Tom Tugendhat 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.”
.

 

Letter copied below

Letter to

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

28th July 2021

Dear Robert,

You will be aware of the extensive correspondence you have had with Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) regarding the proposed main runway growth at Gatwick. I have been copied into much of it and have seen responses on the Department to GACC.

Two things clear from that correspondence. First that government policy requires any significant growth at an airport to be robustly scrutinised so that its benefits and its adverse impacts can be assessed, and an informed decision made. That is clearly right and I welcome it.

Secondly, that there has been no such scrutiny in relation to Gatwick’s proposed main runway growth, of some 16 million passengers per annum. Furthermore the government appears to have no current plans to ensure the scrutiny its policy requires will happen. That cannot be right.

I understand of course that Gatwick’s planning position is different from other major airports, and therefore that no automatic planning enquiry is triggered by its main growth plans.  However, that does not excuse the government from ensuring its policy is delivered.

I also understand that Gatwick’s separate standby runway growth plans will be reviewed through a Development Consent Order process, and I welcome that.  However, unless its scope is changed, the standby runway DCO process cannot refuse consent for main runway growth. It therefore will not achieve the scrutiny of main runway growth that is required.

Those circumstances mean that some imagination will be needed to find a different way of achieving the government’s policy in Gatwick’s unique circumstances and I’d be grateful if we could meet as soon as possible to explore how that could be done.

This is an important issue in Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling and, I understand, for many communities near the airport and under flight paths.  16 million passengers of growth will have very significant noise, climate, congestion and other impacts. It is more than the aggregate growth at the five 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.

I look forward to meeting to discuss these important issues.

 

Tom Tugendhat

MP for Tonbridge and Malling

tom.tugendhat.mp@parliament.uk

www.tomtugendhat.org.uk

  • * the 5 airports currently trying to expand are Bristol, Southampton, Leeds Bradford, Stansted and Manston.

See earlier:

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

The letter

https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2021/05/Airport-expansion-moratorium-letter-May-2021.pdf

.


CAA says Gatwick proposal for a 2nd runway would not need airspace change, for the 50,000 extra flights on a 2nd runway

Gatwick airport has said will push ahead with plans for a 2nd runway after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ruled that the plan for another runway will not require changes to the airspace around Gatwick. That had potentially threatened to pose a significant barrier.  The CAA (paid for by the airlines) that is the regulator for the airlines, said that there would be no change to the design of flight paths in or out of Gatwick as a direct result of the new runway, adding: “The environmental impact relating to this proposal is assessed as nil.” (sic) [Presumably they are ignoring the carbon emissions which will not, of course, be nil].  Gatwick wants to have an extra 50,000 annual flights (up from around 285,000 now) by using its existing emergency runway as a full runway, part of the time. The airspace consent by the CAA effectively allows Gatwick to push ahead with a DCO (Development Consent Order), which is needed for the development, Currently the airport has been hit very hard by the Covid pandemic, with flights down by over 98% compared to last year, airlines facing almost no air travel demand, saying they may leave Gatwick, for Heathrow.

Click here to view full story…

Gatwick’s Big Enough Campaign writes to local authorities to ask that all Gatwick expansion plans should be properly scrutinised

The newly formed coalition of community groups, opposing the expansion of Gatwick airport and the noise made by its flights, has written to all the Leaders and CEOs of all Gatwick’s Host and Neighbouring local authorities. The letter proposes actions that Councils could take to ensure that all Gatwick’s proposed growth is properly scrutinised, as is the case at every other major UK airport. In particular it urges Councils to ask the Secretary of State for Transport to direct that Gatwick’s main runway development should be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) requiring development consent (a DCO) using his powers under section 35 of the Planning Act 2008. This would ensure that there was proper scrutiny of all proposed growth, of more flights on the existing runway – as well as more flights by using the current emergency runway as a full runway.  As things stand at present, the approximately 60% increase in flights that Gatwick plans would not require any particular planning scrutiny, while the use of the emergency runway (about 40% of the growth) would.  This is an anomaly. The groups are also keen to discuss the issues with the affected councils.

