Edinburgh Airport to cut third of its workforce




Edinburgh Airport to cut third of its workforce

Edinburgh AirportImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionThere has been a sharp decline in the number of passengers

Edinburgh Airport is to make about a third of its 750-strong workforce redundant, it has announced.

The airport said the jobs would be lost as part of a restructuring due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The redundancy process will cover  all  areas,  including frontline staff, management and support functions.

Chief executive Gordon Dewar said it was a “bitterly sad” day for the airport and for those losing their jobs “through no fault of their own”.

He said: “We have worked with unions and staff over the past four months to protect as many jobs as possible, but unfortunately we have to confirm this regrettable news as the business prepares for whatever comes next.”

The airport said there would be both compulsory and voluntary redundancies across the business.

Those affected will start to be notified from Saturday, and will leave their jobs on 31 October.

Mr Dewar said Edinburgh was expecting the number of passengers to fall by at least two-thirds this year, after seeing a record 14.7 million people pass through its doors last year.

He said the business needed to be in “the right size to be in a position to survive and recover when it can”.

Edinburgh AirportImage copyrightPA MEDIA

Mr Dewar said the UK government’s furlough scheme had helped the airport retain jobs.

But despite support from the UK and Scottish governments, it had still been “burning through” about £3.5m a month.

“It will be a very long road to recovery, and we cannot successfully make that journey while we are set up as a 15 million passenger airport,” he said.

“Aviation was one of the industries to be hit first and unfortunately will be one of the last to fully recover, so job losses have been unavoidable.

“The situation has been exacerbated by the introduction of an ill-thought out and unworkable blanket quarantine policy which has massively impacted on passenger numbers.”

‘Genuinely worried’

The Unite union expressed its disappointment at the job losses.

Regional officer Sandy Smart said: “The entire civil aviation sector has been impacted by the pandemic and we are genuinely worried about the sector in Scotland once the government support through the Job Retention Scheme is reduced.

“We have been calling on Westminster and Holyrood parliaments to put an aid package together to help Scotland’s airports and we will continue to pursue this.”

Unite said a Fraser of Allander report, conducted on behalf of the union, had estimated that about 1,500 jobs could be lost in civil aviation in Scotland.

Last month there were warnings of job losses among staff employed at Edinburgh and Glasgow airports by Menzies Aviation.

Unite has also voiced fears that the jobs of 800 Swissport staff at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports are at risk.


Read more »

DfT ‘refuses to back down’ over £27bn roads legal challenge over carbon emissions

In April the Transport Action Network (TAN) revealed its intentions to launch a legal application to the High Court, as the DfT ignored environmental legislation in approving the five-year funding plan.  Now the DfT have given TAN’s lawyers its official response. It has “refused to back down”.  The legal challenge by TAN was made, as a result of the judgement by the Appeal Court in February, on the Heathrow case. It ruled that the Airports National Policy Statement  (ANPS) was illegal, as proper consideration had not been given to carbon emissions and the UK’s obligations under the Paris Agreement. The DfT letter claims, rather improbably, that decarbonisation will be addressed ‘at a society-wide level’ and its largest ever roads plan in fact ‘is a fully-integrated part of this wider effort to reach net zero emissions’. The legal challenge, by the same lawyers who won the Heathrow case, will proceed with the case on road building. As the courts found the ANPS was illegal, any other NPS will have to take carbon properly into account. Heathrow is appealing to the Supreme court on the February ruling, with a hearing on the 9th and 10th October. 



DfT ‘refuses to back down’ over £27bn roads challenge

The Department for Transport (DfT) has “refused to back down” following a mounting legal challenge against its £27.4bn road investment plan.

Last month, The Transport Action Network revealed its intentions to launch a legal application to the High Court, on the grounds that the DfT ignored environmental legislation in approving the five-year funding plan.

The DfT refutes this claim and insists that the plans “consistent with our ambitions to improve air quality and decarbonise transport”.

The investment plan, approved in March, includes £14.7bn worth of road route upgrades between 2020 and 2025. The Lower Thames Crossing and the controversial Stonehenge Tunnel are among the major projects which will get underway by 2025.

The Transport Action Network has now received an official response from the DfT in relation to its claim.

“It was no big surprise […] when we finally heard back from the Department for Transport (DfT), it refused to back down,” Transport Action Network founder Chris Todd wrote on the group’s crowdfunding page.

“In its response, it claims decarbonisation will be addressed ‘at a society-wide level’ and its largest ever roads plan in fact ‘is a fully-integrated part of this wider effort to reach net zero emissions’.

Todd adds: “Lowering emissions with one hand by supporting active travel and increasing them by building thousands of miles of roads with the other. How could anyone describe that as joined up?

“Fortunately our lawyers have advised us we have an arguable case, meaning we plan to see (or should that be Zoom) the DfT in court.”

The Transport Action Network is launching the appeal following a court ruling which outlawed Heathrow’s expansion plans.

In that case, Court of Appeal ruled that the government’s Airports National Policy Statement – which backs construction of the third runway – failed to consider the government’s commitments under the 2016 Paris Agreement to cut carbon emissions.

The same lawyers involved in blocking Heathrow’s plans are now representing The Transport Action Network.

In the update, Todd adds that the group expects to file “a strong case” with the High Court later this month.

Impact of Net Zero legislation

An NCE investigation carried out last year revealed that Heathrow’s third runway, the Lower Thames Crossing road tunnel and the Sizewell C nuclear plant were among dozens of projects whose plans would have to be redrafted to comply with new net zero legislation.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling on Heathrow expansion now appears to support this conclusion, with Justice Lindblom saying that expansion plans failed to comply with environmental laws.

Projects applying for development consent order (DCOs), and which are sitting at the pre-examination or pre-approval stage are most likely to be face challenges. DCOs are handled by the Planning Inspectorate and are required for large scale projects considered to be of “national interest”.

In total, NCE’s investigation revealed that 64 applications were at the pre-examination or pre-approval stage. Nineteen of these are road projects, six relate to rail works, while 27 are energy projects.

A Planning Inspectorate spokesperson told NCE that any DCO application “will need to take account of the specific legal and policy requirements in place at the point of application.

“There is an obligation on applicants to have regard to and adhere with relevant legislation, policy and guidance including (where applicable) the UK Government’s commitments to tackling climate change.”

At the time of NCE’s investigation, Highways England has the largest number of DCO applications at the pre-examination stage, with 18 projects potentially needing to be redrafted to meet the new regulations.

Among them is the Lower Thames Crossing, the new M54 to M6 link road, and several upgrades to the A1.




Read more »

Fresh indication that the government is not intending to support Heathrow expansion

The No 3rd Runway Coalition believe the Government has given its clearest hint yet that it will not support Heathrow expansion. In reply to a question put by Slough MP Tan Dhesi, the aviation minister, Kelly Tolhurst said that “The Court of Appeal has ruled that the designation of the Airports National Policy Statement has no legal effect unless and until this Government carries out a review”. The fresh use of the word “unless” implies consideration has been given to drop the project altogether.  The DfT also state that they are focussed on responding to Covid-19 at the moment, which presents further evidence that Heathrow expansion has slipped down the agenda. The Government also say that they “are carefully considering the Court of Appeal’s judgment and will set out our next steps in due course”. However, it is unclear how long is meant by “due course”. Heathrow is struggling, with few passengers, probably having to close one or more terminals, due to restrictions on air travel for an unknown period of time, due to Covid-19. A recent review of senior staff at Heathrow shows no longer a role for overseeing expansion. Heathrow now also appear not to be pushing for the “early release” of 25,000 extra flights, as this would depend on the NPS, which has now been deemed to be invalid, by the courts.




