Heathrow hopes to be allowed to increase long-haul passenger charge from £38.33 to £67.86 in 2022

The Telegraph has obtained details of plans by Heathrow to increase its charges for long-haul passenger next year, by about £30 per person, up from about £38. Heathrow has massive debts, bad before Covid and far worse now.  It has one of the biggest debt piles in British corporate history.  Heathrow says it is not expecting more than a quarter of the number of passengers in 2022, compared to the number (81 million) in 2019 – so it has to increases prices.  It has had to ask lenders for waivers on banking conditions, to avoid defaulting on its loans.  Heathrow will have to get agreement from the CAA for an increase in costs, under its regulatory framework. The CAA is likely to decide on this in the next month, and it may not be favourable to Heathrow.  The airlines are predictably angry. However, in order to reduce aviation carbon emissions, some demand reduction is needed – such as higher prices – though the government will not consider that.  Heathrow is also planning a new levy on air cargo, to make more money.  It is also planning to introduce a new lower noise level, to encourage less noisy planes.
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Heathrow in dogfight with airlines over plans to double airport charges

Leaked proposals reveal that long-haul charges will rocket from £38.33 per passenger to almost £68 next year

By Oliver Gill,   CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (Telegraph)
18 September 2021

Heathrow airport is locked in a dogfight with airlines over plans to almost double passenger charges as it grapples with one of the biggest debt piles in British corporate history.

Leaked proposals, seen by The Telegraph, reveal that long-haul charges will rocket from £38.33 per traveller this year to £67.86 in 2022.

Virgin Atlantic said the increase – along with a rise in other bills – would cost a family of four flying to Florida an additional £200.  [That is probably not a lot, compared to the whole cost of their trip.  It is only £30 more per person!  AW comment]

Former British Airways boss Willie Walsh, now head of industry body Iata, said: “We’ve heard that inflation is coming back, but that is ridiculous.

“It is outrageous that Heathrow’s shareholders are seeking to recoup Covid losses at the expense of their airline customers. The UK’s air connectivity is the slowest-recovering in Europe and it cannot afford to be set back by even higher charges.”

Heathrow has been hit hard by a combination of the UK’s maligned “traffic light” Covid border system, and gross debts of almost £20bn.

With the airport expecting to welcome fewer passengers in 2022 than this year – roughly a quarter of the 81m in 2019 – bosses have had to ask lenders for waivers on the airport’s banking conditions to avoid defaulting on its loans.

A spokesman for the airport said: “Unfortunately, with fewer people travelling as a result of Covid, we now have no choice but to increase prices to keep the airport operating safely and efficiently.”

British Airways, Heathrow’s biggest customer, is also understood to have been left fuming by the airport’s plans to introduce a new “super low” noise level that cannot even be achieved by its fleet of the latest Airbus A321Neo jets.

It means that the UK’s flag carrier will be unable to access bigger discounts and forcing overall costs for short-haul flights up by more than 40%.

While BA declined to comment on the proposals, a spokesman for trade body Airlines UK said: “Heathrow’s proposed charges will have a detrimental impact on consumers – the majority of whom have been prevented from travelling for the last 18 months – and the post-Covid recovery of the entire aviation industry.”

Heathrow’s plans also include a new levy on cargo, which has provided a lifeline revenue stream for many airlines after their passenger services were grounded by Covid restrictions.

Corneel Koster, Virgin Atlantic chief operating officer, said: “A new cargo levy – that would effectively be a tax on trade.”

Heathrow’s boss, John Holland-Kaye, has previously claimed that the airport would “supercharge the Government’s ‘global Britain’ ambitions” by being a cornerstone of the country’s trade post-Brexit.

Mr Walsh said: “This cynical move by Heathrow highlights the hypocrisy of their claims.”

The prospect of increased charges will increase the cost of a holiday for many Britons seeking to escape after months stuck at home because of more stringent travel requirements than those on the European Continent.  [By just £30. That is very unlikely to deter many. AW comment]

Earlier this month Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary warned that holiday prices are likely to rise sharply next year as fewer flights, inflation and higher taxes drive fares up.

The new price regime also risks deterring holidaymakers less than 48 hours after the Government’s controversial traffic light scheme was abolished.

The industry is now seeking support from the Civil Aviation Authority, which determines the overall level of profit that Heathrow can make under a complex regulatory framework.

Sources said that the regulator will announce its own proposals within the next few weeks. Industry insiders suggested that this could scupper Heathrow’s pricing plan.

A spokesman for Heathrow said: “We’re currently consulting with airlines and we welcome their feedback. We have reduced our prices by over 16% during the past 7 years, providing excellent value for money.

“Our proposal is balanced and represents an increase of around 4% to average ticket prices. The proposed changes will stem current losses and ensure we can deliver the level of service and reliability that our passengers and airlines expect.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/09/18/heathrow-dogfight-airlines-plans-double-airport-charges/

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Heathrow losses now £2.9bn and consolidated net debt £15.2 bn

Heathrow has announced that its cumulative losses from the Covid-19 pandemic have hit £2.9 billion. In its results for the first half of 2021,  Heathrow’s revenue dropped from £712 million in the first six months of 2020 to £348 million in the first half of 2021, which is 51.1% less than in the first half of 2020, and 76.2% less than the first half of 2019. Its pre-tax loss widened 18% to a little over £1 billion.  It had 3.85m passengers, which is 75.1% less than the same period in 2020, and 90.1% less than the first half of 2019.  Heathrow (it has a complex structure of numerous companies and levels) had  consolidated net debt of £15.2 billion — not much less than the airport’s £16.9 billion regulated asset base (RAB), or the CAA’s proxy for its value.  Heathrow had been allowed, by the CAA, to increase its RAB by £300 million, to £16.9 billion.  Its chief executive John Holland-Kaye is using the half-year figures to warn about a covenant waiver on its various loans.  The group of Heathrow companies has £4.8 billion of liquidity, (ie. ability to borrow) with average cost of debt just 1.64%.

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Taxpayers face near £900m bill for Heathrow western rail link, if airport won’t pay

It was announced in September 2020 that the Great Western rail link between Reading and Heathrow would be delayed by up to two years. It was first proposed in 2012. A DCO application to construct the new line is not expected for some time. Heathrow was set to pay for much of the cost, as the link would benefit its passengers. But in April Heathrow withdrew its funding, because of the crisis in its finances due to the pandemic.  Other funding from the private sector will be “much smaller” than previously envisaged.  So it looks as if taxpayers may have to fund most of a £900m bill. The rail minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, told a parliamentary committee last week that he would recommend that taxpayers pay instead, as part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review this autumn.  Network Rail said that the Department for Transport had asked it to delay beginning the project by a year until the winter of 2022.  It said it would not progress until there was a satisfactory financial arrangement, “including an appropriate financial contribution from Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL); this requires endorsement by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as the relevant regulator.”

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CAA rules that Heathrow can only raise £300m out of £2.6bn through higher charges, plus another £500 m

Heathrow’s bid to increase airport charges to recover £2.6 billion lost during the coronavirus pandemic has been rejected by the aviation regulator, the CAA – which said its expenditure had been “disproportionate and not in the interests of consumers”. The CAA is allowing Heathrow to initially raise only an additional £300 million through higher charges, out of the £2.6 billion it asked for. “The CAA has agreed to a limited, early adjustment to HAL’s RAB of £300m and will consider this issue further as part of the next price control (H7)” which starts on 1st January 2022. The CAA has agreed to allow Heathrow to raise charges to recover the £500 million “it incurred efficiently” on its plans for a 3rd runway, between 2017 and 1st March 2020. Heathrow said it faces loses of around £3 billion due to the Covid pandemic.  IAG, which owns British Airways, the largest airline at Heathrow, said it is “extremely disappointed” with the CAA decision, which means more expensive tickets for its consumers from 2022. Heathrow wants concessions by the CAA, though its shareholders have earned nearly £4 billion in dividends in recent years.

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UK government minister claims people must keep flying to help cut aviation CO2

A government minister has angered scientists and environmentalists by claiming people need to keep flying in order to help cut carbon emissions. Junior transport minister Rachel Maclean said the aviation sector needed to have “confidence in its future” and that the government had no plans to try and reduce demand for flights. She said lower carbon planes and fuels would not be invented if they were rendered unprofitable by people abandoning air travel.  So we have to have lots of people flying, causing the emission of more CO2, in order for the industry to pay for future changes to cut emissions.  (Wonderful logic).  She said flying was one of the things that “make life worth living” and that the government would not place restrictions on it, for business or leisure … and “We believe that we can reach zero in aviation [by 2050], without having a demand management policy.” Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said: “According to the minister… it’s like advocating donuts as the confidence boost you need to make yourself go to the gym … the Committee on Climate Change, and the Airports Commission, insisted that demand constraint was essential for aviation to meet our carbon targets.”
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UK government claims people must keep flying to help cut carbon emissions

Minister says government does not have demand management policy for aviation ahead of UN climate summit

By Jon Stone, Policy Correspondent (Independent)
15.9.2021

A government minister has angered scientists and environmentalists by claiming people need to keep flying in order to help cut carbon emissions.

Speaking ahead of a key UN climate conference Rachel Maclean said the aviation sector needed to have “confidence in its future” and that the government had no plans to try and reduce demand for flights.

Outlining the government’s position at a parliamentary committee she argued that theoretical cleaner airliners would never be invented if they were rendered unprofitable by people abandoning airports.

“These are commercial decisions that are led by the industry. I think the broader point that I’ve made is that actually we need the aviation sector to be successful, so that it can invest in those technologies that we know will drive towards technological solutions,” she told the transport committee on Wednesday when asked whether airports should be expanded.

“Whether it’s SAF [Sustainable aviation fuel], or whether it’s electric or hydrogen aviation aircraft: these are technologically feasible solutions, they do exist, we’ve got these planes that fly already, supported by government investments, clearly they are at very early stages but if the sector lacks confidence in its future, it will not be backed by its shareholders, it will not place those big bets.”