Click here to view full story…

.

.

 

Read more »

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%. 

.


Heathrow’s results for the half year to 30th June 2021

https://www.heathrow.com/content/dam/heathrow/web/common/documents/company/investor/reports-and-presentations/financial-results/2021/Heathrow-(SP)-Limited-2021H1_final.pdf

 


Heathrow Airport’s pandemic losses hit £2.9bn

26 July 2021 (ITV)

Heathrow has announced that its cumulative losses from the Covid-19 pandemic have hit £2.9 billion.
Fewer than four million passengers travelled through the west London airport in the first half of the year.  It took just 18 days to reach that total in 2019.

 

The airport warned that its passenger numbers could be lower this year than in 2020.

Some 22.1 million passengers used the airport in 2020, with more than half of those travelling in January and February, before the virus crisis led to a collapse in demand.

Heathrow described recent changes to the quarantine and testing requirements for people arriving in the UK as “encouraging”, but warned that the rules are “holding back the UK’s economic recovery”

….   stuff about Covid, quarantine etc …

Heathrow’s revenue dropped from £712 million in the first six months of 2020 to £348 million in the opening half of this year.

Meanwhile, pre-tax loss widened 18% to a little over £1 billion.

https://www.itv.com/news/london/2021-07-26/heathrow-airports-pandemic-losses-hit-29bn

.


 

Alastair Osborne writing in The Times, business commentary;

27.7.2021

[Heathrow’s billionaire owners] span the Chinese government and sovereign wealth funds from Singapore and Qatar: a crew happy to take out £3.8 billion of dividends in the good times.

And, even if the airport has racked up £2.9 billion of losses since corona struck, it’s not as if investors have been hard hit. The nearest thing to a cash call is £750 million raised last year via ADI Finance 2: one of the holding companies in Heathrow’s eight-tier, tax-friendly corporate structure. Indeed, the owners have spent the pandemic badgering the Civil Aviation Authority to jack up landing fees to recoup £2.6 billion lost to Covid: a campaign so far yielding an undeserved £300 million. [Its RAB].  Even that’s proved the cue for more bleating, with Heathrow calling the sum “disappointing” and taking the fight to the next regulatory review.

Instead, Heathrow’s mainly continued with its preferred form of finance: the debt that in happier times enabled the owners to juice up returns. It’s topped up with £1.4 billion since the start of this year, raising consolidated net debt to £15.2 billion — not far shy of the airport’s £16.9 billion regulated asset base, or the CAA’s proxy for its value. And, even if chief executive John Holland-Kaye is now using the half-year figures to warn about a covenant waiver, the group has £4.8 billion of liquidity, with average cost of debt just 1.64 per cent.

Lenders clearly think the airport has a future, despite the first half 75 per cent drop in traffic to 3.9 million passengers. And so does Holland-Kaye, who’s not given up on a third runway: a landing strip he somehow equates with a “cleaner, greener and more resilient economy”. So, given all that, he’s got no case to demand taxpayer “financial support . . . as long as restrictions remain on travel”. They’ll be around in some form until the world has a grip on Covid. He can’t just have the upside of running Britain’s biggest airport.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heathrow-needs-its-americans-back-m6pgmm90f


.