26.3.2020   (No 3rd Runway Coalition)

The Government has given its clearest hint yet that it will not support Heathrow expansion.

In reply to a question put by Slough MP Tan Dhesi, the Government state that “The Court of Appeal has ruled that the designation of the Airports National Policy Statement has no legal effect unless and until this Government carries out a review” (1).

The fresh use of the word “unless” implies consideration has been given to drop the project altogether.

The Department for Transport also state that they are focussed on responding to Covid-19 at the moment, which presents further evidence that Heathrow expansion has slipped down the agenda since the judgment on 27 February.

The Government say that they “are carefully considering the Court of Appeal’s judgment and will set out our next steps in due course”. However, it is unclear how long is meant by “due course” (2).

This news comes as the project has been dealt a huge blow, with the airport itself placing it under “deep freeze” and undertaking a review of the most senior roles at the airport, with no role for overseeing expansion (3).

Measures that Heathrow have taken since the Court of Appeal judgment include scrapping the proposal to bring in 25,000 more flights per year before any new runway opened (4). They described this as the “early release” of capacity of the 3rd runway (5). As the Airports National Policy Statement is now unlawful, Heathrow cannot seek permission for the release of the extra flights.

If Heathrow were to bring a fresh application forward for these additional 25,000 flights, it would be decided by the local authority – Hillingdon Council – who was one of the claimants in the legal challenge and are against any expansion of Heathrow.

Other measure include:

Entire expansion project put on hold, into a “deep freeze”
No fresh consultation on airport’s Masterplan
Shareholders want costs controlled given new political risk of the project

Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:

“In light of all circumstances, it seems right that the Government is unenthusiastic about resuscitating the Airports National Policy Statement. For as well as being ruled unlawful by the courts, it has become increasingly clear that the full facts about the deleterious air quality, noise, carbon and regional consequences of Heathrow expansion had not been presented to MPs, when it was subjected to parliamentary scrutiny. And even Heathrow’s investors are now expressing cold feet about the project.

Moreover, it’s most welcome that Heathrow has now announced that it won’t proceed with its other plan, for an 25,000 extra flights in advance of a third runway – the prospect of which had been causing such alarm in the airport’s hinterlands. Because our communities are not only saying “No” no a third runway at Heathrow, but “No” to any expansion of flight volumes from what is, statistically, already the world’s most disruptive airport”.




  1. Parliamentary Questions, number 32187, Written Answers, 24 March 2020 https://members.parliament.uk/member/4638/writtenquestions#expand-1186505

2. Parliamentary Questions, number 32188, Written Answers, 24 March 2020 https://members.parliament.uk/member/4638/writtenquestions#expand-1186505

3. John Holland-Kaye, blog to Heathrow staff, 17 March 2020. For full blog, please get in touch.

4. Email sent to members of Board of Airlines Representatives in the UK, 3 March 2020. For more info, please get in touch.

5. BACKGROUND INFO: Currently, Heathrow can’t land two planes on parallel runways at the same time. In order to allow a plane to land on the ‘wrong’ runway, the gap between planes landing on the other runway has to be extended. The introduction of Independent Parallel Approaches (IPA) is an attempt to get around this. The granting of an additional 25,000 flights would have required planning permission from the Planning Inspectorate in order to lift the 480,000 Air Traffic Movement Cap imposed in the Terminal 5 Inquiry. The introduction of IPA would also have required approval for the airspace changes from the CAA. It is not possible to add the 25,000 extra flights without introducing IPA as there is not the flexibility within current landing procedures to land that many extra planes safely on a 2-runway airport.

For more information, contact:

Rob Barnstone on 07806947050 or rob@no3rdrunwaycoalition.co.uk

Read more »

Plans for new Lisbon airport opposed by local authorities, and the Dutch (for harm to national bird, the godwit)

There are plans to construct a new airport for Lisbon (Portugal) as the existing airport – Humberto Delgado Airport – is considered by the authorities to be full. Plans have been considered for many years, but a new airport at existing Montijo military air base, near Lisbon, got approval on 8th January 2019 when the government signed an agreement with ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal (the country’s airports manager). The Montijos site is on the  Tagus estuary, a nature reserve where the godwits, a threatened species, stop off on their way from Africa to the Netherlands. There is now considerable opposition from the Netherlands, where the godwit is seen as the national bird. The planned airport would devastate the areas where godwits feed, and many birds would be culled if the airport was built, for air passenger safety. There is now political controversy about the airport, as in Portuguese law, if local councils oppose a development, it is not permitted. The government wants to over-rule this ability, as various councils led by various political parties are blocking government plans. Due to costs, TAP Air Portugal, has firmly stated it would not move to the new airport.


Construction of new Lisbon airport threatened by municipal veto

By Carla Jorge

March 01, 2020 (Lusa – Agencia de Noticias de Portugal)

The start of work on the new Lisbon airport (Montijo airport) was scheduled for this year, but a law giving the local authorities involved the right to veto the project threatens to put a brake on the work.

The government has advocated a change in the law in recent days, which gives two PCP (communist) authorities the right to veto the project, while Prime Minister António Costa has already warned that abandoning the option for Montijo has very high costs.

However, the PSD (social democrats), the largest opposition party in a parliament in which no party has a majority, has already declared itself unwilling to change the law and parties such as the Left Bloc and the Livre have also indicated that they are against the change, which puts the project back in deadlock.

In 2019, after decades of debate over the best location for a second airport in the Lisbon region, Montijo’s project saw progress, with the issue of a favourable Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the reorganization of military airspace. In addition, the government has included in the State Budget for this year, as an objective, the beginning of construction, continuing “this important” project and entering “its definitive implementation phase”.

The executive thus assumed “as a goal for 2020 the beginning of construction” of Montijo airport.

The project is the construction of a civil airport at Montijo Air Base No. 6 (BA6), in complement to the Lisbon airport, with the aim of distributing air traffic destined for the Lisbon region and connecting the A12 (the southern motorway) to the new airport.

A squadron from Sintra Air Base 1 to Beja was scheduled to move in the spring, allowing constraints in airspace management to be overcome, which will facilitate operation in Lisbon until the new airport is completed.

The agreement to expand Lisbon’s airport capacity, with an investment of €1.15 billion by 2028 to increase Lisbon’s current airport (Humberto Delgado airport) and transform Montijo’s air base into a new airport was signed on January 8, 2019, between ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal (the country’s airports manager) and the State.

At the end of January this year, the Portuguese Environment Agency announced that the project had received a conditioned favourable decision in the Environmental Impact Statement, while maintaining around 160 measures of mitigation and compensation to which ANA “will have to comply”, which amount to around €48 million.


