working partnership local authority officers and elected members, LAANC has achieved recognition as an expert body in the area of aircraft noise. LAANC sends representatives to both the main Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC) and technical working groups.
Although representing the interest of the community, LAANC is not just another pressure group. Within LAANC membership is to be found a considerable body of expertise; most of the local authority experts on aircraft noise are to be found within LAANC.
Who we are LAANC, the Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council, was founded in the 1960s as an umbrella local authority organisation representing the interests of residents around Heathrow. LAANC aims to reduce problems relating to aircraft noise and other environmental nuisances both in flight and on the ground, helping others to do the same. Read More
Achievements LAANC’s achievements over 60 years of addressing noise and other issues affecting widespread communities has earned an enviable reputation. Read more about its track record.
Heathrow Airport, Operations, and Consultative Committee (HACC) Read More
Aircraft Noise and How to Complain Since the 1980s the number of flights at Heathrow has nearly doubled – an extra 600 flights a day – there could be another 710 every day with Runway 3. At peak periods aircraft may land at 60 second intervals, with a daytime average of just over 80 seconds. Departures are similar. Despite more activity the official noise contours around Heathrow have shrunk. The airport operator, airlines, and the DfT all suggest this shows the local noise environment has improved over time. But this is utterly wrong! Read More How to Complain
(Davies) Airports Commission and Responses An immense amount of work has been carried out by LAANC during 2014 compiling comprehensive responses to many of the Commission’s papers investigating and recommending where a further runway should be built in SE England. This work continues apace. Read More
A Sustainable Framework for UK Aviation and Other Consultations Read More
No Night Flights or Further Expansion Everyone has a basic right to a decent night’s sleep – a right denied to so many by the arrival of aircraft from 4.30am. LAANC also believes that Terminal 5 should remain the last major development at Heathrow. We believe the airport has now truly reached the limit of its expansion. Read More
Membership and Meetings Open to all local authorities who are concerned with or affected by aircraft noise. Associate Membership is available to properly constituted bodies whose aims are similar to the LAANC. All meetings are open to the public. For details of membership, meeting dates and venues please see Factsheet