The minister, who is in charge of government policy on the future of transport and decarbonisation, said flying was one of the things that “make life worth living” and that the government would not place restrictions on it.

Polls suggest the minister’s views are at odds with the general public; a YouGov poll from 2019 found that two thirds of people in the UK support restrictions on the number of flights people can take. Campaigners have called for a frequent flier levy on the basis that 70 per cent of flights in the UK are taken by a relatively wealthy minority of 15 per cent of the population, with 57 per cent generally not flying abroad at all.

But speaking just weeks before the UK government welcomes world leaders to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow and will urge them to make commitments to cutting carbon emissions, the minister said: “We believe that we can reach zero in aviation [by 2050], without having a demand management policy.

“As we have made clear in all our aviation policy statements, we don’t expect to stop people doing things like flying, because we believe it is important for people to be able to continue to fly for business reasons.

“Obviously that’s an individual choice for those individual businesses, but also you cannot underestimate family ties that people have, and leisure, of course.

“These are important parts that make life worth living, and we shouldn’t be stopping people doing those things, and that is not our policy approach. So we believe we can achieve that without directly limiting aviation, and our scenario modelling does back that up.”

Ms Maclean added that the policy would be kept “under review” and provide people with “the information about what actually is a more sustainable choice if they choose to make it”.

Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said: “According to the minister, aviation needs to expand its huge carbon footprint in order to bring it down. More carbon is needed for us to reach zero carbon.

“It’s like advocating donuts as the confidence boost you need to make yourself go to the gym. All of the technological silver bullets which the government are relying on have severe limitations due to their cost, availability or weight, which means we can’t have any confidence that they can do more than decarbonise a very small part of our flying. This is why the Committee on Climate Change, and the Airports Commission, insisted that demand constraint was essential for aviation to meet our carbon targets.

“For the government to try to encourage investment in growing a sector they don’t know how to decarbonise is wildly irresponsible from any point of view. As the government prepares to host crucial international talks on the climate crisis, its message to other countries is that when decarbonising demands tough decisions, just cross your fingers, hope some technology will sort it out in 15 years’ time, and carry on regardless.”

Despite the minister’s comments the Department for Transport’s own model assumes that full electric planes will not be commercialised by 2050, when the UK needs to reach net zero by at the latest.

The Committee on Climate Change, a statutory body that advises the government on how to reach net zero, said in its latest report that “2050 penetrations of [electric and other alternative fuel aviation] options are likely to be limited, or they could occupy small niches by 2050 – although neither is likely to significantly improve the overall UK emissions profile”. It says that “long-haul flights dominate UK aviation emissions and are likely to stay using a hydrocarbon fuel until 2050 or beyond”.

The CCC recommends that “there should be no net expansion of UK airport capacity unless the sector is on track to sufficiently outperform its net emissions trajectory and can accommodate the additional demand” and that “demand management policy should be implemented” and “developed and in place by the mid-2020s”.

The government has been repeatedly pulled up by the Committee on Climate Change for setting ambitious decarbonisation targets without the policy muscle to actually achieve them. According to the CCC aviation emissions accounted for 7 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 and were 88 per cent above 1990 levels.

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/cop26-carbon-emissions-flying-net-zero-aviation-uk-b1920556.html

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West of England leaders to formally oppose expansion of Bristol Airport

Leaders of the west region (Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) and North Somerset) are expected to change their minds, and instead of backing expansion of Bristol airport, now oppose it.  Metro mayor Dan Norris is tabling a motion at a special meeting on 21st September of the West of England Combined Authority’s (Weca’s) joint committee, which he leads, that would scrap its previous endorsement of the plans.  The motion could be carried by a majority vote of the 5 members, so the motion will be carried if Mr Norris (Bristol) and Cllrs Guy (B&NES) and Davies (North Somerset) support it as expected. Cllr Guy said: “Airport expansion is fundamentally incompatible with local councils’ commitment to tackling the climate emergency.”  Mr Norris’s motion includes the statements that:  There is a climate and biodiversity emergency … The West of England has ambition net zero targets for 2030 …The proposed expansion of Bristol Airport is one of the biggest carbon decisions in the region for the coming decade.  And “The Joint Committee resolves: To oppose the latest plans to expand Bristol Airport.”
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West of England leaders to formally oppose expansion of Bristol Airport

15TH SEPTEMBER 2021

LOCAL DEMOCRACY REPORTER POLITICS (Bath Echo)

The region’s leaders are set to make a dramatic U-turn and formally oppose Bristol Airport’s expansion, it can be revealed.

Metro mayor Dan Norris is tabling a motion at a special meeting of the West of England Combined Authority’s (Weca’s) joint committee, which he leads, that would scrap its previous endorsement of the plans.

Labour’s Mr Norris, who succeeded Conservative Tim Bowles at May’s local elections, is calling on the leaders of the four local councils who sit with him on the committee – Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) and North Somerset – to “show moral leadership” on the climate emergency and vote in favour.

It looks set to be approved after B&NES Lib Dem leader Cllr Kevin Guy, who is seconding the motion, and North Somerset Council’s leader, independent Cllr Don Davies, said they would back it.

It is not known how South Gloucestershire Council’s Tory leader Cllr Toby Savage or Bristol’s Labour mayor Marvin Rees will vote at the meeting on Tuesday, 21st September.

Both recently championed the airport’s claim at a business breakfast that it would become net zero by 2030, although this does not include aeroplane emissions.

But the joint committee decision will be by a majority vote of the five members, so the motion will be carried if Mr Norris and Cllrs Guy and Davies support it as expected.

This would follow the lead of B&NES and Bristol City councils which passed motions in 2019 and 2020 respectively opposing the expansion.

However, it may have little bearing on the current public inquiry into the airport’s appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against North Somerset Council’s decision to refuse permission for the proposed increase in passengers from 10million to 12million a year.

Mr Norris said: “We are in the midst of a climate and biodiversity emergency. The vast majority of people across North Somerset, Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire know this and are rightly extremely concerned.

“Regrettably some politicians are still to catch up with local public opinion.

“The global pandemic has drastically shrunk the amount of air traffic.

“Meanwhile extreme climate emergency events are seeing super high temperatures, fires, floods and melting sea ice around our fragile planet.

“I believe these deeply concerning phenomena have fundamentally changed the way most of us think about air travel now and in the future.

“We need to remember Bristol Airport has not hit its previous passenger targets. So now is certainly not the time to seek to expand Bristol Airport’s flight numbers even further.

“That is why I am seeking to change the West of England Combined Authority’s official position.

“Our region is justifiably proud we have set ourselves a really ambitious net zero CO2 target by 2030. But unless we show moral leadership now, when it comes to the airport’s proposed further expansion, our net zero objectives will be seen to be a sham.”

He said initial indications were not positive that all four of the region’s council leaders would back the motion.

But Mr Norris said: “I am an optimist and believe people can shift their positions. So I’m calling on the local leaders to show moral leadership and courage and do what is right.”

Cllr Davies said he would “wholeheartedly support” the motion once he had clarification that it referred to opposition of the existing proposed expansion being considered by the planning inspector.

It is understood this will be confirmed at the meeting.

Cllr Guy said: “Airport expansion is fundamentally incompatible with local councils’ commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

“Not only would it increase emissions from flights but travel to the airport is likely to cause traffic chaos due to inadequate public transport options.

“If this expansion were to go ahead, it would render all local efforts to reduce emissions redundant. Every ton of carbon saved would be simply replaced by the airport.

“B&NES Council voted to oppose expansion of Bristol Airport in 2019 and has formally objected to expansion through the planning process. I will be pleased to second the Weca motion next week.”

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “The planning decisions in relation to Bristol Airport are a matter for North Somerset Council.

“We are extremely proud of and will continue to support South Gloucestershire’s world-class aerospace industry.

“It provides many high-quality jobs for the region, as well as investment in new technologies, materials and fuels to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050, in line with our declaration of and commitment to responding to the climate and ecological emergencies.

“Over the coming decades we want our communities to benefit from the high-quality engineering and digital jobs created through the aerospace industry, which will lead to the development of technologies that we will need so that aviation and other sectors can decarbonise.”

The Bristol mayor’s office has been asked for a comment.

Mr Norris’s motion reads: “The Joint Committee recognises:

  • There is a climate and biodiversity emergency
  • The West of England has ambition net zero targets for 2030
  • The proposed expansion of Bristol Airport is one of the biggest carbon decisions in the region for the coming decade
  • The pandemic has significantly reduced air travel with a 75.6 per cent drop in passenger numbers in 2020
  • Bristol Airport’s role as an employer in the region and the need for a just transition to a greener economy that does not leave workers worse-off
  • Bristol City Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council opposition to current airport expansion and North Somerset Council’s decision to refuse planning permission to expand beyond 10 million passengers a year

“The Joint Committee resolves:

To oppose the latest plans to expand Bristol Airport.”

Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter

https://www.bathecho.co.uk/news/politics/west-leaders-oppose-expansion-bristol-airport-95738/ 

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Start of Inquiry into refusal by North Somerset Council of Bristol Airport plans to expand by 2mppa

The public inquiry into Bristol Airport’s expansion proposal began on 20th July with the airport hoping to overturn North Somerset Council’s decision to refuse the expansion plans in February 2020. The inquiry is overseen by the Planning Inspectorate, and is scheduled to run until mid-October with three independent inspectors appointed to consider the airport’s appeal. The airport wants to be allowed to have an extra 2 million annual passengers, from 10 million to 12 million. In its recently-published Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP), the DfT committed itself to achieving net zero within the aviation sector by 2050. Allowing airport expansion scheme is not going to help with that – quite the reverse. The worry is that, though the various expansion schemes for Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Bristol, Leeds Bradford and Southampton – taken separately – look relatively small, collectively (and including Heathrow) the increase in carbon would be huge. The recent TDP does not follow the recommendation from its official advisors, the CCC, that any airport expansion should be offset by reducing flights elsewhere.