Comment by a local resident in Portugal:

The current law for approval of infrastructure in Portugal needs the consent of all affected local authorities. A handful of local authorities around the new airport area have rejected it so the airport can’t go ahead. The government is trying to change the law as it considers that a few local authorities can’t stop a project of national interest.  Opposition to the left and right of the socialist government are against changing the law so interesting times.

I think this will be the airport that never happens… There are a couple of other alternatives with lower environmental impact that need to be considered. No one is yet talking about carbon emissions but it will come next.  Watch this space.

Don’t kill our national bird: Dutch object to new Lisbon airport

By Catarina Demony, Victoria Waldersee (Reuters)

FEBRUARY 18, 2020

LISBON (Reuters) – Thousands of people in the Netherlands have signed a petition objecting to the construction of an airport in Portugal that could threaten the black-tailed godwit, the Dutch national bird.

A black-tailed godwit
Image result for black tailed godwit

The new airport will be located on the south bank of Lisbon’s Tagus estuary, a nature reserve where the godwits, a threatened species, stop off on their way from Africa to the Netherlands.“What is the point of protecting the godwits in the Netherlands if they are weakened or even die in Portugal?” says the petition, which has so far been signed by 26,000 people.

Portugal’s environment agency gave the green light for the airport in Montijo last month but said it must take steps to protect wildlife. The project has been heavily criticised by environmentalists at home and now abroad.

Vogelbescherming Nederland, the Dutch nature conservation organisation behind the petition, said the Tagus estuary is a vital feeding break for the godwits.

“They eat crop residues in the rice fields before they fly to our country to breed,” they said. “But if the Portuguese government gets its way, that will soon be over.”

Researchers also say birds are at risk of colliding with aircraft and will be driven away by noise.

Writing in Portuguese newspaper Publico, assistant secretary of state Alberto Souto de Miranda said people should not worry because “birds are not stupid and it is likely they will adapt”.

Thijs van der Otter, a spokesperson for Vogelbescherming Nederland, was unconvinced.

“That’s like cutting down a forest and saying it’ll find somewhere else to grow,” he told Reuters. “Life isn’t that simple.”



There is a petition, in Portuguese here, that people can sign against it. https://peticaopublica.com/?pi=AeroportoMontIjoNAO


TAP Air Portugal Not Interested In New Lisbon Airport

by  Joanna Bailey  (Simple Flying)
February 3, 2020

Lisbon needs a second airport. In fact, it’s been desperate for more capacity since about 2018, when the existing airport was proclaimed ‘full’. Airport operator ANA Airports of Portugal has been working on a plan to annex an airbase in neighbouring Montijo as an overspill for the city. However, its likely biggest customer, TAP Air Portugal, has firmly stated it has no interest in moving to the new facility at all.

Talks of a second airport for Lisbon have been grinding along for more than five decades. Now, with the existing Humberto Delgado Airport experiencing something of a capacity crunch, ANA Airports of Portugal, the operators of the facility, are considering using a neighboring airbase to provide much-needed slots.

In fact, this idea was first floated way back in 2017, but has taken some time to develop into a solid idea. Last month, Lisbon’s second airport moved a step closer to becoming a reality, as the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA) finally gave it the thumbs up. The caveat? Every airline will be charged a €4.50 ($5) ‘pollution bill’ as compensation for the airport’s construction.

ANA airports chief executive officer Thierry Ligonniere, Portuguese Finance State Secretary Ricardo Mourinho Felix, Portuguese Infrastructure Minster Pedro Marques and ANA Airports chairperson Jose Luis Arnaut sign an agreement between the Portuguese government and ANA airports for the expansion of the Lisbon airport to Montijo. Photo: Getty
However, it looks like ANA is on its own in footing the bill for the construction of the airport, as local airline TAP Portugal has said it is not interested in helping out. According to CAPA, the airline has said it has no interest in moving to the new airport, and therefore will not be co-financing the development in any way.

As long ago as October 2018, it was reported by Blue Swan that TAP would not be interested in using the new airport, even after it’s built. At the time, TAP’s CEO Antonoaldo Neves stated that using the new airport was not in line with TAP’s hub and spoke strategy. He said,

“I’m in favor of Montijo but don’t want to use it… I wish all the best for Montijo, as soon as possible.”

Mr. Neves supported the notion that Lisbon’s existing airport was completely exhausted of capacity, and that a new airport was needed urgently. However, he is clearly looking for TAP to remain, along with TAP Express, at the existing Humberto Delgado Airport instead of moving to the new one.

What’s happening with the new airport?

Montijo airbase is around 20km from the existing airport, and is out of town in terms of geography. Lisbon’s current airport is unable to expand from its footprint due to the proximity of residential and commercial districts. As such, Montijo would not only provide the capacity Portugal needs right now, but would also be a future-proofed solution, able to expand more in the future as needed.

It was originally earmarked to be open for business from 2022 onwards. Originally, it was thought that it would be a replacement for Humberto Delgado, with all airlines moving there. However, the rapid rise in tourism to Portugal has meant this is no longer an option. Now, the new airport will work in tandem with the existing one, providing overflow capacity and acting as a hub for some airlines.

But which? With TAP clearly not keen to move its operations, who will use the new airport?

Well, just as low-cost carriers have moved out of Gatwick and Heathrow in favor of cheaper and less slot constricted London airports, so might they be encouraged to do so in Portugal. CAPA estimates 25% of seat capacity at Lisbon is on LCCs, with Ryanair leading the pack, followed by easyJet and Vueling.

In fact, Ryanair has been somewhat outspoken in its support for the new airport, with CEO Michael O’Leary even calling for ANA to be kicked off the project in order to get things moving. Back in 2017, Algarve Daily News reported him saying,

“Real competition will be good for the consumer. The problem is in the way airports in Portugal are organized. ANA is a monopoly, so there is no competition … Montijo is already there, there is a runway there, there are flights … and now ANA asks for an environmental study? Why? The track is there, it is not a nature reserve, it is already an airport. But it’s a way of delaying it all until 2021, so ANA can raise prices in Lisbon even higher and make even more money.”

Clearly, Ryanair will be one of the first airlines to move operations to Montijo once it finally opens. Could it become the low-cost hub for Portugal? Let us know in the comments.




New Lisbon airport gets green light from environment watchdog

OCTOBER 31, 2019

By Catarina Demony, Sergio Goncalves

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s environmental agency has given the green light for a new airport in Lisbon, but only if the project meets certain conditions, including measures to reduce noise and protect wildlife.

Portugal’s booming tourism industry has complained for years about the lack of capacity at Lisbon’s Portela airport and a new airport at Montijo on the southern bank of the Tagus River was proposed as a hub for low-cost flights.

Plans for a new airport in Lisbon have been under consideration for five decades but the government has said the Montijo airport, where there is already a military air base, should be completed by 2022.

An environmental study, presented by Portugal’s airport authority ANA in July this year, highlighted a threat to wildlife from the new airport as the Tagus estuary is a nature reserve for various birds, including flamingos.

Last year, environmental organization Zero sent a complaint to the European Commission, insisting that a more demanding “strategic” environmental evaluation be carried out before the airport can be built.