See earlier:

Heathrow at risk of defaulting on its £15bn debt as UK-US flights not returning soon

Heathrow has now made a loss of at least £3 billion, due to the pandemic.  It is now at risk of defaulting on its huge £15bn debt, after talks stalled over the return of flights between Britain and America.  Heathrow had been depending on lucrative trans-Atlantic flights resuming by the start of July.  At the end of June, Heathrow warned its bondholders that if its profits are £66m or more lower than expected by December 2021, then it will breach the strict rules governing its complex portfolio of loans.  It does not look likely that flights to the US will return to anything approaching 2019 levels for a long time.  Up to 2019, North America was Heathrow’s single biggest market making up almost 19m of its 81m passengers in 2019. Heathrow is believed to have the support of its lenders despite the prospect of a potential breach of its banking covenants, the rules that govern loans. Shareholders, which include Spain’s Ferrovial and the state of Qatar, injected £600m into the business when it faced the prospect of a similar breach last year. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2021/07/heathrow-at-risk-of-defaulting-on-its-15bn-debt-as-uk-us-flights-not-returning-soon/

.

.


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.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow makes £2bn loss in 2020 due to the pandemic – warning on continuing to be a “going concern”

Heathrow lost £2 billion in 2020 because of the fall in passenger numbers due to the Covid pandemic. The numbers are lower than for perhaps 50 years, and the airport is issuing a warning about its future.  Its pre-tax loss was £2.01bn for its full-year compared to a £546m profit in 2019.  Revenues fell 62% £1.18bn, with passenger were at 22.1 million, 73% less than in 2019.  This led the airport to issue a warning, that the “existence of a material uncertainty… could cast significant doubt upon the group and the company’s ability to continue as a going concern”. Nobody knows how much air travel will happen this year.  Heathrow desperately wants relief on all its business rates, an extended furlough scheme for its staff, and a revival of VAT-free airport shopping for tourists to the UK. John Holland-Kaye makes his usual statements about how vital Heathrow is to Britain … Since the start of the pandemic, the airport has cut operating costs by nearly £400m, reduced capital expenditure by £700m and raised £2.5bn in funding. And it says it ended 2020 with £3.9bn of liquidity, which it says is enough to last until April 2033 even if there is no recovery in passenger numbers. Which begs the question of why it needs more government support now.

Click here to view full story…

.

.

.

 

Read more »

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.”
.

 

 

Taxpayers face near £900m bill for Heathrow rail link

The airport was set to bankroll the majority of the transport link to the West Country before withdrawing funding pledge in pandemic

By Oliver Gill, CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (Telegraph)

25 July 2021

Taxpayers may have to fund most of a £900m bill to build a train line linking Heathrow to the West Country after funding from the airport and other private investors fell through.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the rail minister, said he would ask the Treasury to pay for building a line between Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and the express line that links London Paddington with Reading and the west of England and Wales.

The Western Rail approach to Heathrow has been nine years in the making, having first been proposed by Theresa Villiers, then transport minister, in 2012.

Under Chris Grayling, the former Transport Secretary, it was included in a series of rail building projects that would be funded by private capital. The state owns Britain’s tracks and other rail infrastructure through government-owned Network Rail.

Hopes of it being built appeared to have been dashed in April when Heathrow withdrew its funding as a result of its finances being squeezed by the coronavirus pandemic.

But Mr Heaton-Harris told a parliamentary committee last week that he would recommend that taxpayers stump up the funds instead as part of Rishi Sunak’s spending review this autumn.

He conceded that the funding from the private sector will be “much smaller” than previously envisaged.

“Whatever it is, I will be making, in the spending review, a bid from our department for the Western Rail Link to Heathrow.

“Obviously, the bigger the private sector contribution, the better the business case and the more favourably that will be seen by my Treasury colleagues.

“But my commitment to you and Heathrow still stands. It will be included in my department’s spending review bid.”

Network Rail said that the Department for Transport had asked it to delay beginning the project by a year until the winter of 2022.

A spokesman for the organisation added: “The scheme is subject to a satisfactory business case and agreement of acceptable terms with the Heathrow aviation industry, so can only progress to [planning] submission when funding has been agreed, including an appropriate financial contribution from Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL); this requires endorsement by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as the relevant regulator

“The Government has been working closely with HAL, but the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the aviation and rail industries. This in turn has affected Heathrow Airport’s ability to commit to a financial contribution to the scheme at this time.