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Bristol Airport expansion (for 2 mppa more) public inquiry to will start on July 20th, for 10 weeks

The expansion plans would see passenger numbers grow from 10 million to 12 million a year.  The public inquiry into the expansion plans is due to start on July 20 and last 10 weeks. The airport appealed against a decision by North Somerset Council last year to reject its expansion plans. Bristol City Council has also opposed the expansion with North Somerset Council saying it will ‘robustly defend’ the appeal. The inquiry will be held in person and online, via Teams, though requests had been made for it to be online only, due to Covid. Campaigners say any expansion of the airport would lead to higher carbon emissions, congested roads and more plane noise. A number of campaign groups including the Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) , the Parish Councils Airport Association and Stop Bristol Airport Expansion (SBAE) are all set to give evidence at the inquiry. The Planning Inspectorate team will be led by Philip Ware.

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Bath and North East Somerset Council rejects Bristol Airport application to increase night flights in summer months

Bath and North East Somerset Council has rejected an application by Bristol Airport to increase the number of night flights. The airport wants to increase the number of night flights to 4,000 throughout the whole year, starting in summer 2021. Currently the airport is allowed 3,000 night flights throughout the summer months and 1,000 in winter. The airport wants to be able to move some of their winter allocation to the summer, when demand is higher. Bath and North East Somerset Council rejected the application – stating it would have a negative impact on people living in towns near the airport. The request for more flights comes after the council opposed the expansion of Bristol Airport in March 2019. Then in March 2020 North Somerset Council threw out the plans, (which included increasing passenger numbers by an extra two million each year and building more car parks) on the grounds they were “incompatible” with the council’s declaration of a climate emergency.  The extra night flights would cause noise nuisance to people in both councils.

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Bristol Airport expansion plans rejected by North Somerset council by 18-7

North Somerset Council’s Planning & Regulatory Committee has gone against the advice of their own planning officers and have refused permission for Bristol Airport to expand. It has been a “David versus Goliath” battle of local campaigners against the airport, (owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan). The airport wanted to expand from 10 million to 12 million passengers per year, with large carpark and other building. The opposition to the plans was huge, on ground of carbon emissions, as well as noise and general local damage. There were almost 9,000 objections sent in by members of the public, against 2,400 in favour.  Councillors voted 18-7 against the plans, with one abstention. Councillors were persuaded that paltry economic benefits to the airport and airlines were far outweighed by the environmental harm. There would be large land take for the parking, and the extra carbon emissions would make targets of carbon neutrality for the area unachievable. Because the councillors went against the officers’ recommendations, the decision will return to the same committee to be ratified. If the decision is ratified, the applicant has six months to lodge an appeal, which would be heard at a public inquiry.

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Airport groups write to Aviation Minister, voicing concerns about ICCAN being wound up

The DfT has decided to close down the ICCAN (the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise) at the end of September. Now a large number of community groups at airports, for people negatively affected by aircraft noise, have written to the Aviation Minister, Robert Courts. They say they “were surprised and disappointed by your announcement that ICCAN will be wound up later this month and its functions transferred to the CAA next year. We were particularly surprised you saw no need to discuss this significant change with communities impacted by aircraft noise.” ICCAN was supposed to “give communities a greater stake in processes which propose to make noise changes, and ensure such processes better and more transparently balance the needs of all parties” and “be instrumental in ensuring that the needs of local communities are properly taken into account when considering the noise impacts of any airport expansion.” There are therefore serious concerns of overflown communities, in the absence of ICCAN. The letter suggests 4 key actions and changes that will need to accompany any transfer of roles to the CAA if it is to command the confidence of adversely impacted communities.
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Letter to

Robert Courts MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London SW1P 4DR

 

10 September 2021

Dear Minister

We were surprised and disappointed by your announcement that ICCAN will be wound up later this month and its functions transferred to the CAA next year. We were particularly surprised you saw no need to discuss this significant change with communities impacted by aircraft noise.

In its final report the Airports Commission recommended that an independent aviation noise authority should be established. It said, amongst other things:

• that the noise authority should be given statutory consultee status and a formal role in monitoring and quality assuring all processes and functions which have an impact on aircraft noise, and in advising central and local Government and the CAA on such issues;

• that it should be given powers which allow it to access and monitor the relevant operations of the CAA, airports and others in the aviation industry, report to the public on whether they have been carried out in a fair and transparent manner, and intervene where it finds organisations have breached due process;

• that it must be a truly independent, trusted, presence, accountable to the public through Parliament; and

• that its creation was appropriate irrespective of any Government decision on new runway capacity

When ICCAN was finally set up it was a pale shadow of the body the Airport’s Commission had recommended. It had no powers, no formal roles, no statutory backing and no ability to enforce its recommendations.

Nonetheless government and DfT statements at the time committed that ICCAN would:

• give communities a greater stake in processes which propose to make noise changes, and ensure such processes better and more transparently balance the needs of all parties;

• provide greater public confidence in noise data published by industry and the impartiality of the airspace change process;

• require the industry to enhance its approach to assessing and mitigating noise impacts and engaging communities; and

• be instrumental in ensuring that the needs of local communities are properly taken into account when considering the noise impacts of any airport expansion.

On the basis of those promises, community and environmental groups generally welcomed the additional, independent focus ICCAN offered on aircraft noise issues. Many of us have engaged intensively with it.

Unless there are significant additional changes of the sort we propose below, we cannot see how the government intends to deliver those promises if ICCAN’s functions transfer to the CAA. The CAA cannot be both the regulator responsible for the airspace change and modernisation processes and provide independent oversight intended to ensure communities have a greater stake in those processes. Nor are the CAA’s current statutory duties consistent with the role ICCAN was intended to play.

The initial reaction to your announcement is therefore that it represents a further loss of government commitment to addressing the adverse impacts of aviation noise. In this context we note the ICCAN independent review’s comment that “dismantling ICCAN could erode some of the positive ground made in building trust and would be a negative message to communities in terms of government commitment to the effective management of aviation noise. If ICCAN were to be dismantled, or absorbed into other structures, there would remain a need to have an independent voice on aviation noise …”.

We hope our initial assessment is wrong. We recognise that the pandemic has reduced noise levels very substantially, and that they may remain below recent norms at many airports for some time. However, it would be a serious mistake for that to be allowed to become an excuse for inaction. Aircraft noise is, and will continue to be, a key issue for communities around airports. The current reduction in levels should be seen as an opportunity to build back better, rather than a reason to continue the “do minimum” approach the Department has pursued for the past 20 years.

We are therefore writing to propose key actions and changes that will need to accompany any transfer of roles to the CAA if it is to command the confidence of adversely impacted communities.

First, the government should commission a review of aircraft noise policy and regulation. We have long argued both that current policy is so poorly articulated that it has become a licence for inaction and that there is a regulatory vacuum, with many organisations having some role in aviation noise matters but none having clear responsibility for requiring all possible noise reduction measures to be taken and for setting and enforcing airport noise targets. These fundamental weaknesses in current arrangements should now be addressed.

Secondly, the key principles of independence and balance need to be embedded in any new arrangements.

The CAA’s current overarching statutory objectives are to satisfy all substantial public demand for air traffic services at the lowest charges consistent with a high standard of safety and to further the reasonable interests of users of air transport services. In relation to its air navigation functions the CAA has a range of duties but it generally interprets its duty to secure the most efficient (i.e. maximum) use of airspace as having higher weight than its other duties, such as on noise and environmental matters.

It is not credible to expect the advice from an organisation with those legal objectives to command the confidence of people impacted by aircraft noise. There is an inescapable conflict. This is why the Airports Commission recommended an independent body. It is why the government established ICCAN separately from the CAA. And it is why the ICCAN independent review said there would remain a need to have an independent voice on aviation noise.

If there is to be any prospect of the CAA acting as a trusted independent voice on aviation noise, and particularly if it is to build the confidence of communities, it will need to be given new duties and powers, and funding to do the job properly. Its new duties should require it to achieve noise reduction and other environmental benefits, not simply to grow the industry. It should for example, set and enforce noise limits, mandate and monitor best practice, be a statutory consultee on airport expansion planning applications and be authorised to approve airspace changes subject to noise related conditions.

There would also need to be new governance arrangements in relation to any new CAA noise roles. It should be formally answerable to the Departments for Health and the Environment, not to the Department for Transport, on noise matters. Those Departments should have formal status as consultees for all significant airspace changes and expansion proposals and be able to commission independent research on aviation noise and other health impacts of aviation.

Pending those changes the government should formally revise its priorities for the CAA to incorporate its new noise responsibilities. Neither the Secretary of State’s letter to the CAA of 1 December 2020 nor the Chair’s response of 25 January 2021 address noise in the comprehensive and independent way that will now be necessary.

Thirdly, subject to the above, the CAA should engage with community groups on the scope of its new responsibilities and the ways it will deliver them. It should then put in place agreed arrangements that ensure community representatives are fully involved in all aspects of its future noise work. We note the proposal that it will establish a new Environment Panel and welcome that, subject to understanding the role and composition of the Panel. But it will need to do a great deal more. Previous CAA/community engagement fora, at both working and Board levels, have lapsed and need to be replaced.

Fourthly, key ICCAN projects, such as on future noise surveys, the health impacts of aircraft noise and the monitoring of consultation best practice, need to be taken forward without delay but with agreed governance arrangements that ensure their effectiveness and independence.

ICCAN was created because the Airports Commission recognised both the need for an independent body to provide advice and act as a conduit for the voices of overflown communities and the inherent inability of the CAA or DfT to play those roles given their other duties.

Our communities understand this. By abolishing ICCAN the government has yet further undermined confidence that community interests will be recognised and taken into account in key airspace and airport processes. Without the changes we have suggested, it is difficult to see how any confidence will be restored.