In a ruling late on Wednesday, Portugal’s environmental agency gave its final go-ahead for the project on condition that measures are implemented to reduce its environmental impact.

French construction group Vinci, which owns ANA, the operator of Lisbon airport, in January said it would invest 1.15 billion euros ($1.32 billion) in the expansion of Lisbon’s main airport and the construction of the new one.

The entire project will be financed by the private sector, Vinci said when the agreement was announced, but no other companies have been named in connection with it.

The environmental agency, APA, has set out around 200 conditions for the project to “mitigate the negative impacts from the new airport on birdlife, noise and mobility.” These will cost some 48 million euros.

Some of the conditions include sound insulation requirements and restrictions on flights between midnight and 6 a.m.

Vinci’s ANA said in a statement: “ANA will analyze the feasibility, balance and environmental benefit of these measures.”

ANA’s study in July had made the case for the new airport at Montijo as the only viable solution for the Lisbon’s airport capacity issue.

Portugal’s tourism industry has had eight consecutive years of growth, which has helped the country recover from a severe debt crisis and economic recession of 2010-13.

Traffic at Lisbon’s existing airport increased by 8.9% in 2018 to 29 million passengers compared with the year before, according to Vinci.

If the project goes ahead, the new airport, around 25 km (15.5 miles) from Lisbon city center, is set to be one of the largest construction projects in Portugal.




With the long-term concession of ANA Aeroportos de Portugal to the French group Vinci Airports[7] the project for a new airport was postponed in July 2013, and it was decided that the existing Lisbon Airport would be further upgraded to surpass 22 million passengers annually[25] and would remain the present solution for this major European gateway.[26] Ryanair had predicted that it will double the number of passengers it carries from the airport in the three years from 2014.[27]

In January 2019, Portugal’s government unveiled a 1.1-billion-euro ($1.26 billion) plan to expand Lisbon’s current airport and build a second one.[8] National airports operator ANA is footing the bill to adapt a military airfield in Montijo, 30 km (19 mi) by road from Lisbon.[28] It aims to handle around 50 million passengers a year from 2022.[9] The airports company will also pay for the expansion of the Humberto Delgado Airport in the capital. With around 29 million passengers a year, it is at full capacity.[10]






Read more »

ASA rule against Ryanair ad (greenwash) claim to have the lowest airline CO2 emissions

Ryanair has been accused of greenwashing after the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned an ad campaign, that tried to make out  the airline has the lowest CO2 emissions of any major airline in Europe. It has been ordered to withdraw the misleading claims about its “green” credentials. Ryanair is in fact one of the top 10 carbon emitters in the EU, due to the number of flights.  Ryanair probably has lower CO2 per passenger kilometre than many other airlines, as it has newer planes, and crams its planes full. But its rapid growth has meant its CO2 increased by 50% between 2013 and 2019. The ASA pointed out failings in the way Ryanair compared itself to other airlines, to make its carbon claims; it did not include all airlines or seating density; it did not substantiate its claims.  The growth of Ryanair, and of air travel in general, in Europe has been due to the sector paying no jet fuel tax, making flying artificially cheap. The CO2 emissions of all flights departing from EU airports have grown from being 1.4% of total EU emissions in 1990 to 3.7% today.



Ryanair fake ‘green’ ad shows why lawmakers must take on its soaring emissions

5 February 2020, Brussels
Link to PR: https://transenv.eu/31s8mpr

Reaction to the UK Advertising Standards Authority’s ruling on Ryanair 

The biggest aviation emitter in Europe, Ryanair, has been sanctioned today by the UK Advertising Standards Authority for misleading claims that it’s a green airline.[1] The low-cost operator mislead consumers in press, TV and radio ads by claiming to be “low CO2” and “Europe’s… lowest emissions airline”, the ads watchdog ruled. Green campaign and research group Transport & Environment (T&E) said the ruling dispels Ryanair’s green myths and shows the need for lawmakers to finally do something about airline emissions.

Ryanair has been ordered to withdraw the misleading claims about its “green” credentials. The airline’s CO2 emissions increased by half in five years, [2] putting it on the EU’s list of top 10 emitters. Yet, despite airlines’ soaring pollution, the sector pays no tax on its fuel and has no obligation to start using newer, cleaner fuels like synthetic kerosene.

T&E’s aviation manager, Jo Dardenne, said: “Ryanair should stop greenwashing and start doing something to tackle its sky-high emissions. This ruling is a reminder that the aviation sector’s climate impact is soaring because of a decades-long tax holiday and almost zero regulation of their pollution. European governments must without delay agree bilaterally to tax jet fuel until EU Vice-President Timmermans secures the end of the tax exemption.”

The emissions of all flights departing from EU airports have grown from 1.4% of total EU emissions in 1990 to 3.7% today. If unmitigated, aviation emissions are expected to double or triple by 2050 and, in doing so, consume up to one-quarter of the global carbon budget under a 1.5 degree scenario.


Notes to editors:
[1] The UK Advertising Standards Authority published its ruling on Wednesday, 5 February 2020. See: https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/ryanair-ltd-cas-571089-p1w6b2.html

[2] In 2017 Ryanair was the 12th largest emitter in the EU emissions trading system (ETS), and in 2016 it was 17th. Its emissions have been growing steadily, while at the same time emissions from other sectors covered by the ETS have been declining. In 2013, Ryanair’s emissions were 6.6 Mt CO2. Last year, they soared to 9.9 Mt CO2, representing an increase of 49%.

For more information, contact:
Jo Dardenne
Aviation manager,
Transport & Environment
Tel: +32 (0) 475768431



Ryanair are running similar adverts across the EU, so that’s an open invitation to make similar complaints in other member states. 
See also:

Ryanair accused of greenwash over carbon emissions claim

UK watchdog bans advert claiming lowest CO2 pollution of any major airline

By  @marksweney  (The Guardian)

Ryanair has been accused of greenwashing after the UK advertising watchdog banned an ad campaign claiming that the airline has the lowest carbon emissions of any major airline in Europe.

The budget airline, which was named last year as one of Europe’s top 10 carbon emitters in an EU report, later ran a TV, press and radio campaign claiming it was “Europe’s lowest fares, lowest emissions airline”.

The ads claim that Ryanair has the “lowest carbon emissions of any major airline”, based on CO2 emissions per passenger per kilometre flown, because it has the youngest fleet, highest proportion of seats filled on flights and newest, most fuel-efficient engines.

However, one of the charts Ryanair presented to the Advertising Standards Authority to back up its claims was dated 2011, which the watchdog said was “of little value as substantiation for a comparison made in 2019”. The ASA added: “In addition, some well-known airlines did not appear on the chart, so it was not clear whether they had been measured.”

The ASA also said that the ads failed to factor in seating density – the number of seats per plane – which it considered “significant information that consumers needed in order to understand the basis of the claim”.

The ASA banned the ads ruling that they were misleading because the airline had failed to substantiate its environmental claims.

“The ads must not appear again in their current forms,” the ASA said. “We told Ryanair to ensure that when making environmental claims they held adequate evidence to substantiate them and to ensure that the basis of those claims were made clear.”

The environmental group Transport & Environment accused Ryanair of greenwashing instead of tackling its emissions.