A map of the proposed rail link between Heathrow Terminal 5 and the west country

A map of the proposed rail link between Heathrow Terminal 5 and the west country
“The Government will continue to work closely with HAL to agree funding arrangements that offer value for money for the taxpayer and for the users of the airport.”

A spokesperson for Heathrow said in April: “Heathrow remains committed to the Western Rail Link, a project which will facilitate sustainable travel and regional connectivity.

“We’ve proposed a way for the scheme to progress in line with the revised timings announced in December 2020 and we continue to engage with the Government and the regulator to find a solution that will unlock the project’s much needed benefits in a post-Covid world.

“The CAA and the DfT now need to work with us to agree terms that will enable this project, which has the widespread support of businesses and MPs, to move forward, despite the airport’s current challenges.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/07/25/taxpayers-face-near-900m-bill-heathrow-rail-link/

.


See earlier:

 

Western Rail Link to Heathrow mothballed – won’t be revived until airport’s finances improve

Network Rail has now confirmed that staff working on the Western Rail Link to Heathrow  have been moved on to other projects, as there isn’t enough money to keep building it. The proposed link goes from the Great Western Main Line at Langley to Terminal 5.  Plans to build a £900M western rail link have been brought to a “controlled pause”, or mothballed, by Network Rail due to the impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry and Heathrow’s finances. Heathrow is currently unable to commit any funding to the project due to its precarious financial position, with a £2 billion loss announced in February.  The indefinite delay to the rail link was disclosed in the minutes of the Network Rail board meeting on 20 and 21 January 2021, published in March. It is possible that the scheme could be resumed  at some future.  The DfT would periodically update its business case for the Western Rail Link to Heathrow, in the light of significant changes to both the aviation and rail sectors as a result of Covid. The delay will continue, if Heathrow does not get passengers – and earnings – back. The scheme will be pushed further down the priority list.   

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2021/04/western-rail-link-to-heathrow-mothballed-wont-be-revived-until-airports-finances-improve/

.

.

Reading to Heathrow train line delayed by two years – at least

The Great Western rail link between Reading to Heathrow will be delayed by up to two years. A DCO application to construct the new line was expected this year but has now been delayed until winter 2021/2022 – at the earliest.  A spokesman for Network Rail said the Reading to Heathrow line has been delayed due to the court of appeal’s ruling against plans to expand Heathrow and the impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry. The Supreme Court will hear Heathrow’s appeal against the Appeal Court decision, on 7th and 8th October. If Heathrow was to win the case (a massive IF) then the rail link – to speed passengers getting to the airport – a new tunnel would be created connecting Reading to Heathrow in around 20-30 minutes, with passengers from Reading currently having to use the 50-minute Rail Air bus or go into London to get to the airport.  Reading Station and Heathrow Airport both already have terminus platforms built for the line in anticipation of the scheme. The Department for Transport (DfT) is looking to fund the project with help from Heathrow Airport on the basis of expansion, apparently. (Though Heathrow is struggling financially to survive now …) 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/09/reading-to-heathrow-train-line-delayed-by-up-to-two-years-at-least/

.


See much earlier:

NetworkRail plans for improved rail link to Heathrow T5 from the west, by tunnel, go on show

NetworkRail has put plans for consultation, for a new rail tunnel, connecting the main line into London from the west with Heathrow Terminal 5.  The proposed link, subject to planning permission, includes a 3.1 mile (5km) tunnel from the Great Western Main Line at Langley to T5.  This could cut journey times between Reading and Heathrow and reduce road congestion, if passengers travelled by train instead of by car.  A series of public consultation events is to be held in Iver and Slough.  The rail plan was given the go-ahead by the government in 2012. There would need to be a new junction created between Langley and Iver stations. There are claims that the rail link would mean a quarter of people in the UK “within one interchange”  of Heathrow. The tunnel only travels under 2 houses so is not expected to cause too much disruption locally. The tunnel would go ahead regardless of whether there is a new runway, or not.  It is expected the tunnelling would take a year.  It has the potential to make journeys from the west faster and easier.  The timetable is for informal consultation now;  formal public  consultation in summer 2015; submission of application in early 2016; work starts spring / summer 2017; work completed and trains running by the end of 2021. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/02/networkrail-plans-for-improved-rail-link-to-heathrow-t5-from-the-west-by-tunnel-go-on-show/

 

 

Read more »

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).
.