Yours sincerely,

Airport Expansion Opposition Southampton

AirportWatch

Aviation Communities Forum

Aviation Environment Federation

Association of Parish Councils Aviation Group (Gatwick)

Belfast City Airport Watch

Bristol Airport Action Network

Campaign against the expansion of Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE, Gatwick)

Community Alternatives to Luton’s Flight Path

Paul Conway, Coordinator, Heathrow Communities Noise Forum (HCNF)

Jenny Dawes (Campaigner against the reopening of Manston Airport)

Edinburgh Airport Noise Advisory Board

Edinburgh Airport Watch

Flight Free UK

Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA)

Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC – Gatwick)

Gatwick Obviously Not

HACAN East (London City Airport)

Harmondsworth & Sipson Residents Association

Heathrow Association for the Control of Air Noise (HACAN)

Heald Green Ratepayers’ Association (Manchester)

Heathrow No 3rd Runway Coalition

London Luton Airport Town and Village Community Committee

Luton and District Association for the control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN)

Melbourne Civic Society (East Midlands airport)

North West Leeds Transport Forum

Parish Councils Airport Association (Bristol)

Andy Penn (Campaign against the expansion of London Southend Airport)

People Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (PAGNE, Gatwick)

Plane Hell Action South East (Heathrow and London City Airports)

Plane Wrong (Gatwick)

Residents Against Aircraft Noise (Heathrow)

Richings Park Residents Association

Richmond Heathrow Campaign

Cllr David Hilton, Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

St. Albans Quieter Skies

South-West Essex Fight the Flights

St. Albans Aircraft Noise Defence

Stansted Airport Watch (SAW)

Stay-Grounded UK

Stop Heathrow Expansion

Stop Low Flights From Luton

Stop Luton Airport Expansion

Teddington Action Group (TAG – Heathrow)

Tunbridge Wells Aircraft Noise Study Group

Whitecrook Aircraft Noise Association (Glasgow)

The Windlesham Society

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cc:

Huw Merriman, Chair, Transport Committee

Sir Stephen Hillier, Chair Civil Aviation Authority

Richard Moriarty, CEO, Civil Aviation Authority

Robert Light, Head Commissioner, ICCAN

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See earlier:

After two and a half years, Government closes down the ICCAN

The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) was finally set up by the government in March 2019, with the aim of looking into how the extra noise from airport expansion would affect those overflown, and the impacts of changes to flight paths.  Its aim was not to reduce the amount of aircraft noise suffered, but to find out more about it, consult etc.  Its creation had been a recommendation of the Airports Commission in June 2015, to make Heathrow expansion seem less unpalatable. Now Robert Courts, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport, has announced that it is to be wound up at the end of September. Back in June 2015 ICCAN had said it would take them two years to: “Review existing enforcement mechanisms and consider whether enforcement powers are necessary”.  It had been stated in 2019 that “ICCAN will be reviewed in two years’ time and a decision will be made about its future direction as an organisation, including whether to give it increased powers. In the meantime, ICCAN’s role is threefold: to listen, to evaluate and to advise.”  The government now says its role will mainly be taken on by the CAA, and part by the DfT. That will not bring reassurance to those suffering from aircraft noise problems.

Click here to view full story…

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Hope is not a Strategy – Aviation cannot be allowed to keep adding to the climate crisis

With just two months to go before the UK Government hosts the vitally important COP26 International Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, Stansted Airport Watch (‘SAW’), and a host of other environmental campaign groups from all across the UK, are pressing the Government for immediate action to tackle aviation’s growing impact on climate change. UK aviation was responsible for 38 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2019 and the Government is content to allow this to continue to increase until 2030 and still to be more than 30 million tonnes in 2040 – by letting airports expand. In response to the DfT consultation, on its “Jet Zero by 2050” strategy, SAW has submitted a highly critical evidence paper challenging the DfT’s ‘business as usual’ strategy and its total reliance on technological solutions emerging from beyond the horizon over the next 20-30 years (new biofuels, novel fuels, electric and hydrogen fuelled planes, and carbon storage technologies). The key message from SAW is that “Hope is not a Strategy”. SAW has also submitted evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry into the apparent contradiction between the Government’s expansionist aviation policy and its declared commitment to tackling climate change.
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Hope is not a Strategy – Aviation cannot be allowed to keep adding to the Climate Crisis

From Stansted Airport Watch (SAW)   – used to be named Stop Stansted Expansion

13.9.2021

With just two months to go before the UK Government hosts the vitally important COP26 International Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, Stansted Airport Watch (‘SAW’), and a host of other environmental campaign groups from all across the UK, are pressing the Government for immediate action to tackle aviation’s growing impact on climate change.

UK aviation was responsible for 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2019 and the Government is content to allow this to continue to increase until 2030 and still to be more than 30 million tonnes in 2040.

It is therefore difficult to see how the target of net zero aviation emissions by 2050 could be met. The Government is pinning all its hopes on technological solutions emerging over the next 20-30 years, such as electric and hydrogen-powered planes and new aviation biofuels.

Despite the climate crisis, the Department for Transport (‘DfT’) insists that it should be ‘business as usual’ for UK aviation allowing all UK airports to continue to expand.

This is despite the strong recommendation from the Government’s independent advisers, the Climate Change Committee (‘CCC’), for a freeze on all airport expansion in the UK until such time as there is clear evidence that aviation CO2 emissions are on a downward slope towards the Government’s legally-binding target of net zero emissions by 2050.

In response to a DfT consultation, SAW has submitted a highly critical evidence paper challenging the DfT’s ‘business as usual’ strategy and its total reliance on technological solutions emerging from beyond the horizon over the next 20-30 years. The key message from SAW is that “Hope is not a Strategy”.

SAW has also submitted evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee which is carrying out an Inquiry into the apparent contradiction between the Government’s expansionist aviation policy and its declared commitment to tackling climate change.

SAW’s climate change adviser, Mike Young, commented: “The Climate Crisis is here and now. We don’t have the luxury of waiting for 20-30 years in the hope that technological solutions will somehow emerge. The Government should follow the clear recommendations of its own independent advisers, the Climate Change Committee, and call a halt to airport expansion until aircraft emissions are brought under control.”

Mike Young continued: “CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere for up to a hundred years and high-altitude aviation emissions can be three times more damaging than the CO2 emissions alone, due to the additional warming effect of the non-CO2 emissions from aircraft jet engines and their contrails. There is an urgent need to act and yet the Government still wants to allow more and more flights every year.”

Mike Young concluded: “In less than two months, the UK will be hosting the COP26 International Climate Change Summit in Glasgow and this needs to be a turning point in the global fight against climate change. Failure is not an option. However, as matters stand, it will be difficult for the UK to be telling other countries what they must do, while at the same time continuing to support the unfettered growth in air travel.”

ENDS

 

NOTES

The SAW submission to the DfT consultation on its Jet Zero Strategy (ended 8 September) is at Stansted-Airport-Watch-Response-to-DfT-Jet-Zero-Consultation-8.9.2021.pdf            (stanstedairportwatch.com)

The SAW submission to the Environmental Audit Committee call for evidence (ended 3 September) is at Stansted-Airport-Watch-submission-to-EAC-Jet-Zero-3.9.2021.pdf (stanstedairportwatch.com)

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FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT

Mike Young, SAW Climate Change Adviser: 01799 599089 or (M) 07486 592334; reynoldson-young@aldridges.eclipse.co.uk

SAW Campaign Office, 01279 870558; info@stanstedairportwatch.com ; https://stanstedairportwatch.com/

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See earlier:

Stansted Airport Watch submits response to CMA consultation on greenwash; examples from Stansted and Ryanair

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which regulates business behaviour, has finally stepped in to try to end ‘greenwashing’ and has asked for evidence. Greenwashing is where businesses make dubious claims in an attempt to boost their environmental credentials, and thus sell more product.  The CMA consultation ended on 16th July. Greenwashing is all too common in the aviation industry and Stansted Airport Watch (SAW) submitted detailed evidence to the CMA relating to both Stansted Airport and Ryanair. Some of the examples of dubious claims by the airport are that it claims to be “carbon neutral”, but this conveniently ignores the carbon emissions from the aircraft (hugely higher than emissions by the airport itself). It also relies of “offsetting”, so making payments to some carbon reduction activity elsewhere, while itself continuing to emit. Ryanair has made a number of claims about being “green”, such as claims to be Europe’s “cleanest, greenest airline” but this has been ruled against by the Advertising Standards Authority, for being misleading (February 2020).

Click here to view full story…

Stansted wins appeal, against refusal by Uttlesford Council, of its plans to increase capacity to 43 million passengers per year

Expansion plans for Stansted Airport have been approved by the Planning Inspectorate (PI) after an appeal.  In January 2020 Uttlesford District Council (UDC) rejected proposals to increase Stansted’s passenger cap from 35 million to 43 million a year. However, the councillors voted against the advice of council officers, who had recommended approval of proposals. The council had originally approved the plan, in November 2018 but only by the casting vote of the chairman; many councillors then had not read, or properly understood, all the documents. Then after the Residents for Uttlesford group took control from the Conservatives in May 2019, the decision was referred back to the planning committee – the rejection decision. Stansted already had permission to increase capacity from 28 million to 35 million passengers per year.  The airport appealed against the decision, despite Covid and the near collapse of air travel in 2020.  A public inquiry was held in January to March 2021 by the Planning Inspectorate.  In its decision, the PI said:  “there would be a limited degree of harm arising in respect of air quality and carbon emissions” but that was “far outweighed by the benefits of the proposal”. UDC has also been ordered to pay the costs of Stansted’s appeal.

Click here to view full story…

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Letter from academics on Jet Zero’s failure to reduce aviation CO2 by avoiding air travel demand management

Letter in the Times, 10th September 2021

‘GREEN’ POLICY ON JET EMISSIONS


Sir, As academics and researchers with expertise in climate science, meteorology, transport, nutrition and other fields, we are writing in response to Jet Zero, the government’s proposed strategy to decarbonise flying. Jet Zero would allow UK aviation emissions to increase up to 2030 from 2019 levels.