The airline ran the low-emissions ad campaign just over five months after it became the first non-coal company to be named in the EU top 10 carbon emitters list.

“Ryanair should stop greenwashing and start doing something to tackle its sky-high emissions,” said Jo Dardenne, the aviation manager of T&E.

Ryanair remained defiant, claiming it had abided by the UK advertising code.

“Ryanair is both disappointed and surprised that the ASA has issued this ruling given that Ryanair fully complied with advertising regulations, engaging with regulators and providing documentation that fulfilled all the substantiations needed,” said a spokeswoman.

The Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary, has suggested shooting environmentalists and has repeatedly denied that the climate crisis is driven by carbon emissions, which aviation produces in abundance.

Last year, Ryanair claimed it was already the greenest airline in terms of carbon emissions per passenger. The company has also pledged to be “plastic free” by 2023 and set up a voluntary carbon offset payment scheme for customers when booking.


See earlier:

Complaint submitted to Advertising Standards Authority about misleading Ryanair emissions advert

A complaint has been made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an advert Ryanair has placed in newspapers saying it is “Europe’s lowest fares, lowest emissions airline” on the grounds that it is systematically misleading about the airline’s carbon emissions. While that may be true in terms of carbon emissions per seat kilometre flown, it is certainly NOT true for the airline as a whole. Ryanair is in fact now the 10th largest carbon emitter in Europe, on an assessment of power stations, manufacturing plants and airlines. Its emissions were around 10 million tonnes CO2 in 2018, up 6.9% on 2017.  The complainant says the “unqualified statements” in the advert combine to make the advert “comprehensively misleading as to the impact of both past and future expansion of low-cost air travel on carbon emissions, an expansion which was, and is still, being led by Ryanair.”

The Ryanair advert:



Read more »

Sadiq Khan announces green new deal for London if re-elected in May, and says Heathrow 3rd runway would be “catastrophic”

Sadiq Khan has announced that he would introduce a green new deal for London and make the city carbon-neutral by 2030 if re-elected in May this year.  He also outlined the steps that he would take in the future to combat the climate crisis, and air pollution. He said his plans “will help to address the inequality that exists in our city and create the green jobs and industry that can sustain our communities in the future.” Asked about Heathrow expansion, Sadiq Khan said: “A new runway at Heathrow would be catastrophic… I think that a new runway at Heathrow won’t happen for the foreseeable future because of the legal challenges going ahead.”  The election for Mayor will be on 7th May, and is a two-horse race between Sadiq and the Tory candidate, Shaun Bailey.  Other cities such as Copenhagen and Oslo have made similar commitments to become carbon-neutral.



Sadiq Khan announces green new deal for London

By Elliot Chappell  (Labour List)

18th January, 2020

Sadiq Khan has announced that he would introduce a green new deal for London and make the city carbon-neutral by 2030 if re-elected in May this year.

Focusing on climate issues and the upcoming mayoral contest, the mayor spoke to the Fabian’s Society New Year conference in Euston today.

Taking to the stage, Khan set out his record as London mayor but also outlined the steps that he would take in the future to combat the climate crisis.

He announced that he would set a target for the capital to be carbon neutral by 2030, and said that the government needed to introduce a national green new deal.

The Mayor declared: “My pledge to deliver a green new deal for the city, with a target for London to be carbon neutral by 2030, will help tackle the climate emergency and the air pollution crisis.

“Some may say that a 2030 target isn’t achievable but I say we can’t afford not to try. This is a matter of social justice because it’s the poorest communities that are being hit hardest. My plans will help to address the inequality that exists in our city and create the green jobs and industry that can sustain our communities in the future.”

Speaking about the broader challenges facing the country and the world in terms of climate issues, the mayor said that “we are at a critical moment in history – our planet is burning, towns across our country are flooding”.

Khan declared a “national and indeed international green new deal” is needed and said: “My message to the government is this: let’s work together to stave off disaster.”

But he claimed that the key dividing line between him and the Tory candidate is their respective approaches to air pollution in the capital and climate issues.

“The election on May 7th is a two-horse race between me and the Tory candidate. My Conservative opponent is shamefully seeking to defend his government’s failure to meet its climate and air pollution obligations and delay taking the action we need.

“In stark contrast, I will stand up for our city, defend our values of fairness, equality and sustainability and take bold action not only to address the crisis we face, but support green jobs, skills and businesses.”

Asked about Heathrow expansion, Khan replied: “A new runway at Heathrow would be catastrophic… I think that a new runway at Heathrow won’t happen for the foreseeable future because of the legal challenges going ahead.”

The Labour 2019 manifesto committed the party to finding “a path” towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

At the last election, the Conservatives put forward a policy to achieve net-zero by 2050, while the Lib Dems promised a date of 2045.

This announcement from Khan follows other cities in Europe, such as Copenhagen and Oslo, that have made similar commitments to become carbon-neutral.




There is  more on the issue of London being carbon neutral, at

Climate change: The challenges facing London




Read more »

Heathrow timetable – it will not submit its DCO till end of 2020 at earliest; final decision might be early 2022

The earliest the Transport Secretary (currently Grant Shapps) could make a decision on the 3rd runway would be the end of 2021, or perhaps early 2022. The Standard said it might be the end of 2020. That is not possible.  Heathrow hopes to submit its DCO (Development Consent Order) to the Planning Inspectorate at the end of 2020, or it could be delayed into 2021 if they run into problems meeting the requirements of the Airports National Policy Statement.  The Planning Inspectorate will launch an inquiry which takes 9 months and then the Inspector will take 3 months to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State – who then gets to make a decision. There is no mechanism for the Secretary of State to make a decision before the conclusion of the planning inquiry unless the government enacts a review under section 6 of the Planning Act 2008 if it feels “there has been a significant change in any circumstances on the basis of which any of the policies set out in the statement was decided.”



11th January 2020

The No 3rd Runway Coalition have clarified the timetable for possible Heathrow expansion. There was an inaccurate article in the Standard recently, that got it all wrong.   Below is a statement from the Coalition: 


A decision to abandon the runway could be made earlier than 2022, if the combined economic problems and environmental problems cause the government to re-think.

Due to the delays caused by the CAA ruling, the runway will not be completed by 2026, as Heathrow had hoped. The likely date would be 2029, at the earliest – removing much of the theoretical economic benefit that might have been produced by the runway being built quickly.

See also:

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…

See earlier:


Heathrow runway completion date now 2029, NOT 2026. That means maximum economic benefit cut from +£3.3bn to a loss of -£13bn to the UK

Heathrow’s timetable for its 3rd runway faces further delay after CAA said it would only approve £1.6 billion of spending before the DCO is approved. Not the £3 billion Heathrow wants.  In a new CAA consultation document released on Thursday, they say this would mean a delay of about a year to the 2026 scheduled opening of Heathrow’s runway, based on Heathrow’s estimates. However, Heathrow said the CAA’s proposal would delay the completion of the runway by up to 3 years. ie. it would not open till 2029 (Heathrow says “between early 2028 and late 2029….).  The delayed opening date means the alleged economic benefit to the UK is far lower than currently estimated. The Transport Select Cttee report in March 2018 on the Airports NPS said the maximum benefit of the runway to the whole of the UK over 60 years would be +£3.3 billion. They said that a delay of two years, from opening in 2026 to 2028 would mean a loss of £16.3 in economic benefit to the UK. That means the runway would now cause a considerable economic loss to the country.  On this basis alone there should be a review of the Airports NPS, and rethink by government on Heathrow.