 

Give Greenwash the Red Card

19th July 2021

Stansted Airport Watch press release

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.

Greenwashing is all too common in the aviation industry and, last week, Stansted Airport Watch (SAW) submitted detailed evidence to the CMA relating to both Stansted Airport and Ryanair.

Stansted Airport:

Stansted Airport is the largest single source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the East of England and yet it constantly boasts that it has achieved ‘carbon neutral’ status. How can that be?

The answer lies in three clever tricks of the PR trade:

The ‘carbon neutral’ claim only applies to the airport buildings and airside vehicles but these two elements account for just 1% of the airport’s emissions. The other 99% is ignored – i.e. the aircraft emissions (about 90%) and the emissions from the road traffic taking passengers and freight to and from the airport (about 9%).

Even that 1% is not truly carbon neutral. The airport relies on “offsetting” to magic away CO2 emissions. An example of offsetting would be to make a donation to help protect a peat bog on the Yorkshire Moors. However, this does not stop the airport CO2 going into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

In trumpeting its “prestigious” award for achieving ‘carbon neutral’ status, Stansted Airport conveniently failed to mention of the fact that the award was given by ACI, the airports’ trade association, part financed by Stansted Airport. It’s a case of airports marking their own homework.

Ryanair:

Ryanair is also adept at greenwashing. It claims to be Europe’s “cleanest, greenest airline” but, according to the European Commission, in 2019 Ryanair was responsible for emissions of 10.5 million tonnes of CO2, more than any other airline in Europe. In fact, Ryanair was the only airline listed on the Commission’s league table of Europe’s top ten polluters (it was ranked 7th).

In 2020 the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated Ryanair’s claims to be “Europe’s Lowest Emissions Airline” and to have “low CO2 emissions” and concluded that the claims were misleading. The advertising campaign which made these claims was banned and Ryanair was told by the ASA to ensure that when making environmental claims, it had adequate evidence to substantiate them, and also to ensure that the basis of those claims was made clear.

Stansted Airport Watch Chairman, Brian Ross, commented: “The aviation industry knows full well that its CO2 emissions are a major contributor to climate change but it uses clever PR – greenwashing – to create the impression that aviation is environmentally friendly. It’s like the claims made many years ago that smoking is healthy. Eventually the truth comes out.”

ENDS


NOTES

SAW’s submission to the Competition and Markets Authority is available on request from the Campaign Office (see below).

FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT

Brian Ross, Chairman: 01279 814961; (M) 07850 937143 brian.ross@lineone.net
SAW Campaign Office: 01279 870558; info@stanstedairportwatch.com

https://stanstedairportwatch.com/press-releases/give-greenwash-the-red-card/

.


‘Green’ claims: CMA sets out the dos and don’ts for businesses

The CMA has set out its views on the types of misleading environmental claims made about products that could break the law.

Last year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it was investigating the impact of green marketing on consumers, in line with its annual plan commitment. As part of this, the CMA recently led on an analysis of websites – alongside other global authorities – which found that 40% of green claims made online could be misleading.

The CMA is now seeking views on draft guidance for businesses about ‘green’ claims. This is based on a careful review of how these claims are being made and how people respond to them. It explains the best way for businesses to communicate their green credentials, while reducing the risk of misleading customers.

This direction comes at a time when more than half of UK consumers take environmental considerations into account when buying products.