This is counter to very clear advice from the UK Climate Change Committee to the government: measures to limit demand for flying should form an integral part of meeting our emissions reduction targets, alongside exploring the longer term technological innovations set out in Jet Zero.

The report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it starkly clear that it is vital to meet our net zero targets. As António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, said recently: “There is no time for delay and no room for excuses.”

The management of aviation demand must be sufficiently responsive so as to keep emissions reduction targets firmly within sight through the inevitable successes and failures of new technology.


Professor Stephen Mobbs, Executive Director, National Centre for Atmospheric Science;

Professor John Marsham, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds;

Professor Ian Brooks, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds;

Professor Paul Chatterton, Urban Futures, School of Geography, University of Leeds;

Professor Jillian Anable, Transport and Energy, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds;

Professor Megan Povey, School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds;

Professor Janet Watson, Co-director of the Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems, University of Leeds;

Professor Helen Steward, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds;

Professor David Hesmondhalgh, School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds;

Professor Jonathan Pitches, Head of School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds;

Professor Thea Pitman, Latin American Studies, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds;

Dr Debbie Rosen, Science and Policy Manager, CONSTRAIN, Priestley Centre, University of Leeds;

Dr Marina Baldissera Pacchetti, Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds;

Dr Paul Brockway, School of Earth & Environment, University of Leeds;

Dr Jen Dyer, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds;

Dr Kate Pangbourne, Associate Professor, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds;

Dr Malcolm Morgan, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds;

Dr Sally Cairns, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds; Dr Joey Talbot, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds;

Dr David Palma, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds;

Dr Jonathan Taylor, Dept of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester;

Dr Hugo Ricketts, Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Manchester

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/times-letters-judgment-of-the-man-who-would-be-king-7x9xs39bm

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See earlier:

Chris Stark (CCC) on how aviation needs to cut its emissions, only using CCS – which it must pay for – as a last resort

The Head of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), Chris Stark, has given evidence to the Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) on the aspirations of the aviation sector to get to “net zero” by 2050, and the government’s “jet zero” plan. He said aviation, unlike other transport sectors, was unlikely to meet targets for net zero by 2050.  The sector should pay for costly engineered carbon removal technologies (CCS) rather than rely on using the planting of trees to claim they are reducing CO2 emissions.  And these offsets and removal technologies should only be used as a last resort, after direct cuts of carbon and emissions by the industry itself. He said carbon removal technologies are not a “free pass” for the industry. Removals are expensive, and the sector should pay for them themselves – which would put up ticket prices. It was regrettable that the DfT’s transport decarbonisation plan had not mentioned the necessity of reducing air travel demand. There is a danger that the tech does not deliver. The plans need to be assessed every 5 years, and though that is a difficult choice for government, demand management may have to be considered in future.

Click here to view full story…

Jet Zero consultation – what it says on “Influencing Consumers” – keep flying, depend on techno-optimism

The DfT has launched its consultation, called “Jet Zero” on how the UK might decarbonise flights, by 2050. One really effective way to do that would be to reduce the demand for air travel, which is what the Climate Change Committee  (CCC) recommended. The CCC said (24th June) “Lack of ambition for aviation demand management would result in higher emissions of 6.4 MtCO2e/year in 2030 relative to the CCC pathway for aviation emissions.” But the Jet Zero consultation just says “We want to preserve the ability for people to fly whilst supporting consumers to make sustainable travel choices.” And “This Government is committed to tackling the CO2 emissions from flights, whilst preserving the ability for people to fly.” And “we currently believe the sector can achieve Jet Zero without the Government needing to intervene directly to limit aviation growth” and cut aviation CO2 by as much as the CCC says is needed, but by other means – SAF, hydrogen, electric planes etc. It then says it will “seek to address residual carbon emissions through robust, verifiable offsets and additional greenhouse gas removals.” And it acknowledges that these are all “currently at a relatively early stage of development and [their deployment] requires collaboration and commitment across all parts of the sector if it is to succeed.” It also considers carbon information for flights, but only so people can still fly, but choose different airline options.

Click here to view full story…

 

Boris Johnson’s hope for a zero carbon transatlantic flight dismissed as a gimmick – at best a one-off

Boris Johnson’s “jet zero” goal of a commercial transatlantic flight producing no carbon emissions by 2025 is a “gimmick”, according to experts, who say technology alone cannot solve the impact of global aviation on the climate crisis. Such a flight could only be a one-off and would encourage the view that other measures such as taxing jet fuel and frequent fliers were not needed to tackle aviation’s carbon problem.  The aviation industry says more fuel efficient planes and buying millions of tonnes of carbon offsets can compensate for big future increases in passenger numbers and carbon emissions. Instead independent experts say new taxes to deter flying are vital, to reduce demand. There may be a very small contribution from alternative fuels, made using surplus renewable energy (not competing with land needed for agriculture or causing deforestation) in future decades, but that is speculative. Long-haul electric or hydrogen planes are unlikely before the middle of the century, if ever, by which time emissions should already have been cut to zero. Tim Johnsons, from AEF, said as well as taxes, regulation was needed, and the inclusion of international aviation emissions in countries’ national carbon plans submitted to the UN. Currently they are exempt. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/11/boris-johnsons-hope-for-a-zero-carbon-transatlantic-flight-dismissed-as-a-gimmick-at-best-a-one-off/

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£200 million from government for research into lower carbon planes

The UK government has unveiled £400m in private and public sector funding for technologies and research aimed at cutting aviation CO2 emissions. BEIS has announced that projects aiming to develop high performance engines, new wing designs and ultra-lightweight cabin seats – all intended to cut fuel consumption – will be getting funding from the Government’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) programme of £200 million.  Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the £200 million would be matched by £200m from industry. There may also be money from universities, including Nottingham and Birmingham, for this research. The ambition is “zero carbon aviation” as  part of the Government’s FlyZero initiative. Britain would like to become a world leader etc in lower carbon aviation technologies. There is a The Net Zero All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of MPs that is working on the necessary transition to “net zero” by 2050.  The UK needs to be seen to be leading on this, before hosting COP26 in November 2021 (postponed from Nov 2020). The APPG has a 10 point action plan that says fossil fuel extractors and importers, as well as airlines, should be required to permanently store an increasing percentage of CO2 generated by the products they sell, rising to 100% by 2050, via a proposed “carbon takeback obligation.” 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/07/200-million-from-government-for-research-into-lower-carbon-planes/

Read more »

Government will not review the Airports National Policy Statement, on any of the challenge grounds

The Government had the option of reviewing the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) after the legal challenges, which took place during 2019 and 2020. One key issue of the challenges was the impact on the UK’s climate targets of allowing Heathrow to increase its carbon emissions by up to 50%. Now the DfT has decided it will not review the ANPS, so it continues to be the underlying policy through which Heathrow could expand. The airport still has to go through the Development Consent Order (DCO) process, to get approval for a 3rd runway.  Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary of State, says that even though the UK now has a target of 78% cuts in CO2 emissions by 2035 and international aviation should be included in that target (compared to 1990 levels) and “considers that it is not possible to conclude properly that any of the policy set out in the ANPS would have been materially different had these circumstances been anticipated at the time of designation [June 2018].” The overall impact of Heathrow expansion, combined with expansion of other airports, will be considered by the Planning Inspectorate at the DCO stage.  It appears an opportunity to reduce UK aviation CO2 emissions has been missed, and government will do as little as possible on the issue.
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Part of the letter sent by the DfT to people who had asked for the ANPS to be reviewed in the light of changes to climate policy since 2018.

Dear xx

DECISION ON REQUESTS TO REVIEW THE AIRPORTS NATIONAL POLICY
STATEMENT UNDER THE PLANNING ACT 2008

I am writing to you as an individual or organisation that has requested that the
Secretary of State for Transport review the Airports National Policy Statement
(“ANPS”) under section 6 of the Planning Act 2008. The Secretary of State has
carefully considered all review requests in accordance with the requirements of
the Planning Act 2008 and this letter communicates his decision. Having taken
account of the factors in section 6(3) and (4) of the Planning Act 2008 and the
section 10(2) objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable
development (and in particular the desirability of mitigating and adapting to
climate change – see section 10(3)), the Secretary of State has decided that it
is not appropriate to review the ANPS at this time.

As to the main matters raised in the review requests:

Climate change

The Secretary of State has decided that it is not appropriate to review the ANPS
on the basis of climate change or carbon policy at this time. He considers that
changes to HM Government’s and the Climate Change Committee’s position on
climate change (including the target of net zero by 2050 now enshrined in the
revised Climate Change Act 2008, the CCC’s aviation specific advice following
its report on net zero, the announcement by the Government that it would target
a 68% reduction in UK emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels pursuant to
Article 4 of the Paris Agreement, and the inclusion of international aviation
emissions in the sixth carbon budget and its target to reduce emissions by 78%
by 2035 compared to 1990 levels), as well as Parliament’s declaration of a
“climate emergency”, represent a significant and unforeseen change in
circumstances that was not anticipated at the time of designation of the ANPS.
However, he considers that it is not possible to conclude properly that any of the policy set out in the ANPS would have been materially different had these
circumstances been anticipated at the time of designation.

He considers that the question of whether or not to review the ANPS should be
considered again after the Government’s Jet Zero Strategy (“JZS”) has been
finalised following a consultation which was launched on 14 July 2021. This sets
out proposed policies that will be needed for aviation to meet net zero emissions
by 2050. These policies will influence the level of aviation emissions the sector
can emit and the cost of flying in the future, both of which are relevant to
considering whether any of the policy set out in the ANPS would have been
materially different had these circumstances been anticipated at the time of
designation. The timing of any re-consideration of the appropriateness of
whether to review the ANPS after the JZS is finalised will need to have regard
to the availability of long-term aviation demand forecasts at that stage.

…..

more topics …. and….