Click here to view full story…





Read more »

Nicola Sturgeon defends just “reviewing” support for Heathrow 3rd runway, not yet opposing it

The Scottish Government signed a memorandum of understanding with London Heathrow Airport in 2016, backing a 3rd runway in exchange for commitments to Scotland, including creating up to 16,000 new jobs in England. [That figure was always absolute nonsense, based on incorrect extrapolations from incorrect data showing inflated alleged financial benefits of the runway]. Now Nicola Sturgeon has defended the Scottish Government’s stance on the runway, to just review its decision to support it – hoping Scotland would get some economic benefits, eventually. But in view of climate concerns, and the huge increase in aviation CO2 the 3rd runway would generate, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie raised the matter, and asked why Nicola Sturgeon is continuing to review the issue, instead of ending the SNP’s support. He said:  “Climate change has brought Zambia to the brink of famine, Australia has been burning since September, the ice caps continue to melt. Yet the First Minister continues to support Heathrow expansion.” The Scottish Government will bring forward an updated draft climate change plan by the end of April.



Nicola Sturgeon defends stance on Heathrow Airport expansion

By National Newsdesk  (The National)

9th January 2020

The Scottish Government signed a memorandum of understanding with London Heathrow Airport in 2016

NICOLA Sturgeon has defended the Scottish Government’s stance on the expansion of Heathrow Airport in the face of climate concerns.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie raised the matter at First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood.

The Scottish Government signed a memorandum of understanding with London Heathrow Airport in 2016, backing a third runway in exchange for commitments to Scotland, including creating up to 16,000 new jobs in England. [The number was given for jobs just in Scotland, which is total nonsense. See link]

Rennie asked the SNP leader why she is continuing to review the issue, instead of pulling support.

Rennie said: “This is urgent, this is a crisis right now. If her MPs haven’t supported it at Westminster, why is she still supporting Heathrow expansion here in Scotland?

“Climate change has brought Zambia to the brink of famine, Australia has been burning since September, the ice caps continue to melt.

“Yet the First Minister continues to support Heathrow expansion.”

Sturgeon said: “We took the view as the Scottish Government –because we’re not in control of the decision about a third runway at Heathrow – if it is going ahead then Scotland should seek to maximise economic impact and benefit from that.

“But the climate emergency, the updated advice from the Committee on Climate Change, our updated responsibilities, not just to meet but to exceed the obligations in the Paris Agreement, meant we need to review all of that.

“That’s exactly what the Government is doing.”

She added that having set a target for achieving net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045 “we have to take the action now to ensure that we can meet them”.

Sturgeon pointed out within recent weeks Rennie’s party backed legislation in the Scottish Parliament meaning the Scottish Government requires to bring forward an updated draft climate change plan by the end of April.

She said the Government is current doing this, and questioned why Rennie’s party opposes measures to tackle climate change such as the workplace parking levy aimed at encouraging workers to leave their cars at home.




See earlier:


SNP “promised” 16,000 new jobs if it backs 3rd runway – but that figure is crazily inflated – as Heathrow & DfT well know

The Conservative government may need the SNP’s support if some of its MPs rebel against the new Heathrow runway – which is likely. The SNP will demand guaranteed extra slots for Scottish flights into London in return for the party’s support for the 3rd runway.  Ian Blackford, the head of the SNP’s parliamentary group in London, said the party had not taken a decision on runway yet – and would only do so if Scotland stood to benefit. Their backing may not be guaranteed, though that had been assumed – particularly after Keith Brown, Scotland’s infrastructure secretary, believed there might be 16,000 Scottish jobs, created by the project. That figure of 16,000 jobs is what Heathrow has, for several years, been peddling. Along with similarly inflated claims for all the regions. The number was derived by a consultancy called Quod, in a flimsy little 4 page paper, with no methodology, no date, no author etc. It is based on the assumption that Heathrow would provide an economic benefit (NPV) to the UK, over 60 years, of £147 billion. That number is now known to actually be about £3.3 billion, at best (if not a negative number). The SNP would be very ill-advised to believe Scotland will benefit; in reality its airports would be damaged by allowing the runway. Tragic if they vote in favour of it, because they have not checked out the facts properly. 




see also


FoI documents show Scottish airports would lose perhaps 220,000 passengers per year, if Heathrow got 3rd runway

Scottish airports could lose more than 220,000 passengers per year, if Heathrow got a 3rd runway.  The regions have been led to believe the runway would benefit them, in terms of links to Heathrow and more jobs. The reality is different. The Scottish Government had backed the runway plans, hoping Scotland would benefit. But the DfT’s own data – revealed in emails – shows they expect number of passengers using  Scottish airports would reduce, with the 3rd runway, as Heathrow would increasingly have a monopoly of lucrative long-haul routes.  There might be more domestic flights to Heathrow from Newcastle, cutting demand from Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. The Scottish government needs to consider their position on Heathrow very carefully. The figures on alleged jobs were based on very, very dodgy, out of date data, (assuming benefits of the runway to the UK over 60 years as £147 bn, when in reality they might at most be £3bn – or an actual cost) that cannot be believed. “Estimates of aviation emissions from an expanded Heathrow were redacted in the emails released.”   







Read more »

Noise body ICCAN recognises problems with the SoNA noise survey, and recommends new, better, regular noise surveys

One of the key surveys on attitudes to aircraft noise was the SoNA study, Survey of Noise Attitudes 2014, carried out by the CAA.  The SoNA study found people were more annoyed by noise, and more sensitive to it, than another study in 1985.  Some degree of annoyance and adverse effects were found down to 51dB LAeq 16hr. The conventional level of averaged noise considered a problem is 57 dB LAeq. But critics have said the study was flawed, as it only considered populations that had already experienced high levels of aviation noise, rather than communities that had been impacted for the first time, or had newly been exposed to a greater intensification of noise. With the expansion of aviation in the UK, there are many areas and hundreds of thousands of people, who are being newly exposed to plane noise. The noise body ICCAN has realised there is a problem with SoNA. It recommends that a new, regular attitudinal survey is begun before the end of 2021, and repeated frequently. And that “the new surveys should be commissioned, run and analysed independent of Government, regulators and industry. We consider it appropriate for ICCAN to take on this role, working closely with relevant stakeholders.”


Noise data flaw

Campaigners have found that data used to calculate the impact to Survey of Noise Attitudes 2014 has been found to include inappropriate survey sampling, in a report by the newly formed Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, because it had only considered populations that had already experienced high levels of aviation noise, rather than communities that had been impacted for the first time, or communities that had been exposed to a greater intensification of noise. Look out for more on this over the coming days.

“Review of the Survey of Noise Attitudes 2014”

December 2019

By ICCAN (the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise)


This says: 

The Survey of Noise Attitudes (SoNA), conducted in 2014, is an important piece of evidence. It provided information about attitudes towards aviation noise and how they relate to aircraft noise exposure indices. This evidence was used to determine thresholds for community annoyance, which informed UK policy and guidance. It also provided data on factors that influence attitudes to aviation noise and the effects of aviation noise on health and wellbeing.