In particular, the proposed guidance sets out 6 principles that environmental claims should follow.

They:

  • must be truthful and accurate: Businesses must live up to the claims they make about their products, services, brands and activities
  • must be clear and unambiguous: The meaning that a consumer is likely to take from a product’s messaging and the credentials of that product should match
  • must not omit or hide important information: Claims must not prevent someone from making an informed choice because of the information they leave out
  • must only make fair and meaningful comparisons: Any products compared should meet the same needs or be intended for the same purpose
  • must consider the full life cycle of the product: When making claims, businesses must consider the total impact of a product or service. Claims can be misleading where they don’t reflect the overall impact or where they focus on one aspect of it but not another
  • must be substantiated: Businesses should be able to back up their claims with robust, credible and up to date evidence

……

 

The CMA is inviting views on its guidance and is particularly keen to hear from anyone who buys or sells products which claim to be eco-friendly, including whether any further information is needed to help companies comply with the law.

The consultation will run until 16 July 2021, with the aim of publishing the final guidance by the end of September 2021. More information can be found on the CMA’s Misleading environmental claims web page.

Notes to editors.

  1. The key piece of consumer protection legislation relevant to the CMA’s guidance is the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs). The CPRs contain a general prohibition against unfair commercial practices and specific prohibitions against misleading actions or misleading omissions.
  2. The statistic that “half of UK consumers take environmental considerations into account when buying products” is taken from a 2014 European Commission Market Study.
  3. Related figures and statistics on this topic can be found in the CMA’s ‘Making environmental claims: a literature review’.

… and it continues ….

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/green-claims-cma-sets-out-the-dos-and-don-ts-for-businesses

.

 


See earlier:

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

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

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/02/asa-rule-against-ryanair-ad-greenwash-claim-to-have-the-lowest-airline-co2-emissions/

.

 


Complaint submitted to Advertising Standards Authority about misleading Ryanair emissions advert

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

The Ryanair advert:

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2019/09/complaint-submitted-to-advertising-standards-authority-about-misleading-ryanair-emissions-advert/

.

.


Advertising Standards Authority finds Heathrow advert about increased trade breaches their code and is ‘misleading’

In October 2014 about 13 people send in official complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, on claims being made by Heathrow in its adverts. The ASA looked at 7 different complaints, and considered that 6 passed their standards. However, on the claim by Heathrow in its ads headed:”Expand Heathrow and its’s the economy that takes off” the statement “Direct flights to long-haul destinations build twenty times more trade with them than indirect flights” was found to breach the ASA code. The ASA say the claim was not adequately substantiated and that the ad therefore breached the Code, both by being misleading and by not having proper substantiation. The ASA say the advert “must not appear again in its current form.” They have told Heathrow “to ensure that they held robust substantiation for absolute claims made in their future advertising.”  The ASA ruling also says the claim was presented as objective facts rather than an educated assumption and that Heathrow’s own report “One Hub or None”itself cautioned that direct flights would not automatically lead to more trade and that multiple factors could influence the amount of bilateral trade. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/02/advertising-standards-authority-finds-heathrow-advert-about-increased-trade-breaches-their-code-and-is-misleading/


Does Heathrow advert implying a small girl needs a 3rd runway, for her future, meet Advertising Standards?

ASA took a long time to consider this one, but finally did not decide against it.

.

.
.

Read more »

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.
.

 

 

Bristol Airport: Inquiry into expansion refusal begins

20.7.2021 (BBC)
Weston Town Hall protest - Bristol Airport appeal (Tuesday 20 July)
A protest was held outside the appeal hearing venue at Weston Town Hall
.

A council has defended its decision to reject expansion proposals of an airport despite the threat of a costly planning appeal.

North Somerset Council voted overwhelmingly to reject Bristol Airport’s plans in February 2020.

The hearing began earlier after Bristol Airport challenged the decision.