Cumulative impact of growth at other airports

The Secretary of State does consider the impact of other airport growth
proposals to be a significant change in circumstances on the basis of which
policy set out in the ANPS was decided. However, the growth of other airports
was foreseen.
The Airports Commission’s Final Report recognised the need for an additional
runway in the South East by 2030 but also noted that there would be a need for
other airports to make more intensive use of their existing infrastructure. In June
2018 the Department published its policy ‘Beyond the horizon: The future of UK
aviation – Making best use of existing runways’ (MBU), which set out its support
for airports making best use of their existing runways across the whole of the
UK.

Airport development proposals under MBU are taken forward under the Town
and Country Planning Act 1990 or the Planning Act 2008. As part of any planning
applications airports will need to demonstrate how they will mitigate local
environmental issues, in consultation with local communities. The ANPS
requires that an applicant for a Northwest Runway scheme includes an
assessment of cumulative impacts in its application, which will be considered by
the Examining Authority. The applicant will, therefore, be required to consider
the cumulative effects of any relevant plans in place at the time it makes its
application. This will then be appropriately considered by the Planning
Inspectorate and the relevant decision-making Minister.

No other matters

The Secretary of State has concluded that no other matters have been identified,
whether raised by persons requesting a review or otherwise, which cause him
to think it appropriate to review the ANPS at present. Overall, none of the
matters raised make it appropriate to review the ANPS now, when assessed
either individually or cumulatively. As mentioned above, this conclusion is also
made taking into account the section 10(2) obligation of contributing to the
achievement of sustainable development, and in particular the desirability of
mitigating and adapting to climate change (see section 10(3)).

Next steps

The Government and the Secretary of State recognise the importance of having
up to date National Policy Statements to maintain the integrity of the Nationally
Significant Infrastructure Projects regime. The Secretary of State takes seriously
his duty to consider whether it is appropriate to review the ANPS and will
continue to consider whether it is appropriate to do so in line with the
requirements of the Planning Act 2008.

The details of the Secretary of State’s decision are being published on the
Department’s website and are being provided to Heathrow Airport Limited and
to Heathrow West Limited as interested parties.

Yours sincerely,

Authorised signatory on behalf of Secretary of State for Transport


Removal of climate change hurdle clears way for third Heathrow runway

By Graeme Paton, Transport Correspondent (The Times)
September 7 2021

A barrier to the expansion of Heathrow was cleared yesterday when the government refused to review its decision to give the green light to a third runway.

Ministers have faced pressure to scrap approval for a two-mile runway at the airport, which was granted in 2018, because of escalating concerns about climate change. Last year the Court of Appeal ruled that the government’s backing for the Heathrow plan was unlawful because it failed to take account of commitments to limit rises in global temperatures. This was overturned by the Supreme Court in December but the government still faced calls to review its entire policy on airport expansion.

However, in a letter published yesterday, the Department for Transport confirmed that it had rejected the possibility of reassessing the airports national policy statement (ANPS), saying it was not appropriate at this time. It acknowledged that there had been a “significant and unforeseen change” in the government’s position on climate change since the decision was taken in 2018, including the introduction of a legally binding target to cut carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050.

It said there was no evidence that the policy “would have been materially different” even if these additional commitments had been known about in 2018 when the ANPS was tabled.

It said that a decision on the policy would be “considered again” as part of a further review of the government’s aviation reforms in the coming years.

In effect the move gives Heathrow the green light to proceed with the planning process for a new runway northwest of the airport.

Boris Johnson is a longstanding opponent of a third runway and it was thought that any review of the policy would have scuppered the plans. Yesterday’s decision was made as the government also announced that it was scrapping an independent aviation noise watchdog set up after the decision in 2018 to crack down on noisy planes. The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) had been established to ensure that the needs of communities were taken into account in any decision to expand airports.

However, in a written statement published yesterday, Robert Courts, the aviation minister, said its functions “would be more efficiently performed” by the existing aviation watchdog, the Civil Aviation Authority. ICCAN will be scrapped by the end of this month.

The decisions were condemned by environmental groups. Paul McGuinness of the No Third Runway Coalition said the government had “squandered this opportunity to abandon Heathrow expansion, once and for all”.

Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said that the prime minister was becoming an “apologist for the aviation industry”.

Heathrow’s new runway is intended to boost its overall capacity by 50 per cent, allowing it to handle up to 280,000 extra flights a year. It originally planned to open it by the middle of this decade but the time frame was blown off course by the court challenge, coupled with the pandemic.

Heathrow still has to apply for a development consent order (DCO) — planning permission for major infrastructure — which would be subjected to a review by planning officials. The transport secretary would be given the final decision on whether to proceed.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “Although we are currently focused on the safe restart of international travel and the airport’s recovery, demand will return and the UK’s hub capacity will once again become constrained.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/removal-climate-change-hurdle-third-runway-heathrow-airport-london-2lpsbsf8v

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See earlier:

 

What does the Supreme Court judgement on Heathrow’s runway plans mean for the campaign to stop the 3rd runway?

A briefing note from the No 3rd Runway Coalition on what comes next, after the Supreme Court judgement (16th December) sets out some key issues. The Coalition says the judgement does NOT give Heathrow the green light; it us simply one hurdle cleared. Expansion faces:  1. Legal challenges. Plan B Earth intends to take proceedings to the European Court of Human Rights, on the danger to future generations from climate change.   2. Government can commit to reviewing the ANPS under Section 6 of the Planning Act 2008. This can refer to all or part of the statement.  The Act enables the Secretary of State to consider any significant change in any circumstances on the basis of which any policy in the statement was decided.  It can be argued that the Net Zero commitments, noise, air pollution, assessment of health impacts, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economics provide legitimate reasons for review.  The ANPS could be withdrawn.  3. Though Heathrow can now proceed to submit an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate, this has to consider current climate obligations, including the UK’s net zero by 2050 target. And Heathrow has been seriously damaged financially by Covid. See the full briefing note. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/12/what-does-the-supreme-court-judgement-on-heathrows-runway-plans-mean-for-the-campaign-to-stop-the-3rd-runway/

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Heathrow Airport expansion: Supreme Court Appeal hearing on the ANPS. Briefing by Friends of the Earth

The hearing at the Supreme Court of the appeal by Heathrow against the judgement of the Appeal Court, in February took place on 7th and 8th October.  The case is whether the Airports NPS (ANPS) is illegal, because it did not properly consider carbon emissions and the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. Friends of the Earth have explained their arguments, against those of Heathrow. (It is complicated legal stuff …) There is no onward appeal from the Supreme Court.  If any one of the grounds that won in the Court of Appeal remains, and the Supreme Court agrees that the Order made by the Appeal Court should still stand, then the ANPS will remain of no legal effect [ie. not valid or legal] until reviewed. [So the runway cannot go ahead]. The Secretary of State (SoS) for Transport must then consider if the government wish to leave it at that, or review the ANPS policy framework, to amend it. If the SoS does that, s/he will probably need to make changes that materially alter what the ANPS says. Such changes will need to be approved by Parliament following consultation, before the new ANPS can come into force. And if the FoE Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) challenge wins, there would need to be a new SEA and a new public consultation. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/10/heathrow-airport-expansion-supreme-court-appeal-hearing-on-the-anps-briefing-by-friends-of-the-earth/

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Gatwick’s Big Enough – a 2nd runway at Gatwick would be ‘disaster for the climate’

Protesters, organised through the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), gathered near the airport, chanting ‘Gatwick is big enough’, to express their opposition to the airport’s plans to convert its standby runway into a runway for routine flights. Campaigners, residents and councillors held a peaceful demonstration next to a noise monitor in Charlwood, to coincide with the midnight launch of Gatwick’s public consultation into its proposed expansion. Operating as a 2-runway airport would see Gatwick increase its annual passenger capacity from 62 million to 75m by 2038  – making it almost as large as Heathrow today. GACC chairman, Peter Barclay said the expansion of the airport would have negative impacts for people over a wide area – in terms of noise and air pollution, more night noise and sleep deprivation, and impacts on local infrastructure.  All that affects people’s quality of life. While humanity urgently needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, if we are to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, it makes no sense d to allow Gatwick to expand, adding another 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

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Gatwick second runway protesters rally against airport’s expansion proposals

Campaigners chanted ‘Gatwick is big enough’ next to a noise monitor in Charlwood

By Get Surrey
9.9.2021
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Campaigners, residents and councillors held a peaceful demonstration at 4.15pm on Wednesday (September 8), next to a noise monitor in Charlwood, to coincide with the midnight launch of Gatwick’s public consultation into its proposed expansion.

The West Sussex airport, the second busiest in the UK, is pressing ahead with plans to bring its emergency runway into regular use despite a collapse in demand caused by the pandemic.

Operating as a two-runway airport would see Gatwick increase its annual passenger capacity from 62m to 75m by 2038.

Around 1m passengers travelled through Gatwick in the first seven months of this year.

That total was reached after just 10 days in 2019.

Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), founded in 1968, is behind the protest staged on Wednesday.

GACC chairman, Peter Barclay from Charlwood, explained: “Our concerns are about the impact that [the second runway] will have on local residents around the area, not just on the northern side but completely around the airport.

“The growth forecast there will take Gatwick to an airport almost the size of Heathrow.

“One can only imagine the impact that has in terms of noise and air pollution, climate change most importantly and impacts on local infrastructure.”

Chants of ‘Gatwick’s big enough’ were heard at the demonstration in Glebe Field on Wednesday afternoon as protesters held placards and posters saying the same.

Mr Barclay added: “I often get the argument if you don’t like it, move away. But people have been here far longer than the airport has, we’ve got generations of people living in the community of Charlwood that go back to Domesday.

“This is the village people love, why should we be moving because a global corporate organisation wants to increase its profits?”

Charles Lloyd from Penshurst in Kent said more flights would mean “more noise and sleep deprivation” for people living beneath flight paths. He added: “Noise has a huge effect on our health and quality of life.”

Jonathan Essex, a Green Party councillor for Surrey County Council, also attended the demonstration and has raised concerns over the environment.