However, there has been considerable debate around the robustness of SoNA’s methodology and results, with some community groups voicing a lack of confidence in SoNA and decisions based on SoNA’s results1 .


The aim of our review was to consider the lessons from SoNA 2014 and make recommendations on the scope of future research in this area. ICCAN spoke to a range of stakeholders and experts and reviewed relevant publicly-available documents. This report details the results of ICCAN’s review.

We have deliberately not set out to conduct a full and critical review of the methodology used, the analysis of, or the conclusions drawn from SoNA. We view our role as forward-looking and, in that spirit, we have used the evidence and knowledge drawn from this review to make achievable recommendations for the future. We view this as being of more value than simply adding to the debate and commentary on the rights and wrongs of the previous survey.



They also say: 

ICCAN’s review of SoNA provided a detailed insight into the survey itself and the issues that have been raised regarding its methodology and results. Overall, we have found that SoNA sought to follow best practice in the methodology that was used within its budgetary constraints. However, it is abundantly clear that there remain disputes over the use of the evidence base from SoNA in relation to issues such as the change effect, the ‘snapshot’ nature of the study, the sampling methodology, the lower limit of 51 dB LAeq, and its use in government policy-setting (such as the Lowest Observable Adverse Effect Level) and we have therefore identified some areas where it would be beneficial to explore how improvements to the methodology could be made for future studies. Based on this review, ICCAN has formed a set of recommendations that are set out below.



In summary, we recommend that:

• A new, regular attitudinal survey is begun before the end of 2021, and repeated frequently.

• The new surveys should be commissioned, run and analysed independent of Government, regulators and industry. We consider it appropriate for ICCAN to take on this role, working closely with relevant stakeholders.

• ICCAN will find a sustainable and equitable solution to funding the surveys, which involves government and industry, but does not impinge of the independence of our ownership and management of the surveys.

• Improvements should be made for the new surveys using lessons learned from SoNA.

• ICCAN will run a development study to identify the best way to implement improvements for the new surveys.


ICCAN recommends that lessons learned from SoNA are used to make
improvements for the new attitudinal survey.

While SoNA sought to follow best practice in the methodology it used, ICCAN’s review
identified some areas where it would be beneficial to explore whether methodological
improvements could be made for future attitudinal surveys of aviation noise. We have
looked at some of the most significant issues in this report; however, there remain a
number of critical strategic and methodological questions that we would want to answer
before designing the new survey.

These include:

Scope of population

• How can the survey include noise contours at a level below that used in SoNA to
balance robustness of results, value for money and accuracy of lower noise
estimates? What noise level is appropriate and possible to go down to satisfactorily
examine the LOAEL and the WHO’s ‘Environmental Noise Guidelines for the
European Region (2018)’?

• Should the survey get a national view of a large number of airports or focus on
fewer airports but with increased sample coverage around them?

• How could the survey be designed to allow us to look at relevant flight operational
changes and their influence on annoyance? For example, those who are/will be
newly overflown vs. those who have been overflown for some time, those who get
respite vs. those who don’t, those who experience one mode of airport operation vs.
those who experience another (e.g. westerly vs. easterly operations).

• Should we interview one adult in each household, or should we also include
children resident in the household?

Survey mode

• Are other modes of interview feasible other than face-to-face interviewing, including
mixed modes of contact and interview?


• What is the best way to sample to ensure the survey achieves a representative
sample of noise exposures?

• Are noise metrics the best way to achieve a representative sample for the survey or
would other strategies used in similar research (for example using distance from the
airport or flight paths) be more appropriate?

• Which noise metrics would be appropriate to use to sample, including use of
multiple noise metrics in combination?

• Which other factors that may influence responses, such as different modes of
airport operation or areas that get respite, should also be considered in order to
create a representative sample?

• Should night noise metrics be used in the sampling to ensure a representative
sample is achieved for questions on sleep disturbance?

• Is clustered sampling the best approach to use? If so, how could it be done to
ensure robust coverage of the population?

• Is disproportionate sampling needed and, if so, where?

• What sample sizes are needed to robustly conduct the analysis required?


• Did the questions in the SoNA 2014 questionnaire work well or are there any
improvements that could be made?

• Can new topics of questions be developed and tested, including expanding the
sections on sleep disturbance, health, wellbeing and quality of life?

• What should the reference period for the aircraft annoyance questions be (e.g. the
summer months or 12 months previously or another period) and when should the
fieldwork be conducted (e.g. during the summer months or following them or
another period)?

• Would the survey benefit from any objective measures? For example, actual noise
measures, actual monitoring of sleep disturbance, sleep/annoyance diaries or apps,
or health monitoring.

Time series

• How can this new survey be set up to ensure that it can be conducted regularly over
time to build up a robust time series? How can the new survey contribute to the
evidence base on the change effect?

Survey costs

• What are the cost options for this new survey, in order to make an informed
decision on the survey design which balances robustness, practicality and value for


• Should the survey seek compatibility with other historic UK noise topic surveys, or
international studies; and, if so, to what extent?

See full report at



See earlier:


CAA publishes SoNA study, showing high levels of annoyance from aircraft noise well below 57dB

On 2nd February the CAA published a report on a survey about attitudes to aircraft noise, done in 2014.  It is called SoNA (Survey of Noise Attitudes). This follows the ANASE study done several years earlier, that was shelved by government, as its methodology was questioned, and it showed high levels of annoyance in response to plane noise. The SoNA study findings are that some adverse effects of plane noise annoyance can be seen to occur down to 51dB LAeq 16hr. The conventional level of averaged noise considered a problem is 57 dB LAeq, and noise is measured on a logarithmic scale. The SoNA report also found sensitivity to aircraft noise has increased, with the same percentage of people being highly annoyed at 54dB LAeq 16hr in SoNA as there was at 57dB LAeq 16hr in the ANIS study that was done in 1985. This gives further evidence to the demand that the government no longer uses the 57dB LAeq metric as its main noise measure. The debate continues about the merits of averaged noise over 16 hours in summer, with metrics measuring the number of plane noise events in a given time. The study says “there is insufficient evidence to link chronic health outcomes with event-based noise metrics, and SoNA 2014 found these performed less well than LAeq 16hr as a predictor of annoyance.” But the findings may show “it may be appropriate to use N65 as supplementary measure for daytime noise…” 






Read more »

Natural England and the licences it gives airports to kill birds 13km from airport boundary

The law in the UK allows airports to get licences to kill a range of bird species, within an area 13 kilometres from the airport boundary. The licences are issued by Natural England, the body whose description is: “We’re the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England, helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide”. A large number of species are listed, by Natural England, including Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Mallard, Feral Pigeon, Rook, Starling and Woodpigeon.  Other birds can be killed within 250 metres of the airport boundary, such as Magpie, Carrion Crow, Lapwing and Jackdaw. The killing is meant to be if there is danger to the safety of plane flights. Birds can be trapped, shot, or have their eggs oiled (which kills the chick before it can hatch). According to Natural England, 12,956 birds were culled in 2015-16, with rooks, crows and pigeons making up the largest number.  A FoI request has been submitted to ascertain the number of airports issued with licences recently, the number of birds killed, and the ways in which they were killed.


