Letter in Maidenhead Advertiser, and also in the Slough & South Bucks Express and the Windsor, Ascot & Eton Express, showing up the misleading inaccuracies in “Back Heathrow” leaflets

Back Heathrow have distributed a leaflet that says – entirely inaccurately – that “current thinking is that electric aircraft will touch down at major international airports by 2030”, i.e. only 10 years away. That is very misleading.  A letter in the Maidenhead Advertiser, the “Slough & South Bucks Express” and “Windsor, Ascot and Eton Express”, by a local resident says that rather than purporting to be a residents’ campaign group, Back Heathrow is in fact Heathrow’s own campaigner with large funds coming from Heathrow itself. Some other misinformation Back Heathrow puts out includes claims about increased car sharing, improvements in public transport and cutting vehicle generated local air pollution. The reality is that Heathrow car sharing has been promoted for decades for thousands of employees without much success. Heathrow loves air passengers arriving by car, as it makes vast amounts of money from its car parks. Back Heathrow says a  3rd runway “will create economic growth for our nation”, the DfT’s ANPS of 2018 shows economic benefit of approximately zero (‘Net Present Value’ after costs over 60 years in the range -£2.5bn to +£2.9bn), even if the airport opened in 2026. That benefit is wiped out by it now being delayed by perhaps 4 years (3 by the CAA limit, and at least one by the Appeal Court judgement).   

Read the whole letter below.



Heading:  Heathrow facts that aren’t pie in the sky.

Letter in Maidenhead Advertiser

Thursday 27th February, (the same day at the Court of Appeal verdict on Heathrow)

By Paul Groves, Bray resident

I am writing to reply to the letter in last week’s Viewpoint (February 20) by Parmijt Dhanda of BackHeathrow in which he welcomes debate about facts.

He says that I was right to say that electric aircraft are not the answer but the leaflet that BackHeathrow distributed says “current thinking is that electric aircraft will touch down at major international airports by 2030”, i.e. only 10 years away, which Is highly misleading.

Rather than as it purports to be a residents campaign group, BackHeathrow is in fact Heathrow’s own campaigner with large funds coming from Heathrow itself.

He says that “Heathrow can expand and meet environmental targets by creating the largest car sharing scheme in Europe, a new ‘ultra low emissions’ vehicle charge or major improvements to public transport.”

However Heathrow car sharing has been promoted for decades for thousands of employees without much success.  It could not be applied to the millions of passenger car users who will be coaxed to the airport by the proposed new 50,000 capacity multi-storey car parks, another huge Heathrow money-spinner.

And Heathrow’s own Cargo plans show that their objective is to be “the preferred trans-atlantic gateway for Europe” with a growth in Truck-Air transit weight of 2.45 times by 2040.

There are no current or shortly planned heavy long-distance electric trucks, so this means nearly two and a half times the number of diesel heavy trucks on surrounding roads and to and from the Channel Tunnel, with commensurate increases in diesel pollution and congestion.

Heathrow are only prepared to pay £1bn of the estimated £4bn to £15bn needed for road and rail access to the airport.  So Heathrow are relying on a subsidy from the taxpayer to support their third runway.

BackHeathrow mention that the CBI supports it, however the fact that someone supports a third runway is irrelevant, anymore than the fact that President Trump doesn’t believe in climate change means climate change isn’t happening.  Let’s have some real facts:

·         The government’s own expert advisor, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), has made it clear that offsets cannot be used to help to meet our ‘net zero’ climate target.

·         Air pollution is one of the biggest public health issues in the UK, with 40,000 people dying early every year.  Heathrow, with its planes and road traffic is already the UK’s biggest polluter and increasing its size by 50% with 700 more flights a day will make it impossible to meet air pollution limits set to protect human health.

·         He says that Heathrow expansion “will create economic growth for our nation”, however the government’s own analysis in the Department for Transport’s National Policy Statement of 2018 shows economic benefit of approximately zero (‘Net Present Value’ after costs over 60 years in the range -£2.5bn to +£2.9bn).

·         Meanwhile last year Heathrow’s mainly foreign shareholders received £800m in dividends, much, much more than the projected annual net benefit to the UK as a whole.  Also this is money taken out of the UK and so not directly benefiting the UK and local economies.

·         For approval to build Terminal 5 Heathrow promised 6,000 new jobs, however since that time the airport workforce has reduced from 79,000 to 76,000, a reduction of 3,000, and a mismatch of 9,000 jobs.

·         The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has twice conducted polls of its residents showing that a majority do not want Heathrow expansion, which is why they are part of the 5 West London Councils, along with the Mayor of London, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Climate Change lawyers Plan B who challenged expansion in the High Court.

The letter was also in the “Slough & South Bucks Express” and “Windsor, Ascot and Eton Express”, on  6th March.

See also

Heathrow expansion blocked by Court of Appeal ruling NPS illegal, for ignoring impact of carbon on UK’s Paris Agreement obligations

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the government’s decision to expand Heathrow was “unlawful”, on climate change grounds. This is one of the most important environmental law cases in this country for over a generation, and ground-breaking for ensuring carbon emissions are properly taken into account. The judgement, which sets a key legal precedent, said the government (Grayling as Sec of State for Transport) had wrongly ignored its international climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement. Such an omission was a fatal flaw to the lawfulness of the National Policy Statement, approving a 3rd Heathrow runway. Grayling had accepted flawed legal advice, implying that there was no need to consider obligations to cut carbon, through the Paris Agreement.  This judgment has vital wider implications for keeping climate change at the heart of all planning decisions. From now on, every infrastructure spending decision in the UK could face legal challenge if it doesn’t comply with the Climate Change Act, which mandates virtually zero emissions by 2050. The government has said it will not appeal to the Supreme Court.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow application to Planning Inspectorate for DCO now delayed from summer 2020 to “towards the end of the year”

Heathrow had originally intended to start its DCO (Development Consent Order) application by the middle of 2020. Now that the CAA has restricted the amount Heathrow can spend on early development costs, the timetable has slipped. Instead of hoping a 3rd runway might be read for use by 2026, that date is now more like 2029.  Heathrow says it plans to hold another consultation from April to June, and then feed responses from that into its DCO, which might be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate towards the end of 2020. That is perhaps a 6 month delay.  Some time after the middle of January, the Appeal Court ruling on the legal challenges, against the government’s approval of the Airports NPS, are expected. The DfT was intending to publish its Aviation Strategy in the first half of 2019. This is now delayed due to changes on carbon emissions, with the UK changing from an 80% cut on 1990 levels by 2050, to a 100% cut (ie. “net zero”) and advice on aviation carbon from the Committee on Climate Change.

Click here to view full story…