He said: “The overwhelming scientific consensus is that we urgently need to bring down greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

“With these impacts so clear, it makes no sense to allow Gatwick airport to expand, adding another 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.”

A 12-week public consultation on the airport proposals begins on Thursday (September 9).

https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/gatwick-second-runway-protesters-rally-21512572

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Second runway at Gatwick would be ‘disaster for the climate’, Green Party warns

The Green Party has warned a second runway at Gatwick would be a disaster for the climate and could result in an extra 1.5 million tonnes of carbon emitted each year.

The Green Party has calculated expansion could result in an extra 1.5 million tonnes of carbon each year

By Mark Dunford (Sussex Express)
Thursday, 9th September 2021

Councillors and members from the South East Green Party met with former Gatwick-based pilot Todd Smith as they launched their campaign against the plans on the eve of the consultation – which went live today (Thursday, September 9).

Airport chiefs believe they have mitigated environmental concerns in the plans to bring the Northern Runway into routine use. They say that new technologies will create quieter engines and this will offset the increased amount of flights created by the plans.

The Green Party has calculated expansion could result in an extra 1.5 million tonnes of carbon each year

But Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: ““Converting Gatwick’s emergency runway to support even more flights is completely incompatible with the UK’s climate targets. The Government should be looking to ways of driving down aviation demand, not facilitating it.

You can see all full consultation materials for Gatwick’s plans and details how to give your views here.

“More flights at Gatwick will cause more noise, pollution and road congestion and undermine what few efforts there are to put us on the path to net zero emissions.”

Surrey Green Party Councillor Jonathan Essex has calculated that the planned expansion at Gatwick will increase emissions by more than 1.5 million tonnes of carbon a year.Councillor Essex said: “Converting Gatwick’s emergency runway to support even more flights would be a disaster for the climate. The fact that these plans have even been put forward implies that the government just reflects business interests rather than providing leadership on the climate.

“We need a Green New Deal plan to decarbonise every home and journey locally, not a further increase in the noise, pollution, congestion and pressures of Gatwick, whose climate impact already dwarfs that of its surrounding area.”

Todd Smith, 32, former Gatwick-based pilot and co-founder of environmental group Safe Landing, said: “Airport expansion at Gatwick or any other UK airport is in direct conflict with the need for climate leadership and contradicts the advice from the government’s independent Climate Change Committee.

“It’s about time we had a grown up conversation regarding aviation’s role in this emergency and how we can support highly skilled workers’ transition towards the essential low carbon jobs of the future.”

https://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/transport/second-runway-at-gatwick-would-be-disaster-for-the-climate-green-party-warns-3376325

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See earlier:

 

Tom Tugendhat MP letter to Aviation Minister – on need for proper scrutiny of Gatwick future main runway growth

The expansion that Gatwick might perhaps eventually be allowed, by using its emergency runway as a full runway, would require proper scrutiny through the planning Development Control process (DCO). The airport might be able to handle up to an extra 50,000 annual flights by doing that.  However, more expansion and more extra annual flights could be added, by making more use of the single main runway.  That might add another 60,000 annual flights (about 16 million annual passengers).  But because there would be no physical building work required (no extra runway length or extra terminal) there would be no planning permission needed, and no chance for public scrutiny of the impacts of the gradual expansion. Now Tom Tugendhat (MP for Tonbridge & Malling) has written to Robert Courts, the Aviation Minister, to ask for a meeting to discuss this anomaly. He says the main runway growth would be “more than the aggregate growth at the 5 UK airports that are currently seeking expansion.  In each of those cases the proposed growth has been robustly scrutinised and communities have been able to have their say. The government cannot simply ignore the greater impacts at Gatwick because it has different planning position.”

Click here to view full story..

CAGNE and GACC join call to suspend expansion of Gatwick  – and an airport expansion moratorium

10th May 2021

Both Gatwick groups have joined 14 other UK community groups from eight airports in calling for all airport expansion to be halted, because of the Government’s move to include international aviation in carbon budgets, from 2033, and legislation. The campaigners’ letter to the Secretary of State for Transport (Grant Shapps) and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) to ‘suspend the determination of all applications to increase the physical capacity of UK airports, or their approved operating caps, until noise and climate policies were in place, against which such applications could be judged.’  There is due to be a consultation on UK aviation carbon emissions in the next month or so. It is irresponsible act for Government to allow any airport expansion plans before this, prejudging the outcome of its net zero aviation and low carbon transport consultation.  Peter Barclay, chairman of GACC, added: “Airport expansion is completely inconsistent with the Government’s new approach to aviation emissions and the formal advice from the Committee on Climate Change.”   See full article at

https://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/environment/two-campaign-groups-join-call-to-suspend-expansion-of-gatwick-airport-3231379

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After two and a half years, Government closes down the ICCAN

The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) was finally set up by the government in March 2019, with the aim of looking into how the extra noise from airport expansion would affect those overflown, and the impacts of changes to flight paths.  Its aim was not to reduce the amount of aircraft noise suffered, but to find out more about it, consult etc.  Its creation had been a recommendation of the Airports Commission in June 2015, to make Heathrow expansion seem less unpalatable. Now Robert Courts, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport, has announced that it is to be wound up at the end of September. Back in June 2015 ICCAN had said it would take them two years to: “Review existing enforcement mechanisms and consider whether enforcement powers are necessary”.  It had been stated in 2019 that “ICCAN will be reviewed in two years’ time and a decision will be made about its future direction as an organisation, including whether to give it increased powers. In the meantime, ICCAN’s role is threefold: to listen, to evaluate and to advise.”  The government now says its role will mainly be taken on by the CAA, and part by the DfT. That will not bring reassurance to those suffering from aircraft noise problems.
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Government announcement – By minister Robert Courts

6th September 2021

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Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a reduction in aircraft movements in most areas, and with it a reduction in associated noise, but as the Government focuses on building back better and ensuring a successful UK aviation sector for the future, aviation noise will increase from current levels. It is therefore vital that Government has appropriate and credible advice on aviation noise related matters.

The Government established the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN)  in November 2018 to help ensure that the needs of local communities are properly taken into account when considering the noise impacts of airport expansion, and to help ensure that noise impacts of airspace changes are properly considered.

Following an independent review of ICCAN conducted earlier this year, I have concluded that many of ICCAN’s functions would be more efficiently performed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which already has a wider environmental remit. This will help ensure that noise is considered alongside other policy outcomes on the basis of high quality research and advice.

As a result, I can confirm that ICCAN will be wound down this month (September). This will be followed by a transitional phase during which my Department will work with the CAA, which will take on the majority of ICCAN’s former functions from April 2022. The CAA also plans to establish a new Environment Panel to provide it with independent expert advice on a range of environmental issues including carbon, air-quality and noise. ICCAN’s existing functions not transferred to the CAA, will remain within my Department.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-09-06/hcws251

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See earlier:

 

ICCAN progress report, after a year’s work looking at aviation noise – it should be a priority post-Covid

What seems a long time ago, in 2015, the Airports Commission recommended that an independent body should be set up to deal with aircraft noise problems. So in 2019 ICCAN (the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise) was finally set up.  It was hoped that this body would be able to help people who are subjected to aircraft noise, and who have no sensible means to get the level of noise nuisance reduced. In reality, ICCAN says its aim is “to improve trust and public confidence in the management of noise in the UK through the delivery of a comprehensive work programme.” And: “It is not, and never has been, our role to have a view on the future expansion of the aviation industry, but as part of making the UK a world leader in managing aviation noise ….” It has no powers. It has now produced its Progress Report, one year from starting work. Its main aim has been contacting many “stakeholders”, finding information, getting well informed. Now its lead commissioner, Rob Light, says the Covid pandemic “should be seen as a chance to rebuild and regrow aviation in a more sustainable way” and noise should be a key priority. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/07/iccan-progress-report-after-a-years-work-looking-at-aviation-noise/

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ICCAN produces review and 6 recommendations about aviation noise metrics and their measurement

The issue of plane noise has been of great concern to hundreds of thousands of people, for ages. ICCAN was set up in 2019 to look into the problem, seeing if there might be ways to manage it better, and for people to be considered more  – and their noise concerns taken seriously. One key problem is how noise is measured, and therefore how overflown communities can get factual data on the noise they are experiencing. This is complicated. Acoustics is not a simple science, and especially difficult to explain in plain English to laypeople. The noise an area suffers depends on the number of planes overhead, their height, their type, what they are doing at the time, the frequency of the flights overhead, the time of day (or night) and the background level of noise an area already experiences. Traditionally aircraft noise is averaged over a period of time. That provides numbers that can be compared to other places and other times. But it makes no sense to those being affected. But nobody hears an average of plane noise. They hear a number of separate noisy events. Now ICCAN has produced a review of aircraft noise metric and their measurement, and their six recommendations, for how improvements should be made. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/07/iccan-produces-review-and-6-recommendations-about-aviation-noise-metrics-and-their-measurement/

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ICCAN consultation on its Corporate Strategy – public welcome to respond – deadline 16th June 2019

The Airports Commission suggested, back in 2015, that there should be an independent body looking into aircraft noise issues – largely to help reduce public opposition to the massive increase in noise that would be generated by a Heathrow 3rd runway. The ICCAN (Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise) was finally set up earlier this year, with a chairman (Rob Light) and three commissioners (Colin Noble, Howard Simmons and Simon Henley). It has been visiting a lot of airports, and also community groups. It plans to take two years to make its recommendations, and it will then decide if it needs to have some statutory powers – it currently has no powers to get the industry to do anything. ICCAN says: “Our two-year aim – To improve public confidence and trust in the management of aviation noise, by building our expertise, credibility and profile across the UK.”  There is currently a consultation on ICCAN’s corporate strategy, which the public are requested to fill in.  No technical expertise is needed – and the views of ordinary people, to whom plane noise is of interest or concern, are solicited. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2019/06/iccan-consultation-on-its-corporate-strategy-public-welcome-to-respond-dealine-16th-june/