Natural England

CLASS LICENCE To kill or take certain species of wild birds to preserve air safety




1. Valid for the period 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020 (inclusive)

2. Area valid in All counties of England (landward of the mean low water mark)

3. Purpose(s) for which this licence can be used

This licence can only be used to preserve air safety

4. What this licence permits In relation to the species listed below, this licence permits killing or taking birds, taking or destroying their eggs, and taking, damaging or destroying their nests while that nest is in use or being built.

5. The species covered by this licence

(a) on, or within 13 kilometres (km) of the perimeter of, an aerodrome:

Goose, Canada Branta canadensis Goose, Greylag Anser anser Gull, Great Black-backed Larus marinus Gull, Lesser Black-backed Larus fuscus Gull, Herring Larus argentatus Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Pigeon, Feral Columba livia Rook Corvus frugilegus Starling Sturnus vulgaris Woodpigeon Columba palumbus

(b) on, or within 13 km of the perimeter of, an aerodrome (without the need for non-lethal methods of control to be used):

Goose, Egyptian Alopochen aegyptiacus Parakeet, Ring-necked Psittacula krameri

(c) on, or within the immediate vicinity (up to 250 m) of, the perimeter of the aerodrome:

Crow, Carrion Corvus corone Gull, Black-headed Chroicocephalus ridibundus (formerly Larus ridibundus) Gull, Common Larus canus  Jackdaw Corvus monedula Lapwing Vanellus vanellus Magpie Pica pica


and it continues:


6. The methods of killing and taking permitted under this licence

The methods permitted are:

a. shooting with a firearm/ammunition combination (including a semiautomatic weapon*) appropriate for the species concerned;

b. pricking of eggs;

c. oiling of eggs using paraffin oil (also known as Liquid Paraffin BP or light/white mineral oil);

d. destruction of eggs and nests;

e. a Larsen* trap

f. A multi-catch* cage trap

g. a pen or corral used as a trap;

h. falconry;

i. any hand held or hand propelled net to take birds whilst not in flight;

j. by hand; and

k. in relation to the killing or taking of Feral Pigeon (Columba livia) only:

– any device for illuminating a target or any sighting device for night shooting;

– any form of artificial lighting or any mirror or other dazzling device.

This licence does not authorise the use of any method of killing or taking which is prohibited by section 5 or section 8 of the 1981 Act except those listed above.


……. and it continues for many pages ….




See also:

See earlier:

More intelligent approaches, understanding bird psychology, help cut risk of bird strikes

Safety fears have led to mass culls of birds near airports. But are such drastic measures necessary? It appears that about 70,000 gulls, starlings, geese and other birds have been killed around New York airports since since 2009. They have been killed by shooting, trapping, and sometimes gassing. The CAA say that the number of confirmed bird strikes rose from 1,496 to 1,665 between 2011 and 2015. Only in 6% of cases did it have some kind of operational effect on an aircraft. In many of these incidents, planes aborted take-off, returned to the airport, or diverted to another. According to Natural England, 12,956 birds were culled in 2015-16. Rooks, crows and pigeons made up the largest number. Bird conservation organisations want airports to use less barbaric ways of reduce the risk of bird strikes. There are various technological solutions that may be effective. One bird ecology professor at Exeter university said that it is necessary to understanding of the birds’ point of view. A “sonic net” can be used, which is a noise played across areas to be protected. It needs to be at the same pitch as the alarm calls of birds, or predator noises that they are listening out for. “When birds experience this they either leave the area or their vigilance goes up because they can’t hear each other’s alert calls or a predator coming.” So the birds move away, as it is too risky to stay.

Click here to view full story…

German study indicates plane noise near Tegel airport has an impact on acoustic communication by birds

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen in Germany have found that birds near Berlin’s Tegel airport, one of Europe’s largest, start singing significantly earlier in the morning than their counterparts at quieter locations. What’s more, they discovered that chaffinches stop singing when the noise from air traffic exceeds a threshold of 78 decibels (A). The two most important functions of birdsong are territorial defence and the attraction of a mating partner, and so disturbances to birdsong by noise can impair the birds’ reproductive success. The scientists selected the Jungfernheide forest, immediately adjacent to the airport, with a similar area of forest 4 kilometres away, the Tegeler forest – where the noise was on average 30 decibels lower. Berlin-Tegel airport operates between 06.00 and 23.00, with a plane taking off or landing about every two minutes. with noise levels of up to 87 dB(A) during take-offs and landings. The birds near the airport were found to start singing a bit earlier. This may be to make up for time lost during the day, when they stop singing if the noise gets too loud. The noise of each flight lasts for perhaps 30 seconds, every 2 minutes, So the birds are losing about a quarter of their available communication time while flights are operating. So starting to sing earlier in the morning is clearly worthwhile.

Click here to view full story…

Gatwick objects to new hospice due to increase in ‘bird strike risk hazard’ – as within 13 km radius of airport

Under guidance from the DfT, airports have to be statutory consultees for any planning application within a radius of 13 km of the airport, that might have an impact on it, for a variety of reasons. One of these is the risk of bird strike, and so new developments that might attract birds are opposed. Now Gatwick Airport has objected to plans for a new hospice and homes in Pease Pottage [south of Crawley, and about 6km south of Gatwick airport] due to an increase in ‘bird strike risk hazard’. St Catherine’s Hospice would provide a 48-bed care facility, and there would also be up to 600 new homes, cafe, a community building, retail units, and a new primary school. The current hospice has only 18 beds, and is not able to cater for the number of people needing palliative support in the area nor has sufficient family areas. Gatwick says the areas of open water in the application would attract birds large enough to endanger planes, including feral geese, duck, grey heron and cormorants – especially if the public feed them. Gatwick also fear the mown grassland would provide a grazing habitat for birds. Gatwick wants minimal water. Airports keep their grassed areas as unappealing to bird life as possible. Gatwick set out, for the Airports Commission, what it would do to “control and where possible reduce bird hazard.”

Click here to view full story…

Belfast boy wants alternative home for geese facing cull for safety of Belfast City Airport planes

A 10-year-old boy – Jack McCormick – has appealed to Belfast’s Lord Mayor to have geese, considered to be posing a threat to low-flying aircraft, moved to another park. The Lord Mayor has promised to raise the issues in a meeting with George Best Belfast City Airport. “I am an animal lover and would hate to think of anything bad happening to the grey geese at the park,” Jack wrote: “My papa takes me to a great park in Gilnahirk …. It is big, but it has no geese or any animals. Why not move some of your geese from Victoria Park to the park at Gilnahirk? I would make sure that they were well-looked after. If you can’t move them to Gilnahirk, could you not move them to other parks around Belfast?” The authorities prick the eggs so they don’t develop. Jack said (children aren’t stupid!): “Last year I noticed that there wasn’t that many goslings but this year I’m hoping there will be an increase,” he said. “I don’t want any of them to die just because of being near an airport. To be fair, the geese were there first, and then the airport was built there.”

Click here to view full story…








Read more »