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Gatwick public consultation begins on plans to convert standby runway to full use as 2nd runway

Gatwick airport has started a public consultation on its plans to bring its standby runway, just north of the main runway, into routine use for departing aircraft – alongside the main runway.  It means having to reposition the centre line of the standby runway, moving it 12 metres north. That then just meets international runway safety standards.  The consultation ends on 1st December 2021. Due to the size of the proposal, increasing the annual number of passengers by over 10 million, it is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. Therefore Gatwick will next have to  apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build and operate the altered runway. This consultation is not the DCO application itself.  Gatwick hopes to get consent to start the first stages of the runway process by 2023, starting actual building work in 2024, with the runway finished by 2029. The work is expected currently to cost £500 million – there are extravagant claims about numbers of new jobs and local economic benefit.  This growth is in addition to more growth by increased use of the main runway, but that does not need a DCO application. Gatwick’s annual CO2 emissions could rise by a million tonnes.  This will be the last full consultation on the expansion.
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Gatwick airport documents about the consultation

https://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/future-plans/northern-runway/

and

https://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/future-plans/northern-runway/documents/

and

https://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/company/future-plans/northern-runway/2021/summary.pdf

READ AND DOWNLOAD THE CONSULTATION DOCUMENTS

Consultation Summary Document – a summary of our proposals and options

Consultation Questionnaire – includes questions on areas where feedback will help to shape our proposals

Consultation Overview Document – includes more detailed information. This document sets out an overview of our proposals and approach to managing impacts

and there are other documents at

https://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/future-plans/northern-runway/documents/


Gatwick says:

We are now consulting on our proposals to bring the existing Northern Runway into routine use alongside our main runway. We are calling our proposals the Northern Runway Project. It is anticipated that by 2038 this would increase Gatwick’s passenger throughput to approximately 75.6 million passengers per annum (mppa), compared to a maximum potential passenger throughput based on the existing runway of approximately 62.4 mppa.

This represents an anticipated increase in capacity of approximately 13.2 mppa.

This level of passenger increase, along with the road improvements needed to support it, means the project is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) and we will need to apply for a development consent order (DCO) to build and operate it. A DCO can combine planning consent to develop, operate and maintain an infrastructure project, with other important planning and environmental approvals that would otherwise need to be applied for separately.

Consultation is an important part of the DCO process as it enables everyone to comment on the proposals.

The feedback received, along with further technical work and environmental studies, will inform the development of our proposals ahead of submission of our DCO application to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Planning Inspectorate will then review and examine the application, including encouraging submission of views from local people and other interested parties, before making a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, who will take the final decision on whether or not to grant consent.

For more information on the DCO planning process, please visit: infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk.


Gatwick Airport: Public consultation begins on £500m plans for second runway

By Christian Fuller    chris_fuller11   (The Argus)

9th September 2021

A PUBLIC consultation has begun on plans to bring Gatwick Airport’s emergency runway into routine use.

The proposed project would bring the airports existing northern runway into routine use for departing aircraft alongside the main runway.

The plans, which have an estimated cost of £500m, would see the centre line of the northern runway repositioned further north by 12 metres.The 12-week public consultation will run from September 9 to December 1.

The proposed project would enable dual runway operations, while meeting all international safety standards.

The Argus: A graphic explaining how the northern runway at Gatwick Airport would work
If the consultation is successful, the northern runway could be operational by 2029.

The majority of the construction works associated with the airfield are contained within the existing airport boundary.

The cost of those works is around £500m and will be privately financed, generating approximately 18,400 additional jobs by 2038 and an additional expected £1.5 billion GVA to the region. [Those numbers, from Gatwick, should be taken with a large pinch of salt. AW comment].

Gatwick says the project will be delivered in a sustainable way which helps to achieve the Government’s overall goal of net zero emissions by 2050. [An entirely preposterous statement, concealing the likely extra CO2 emissions of up to a million tonnes per year, with no way yet to remove those from the atmosphere. AW comment]

Gatwick Airport chief executive officer Stewart Wingate said the proposals will help boost their economy, maintain competition within the London market, open up new connections and support a Global Britain.“They will also open up exciting new employment opportunities, create additional jobs and further enable travel to visit family and friends, take a leisure break or foster trade and business links,” he said.  [What in fact will happen is more cheap holiday flights, taking money out of the UK, increasing the annual tourism deficit. AW comment].

“Our proposals are forward looking and seek to bring significant benefits for our region.

“I am confident in our future and very pleased to present these proposals for public consultation. We would like to hear views from local residents, and anyone interested in our proposals. I encourage everyone to take time to review our plans and respond by December 1st, 2021.”

Those interesting in responding to the consultation can do so by completing the online consultation questionnaire at gatwickairport.com/futureplans or email comments to feedback@gatwickfutureplans.com.

Alternatively, you can complete a hard copy questionnaire and return it using the FREEPOST address: FREEPOST RTRB-LUUJ-AGBY.

Public feedback must be received by 11.59pm on December 1.

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/19567425.gatwick-airport-public-consultation-begins-500m-plans-second-runway/?ref=rss

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How Gatwick’s planned airport expansion will be built over five years

By CATHERINE KENNEDY  (New Civil Engineer)

10th September 2021

Gatwick Airport has revealed the construction timeline for its proposed dual-runway expansion.

The public consultation on the airport’s plans to bring the existing northern runway into routine use began yesterday.

According to the consultation documents, the core airfield works would take approximately five years from 2024 to 2029, with further works continuing at a lower intensity over the period to 2038.

Indicative construction phasing

Gatwick-phasing.jpg

The consultation adds: “The timing of the project would be dependent on the timing of securing development consent and the discharge of the associated requirements. The indicative construction programme is based on construction commencing in 2024.

“The programme for the main airfield construction works would be of approximately five years duration, enabling the altered northern runway and taxiways to be complete and fully operational in combination with the main runway in 2029.”

The airport said it owns or is in control of most of the land needed to deliver the proposals, but as part of the DCO application, it “will be seeking powers to compulsorily acquire the additional land where required”.

The consultation adds: “Where land is required, we are committed to reaching agreement with affected landowners for the private acquisition of land wherever possible.”

The consultation comes after Gatwick last month announced plans to reposition the centre line of its northern runway north by 12m to facilitate the expansion.

According to the airport the amendment to the runway centre positioning would meet international safety standards required to let Gatwick operate as a dual-runway airport.

Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate emphasised the benefits of the scheme.

Wingate said the proposals “will help boost our economy, maintain competition within the London market, open up new connections and support a Global Britain”.

He added: They will also open up exciting new employment opportunities, create additional jobs and further enable travel to visit family and friends, take a leisure break or foster trade and business links.  Our proposals are forward looking and seek to bring significant benefits for our region.

“I am confident in our future and very pleased to present these proposals for public consultation. We would like to hear views from local residents and anyone interested in our proposals.”

The consultation closes on 1 December 2021.

https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/how-gatwicks-planned-airport-expansion-will-be-built-over-five-years-10-09-2021/

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Gatwick aims to move runway centreline to expand capacity

26 AUG, 2021

BY TIM CLARK  (New Civil Engineer)

Gatwick has announced plans to reposition the centre line of its northern runway north by 12m to allow it to be brought into regular use.

The airport officially announced a three-month consultation on the plans for a second runway between September and December this year after stating the project would bring in 18,400 new jobs.

According to the airport the amendment to the runway centre positioning would meet international safety standards required to let Gatwick operate as a dual-runway airport.

Construction details, timescales or costs have not been released for the project however the airport said that the changes would allow it to increase capacity to approximately 75M passengers per year by 2038 and bring in £1.5bn per year in GVA to the region.

As the proposed Northern Runway plans are considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, the airport plans to apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build and operate the scheme.

Other elements of the proposals include improved airport access, highway improvements, as well as additional landscape/ecological planting and environmental mitigation.

Gatwick says that the project proposals are low impact and are in line with Government policy of making best use of existing runways. The project will be delivered in a sustainable way which helps to achieve the Government’s overall goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Gatwick Airport chief executive officer Stewart Wingate said: “While we are currently experiencing low passenger and air traffic volumes due to the global pandemic, we are confident that Gatwick will not only fully recover to previous passenger levels, but has the potential to continue to grow back into one of Europe’s premier airports.

“Our plans to bring our existing Northern Runway into routine use will not only help to secure that growth but will also ensure many thousands of additional jobs and a vital boost to the economy for our local region.

“We would like to hear views from local people and interested groups on the proposed Northern Runway Project as part of our comprehensive public consultation process and encourage everyone to take time to review our plans.

“Aside from the economic benefits our plans will have, we remain committed to our sustainability goals, and our Northern Runway plans are designed to be a low impact way of unlocking new capacity from our existing infrastructure, much of which is already in place.”

Details of the expansion were first proposed in 2018’s “Master Plan” for the airport, which said that an extra runway would add 55,000 flights a year. The scheme is also environmentally sustainable, in line with Gatwick’s commitment to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Recent half-year losses of £245M haven’t dented the airport operator’s expansion plans despite the economic impact of the pandemic.

The forthcoming consultation has been criticised by the Campaign Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE) – an umbrella aviation community and environmental group for Sussex, Surrey, and Kent – which said it didn’t meet government policy of ‘making best use of current facilities’ and would add an extra 1m tonnes of Co2 into the atmosphere on top of the airports current emissions

In a statement CAGNE said: “It is despicable for a company to ignore the emissions that planes in and out of Gatwick produce that is causing grave danger for future generations that will have to pay the price for today’s greed of this leisure airport […]

“Climate change is one of the greatest and most pressing threats facing the modern world and yet Gatwick ignores this fact and endeavours to push forward with a second runway. Constraint of an industry must be the answer if we are to save the planet for future generations.”

The public consultation will run from 9th September 2021 to 1st December 2021.

https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/gatwick-aims-to-move-runway-centreline-to-expand-capacity-26-08-2021/

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