Council leader Don Davies (Independent) said: “This unfortunately is used by big business the world over to try and cow members to do things for profit.”

Heat dome

“This airport is not owned locally, it’s owned by a Canadian pension scheme and what is the motivation for the appeal?

“They barely got eight million passengers per annum previous to the planning application.

“They have permission for up to 10 million passengers so there was a 12% window of expansion there already.

“It is ironic that a country like Canada was wrecked … by the heat dome – but they can’t see the impact of the expansion on the environment here in north Somerset,” Mr Davies added.

The expansion will mean capacity will rise to 12 million passengers per year which the airport says will create new jobs and support the local economy.

Critics protesting outside the hearing venue in Weston said more flights would increase global warming.

Witnesses will range from Bristol Airport executives, industry experts, environmental campaigners and parish councillors.

If the decision is overturned, there will be more flights and extra car parking spaces to grow the business.

The hearing which began at 10:00 BST saw a representative for the airport put forward its case.

Counsel for Bristol Airport, Michael Humphries QC said: “The government has made clear the importance it attaches to airports and their expansion.

“The merits of government policy are not a matter of debate for this local planning inquiry.

“The expansion of the airport does not cut across climate change ambitions that we all share.  It is consistent with and complements them.”  (sic)

Carbon footprint

Ahead of the hearing, the airport’s procurement manager Susannah Caws said: “Would you stop going on holiday?

“Would you stop flying? If I asked whether they would ever stop flying because of the carbon footprint I’m not sure anybody would.

“All we can do is do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint where possible.

“People will always fly and it’s how we mitigate that where possible.”

She said mitigation would include ensuring all of its vehicles were electric and that its electricity came from renewable sources.
The Parish Councils Airport Association represents 30 parish councils in the area, all of which oppose the plans.

Chairwoman Hilary Burn said: “I commend anybody who moves forward in an environmentally-friendly way.

“Let’s not forget the elephant in the room – the new modernised flights, which are coming, which are electric, don’t come until 2035.

“We know we have a biodiversity crisis and a climate crisis and we know that we have to act for 2030.

“We have to do our utmost to reduce carbon.”

CEO of Bristol Airport, Dave Lees said: “Bristol Airport is important to the region and its recovery and that includes a greener future.

“We want to improve connectivity – that’s what businesses are telling us.

“We want to avoid people having to travel up to London – it’s new and existing demand from people in our region.”

The appeal is expected to last at least two months and will be streamed on North Somerset Council’s YouTube channel.

Bristol Airport protest outside the appeal hearing venue on Tuesday 20 July 2021

Last year 18 North Somerset councillors voting against the plan, and seven voting for it. https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/bristol-airport-waiting-on-feedback-after-expansion-is-rejected-25-02-2020/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-57898791

.


See earlier:

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.

Click here to view full story…

New NEF report shows the climate impact of regional airport plans has been considerably underestimated

See original image in the Guardian article here

For UK to properly take account of the overall climate impact of UK aviation – it needs to consider the emissions from departing AND arriving flights (it currently ignores arriving flights). And also the non-CO2 impacts on climate. Maximum impact is multiplier of x3 (shown here). The multiplier could be x2.

A report by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) says the climate impact of expansion plans at regional airports in England has been dramatically underestimated and would threaten the UK’s legally binding climate commitments.  NEF calculated that proposals to expand 4 airports (Bristol, Leeds Bradford, Southampton and Stansted) will lead to an increase in CO2 emissions up to 8 times higher than the airports previously claimed. This means the alleged economic benefits claimed, from more aviation, were overestimated, as they ignore around £13.4bn worth of climate damage the extra flights could cause. Alex Chapman, the author of the report, said the findings raised concerns about the level of scrutiny the airport expansion proposals had received from government. Alex said: “The secretary of state should step in and conduct an independent review of all four of these proposals and their compatibility with the UK’s climate targets.”  The airports all use unproven and undeveloped technologies to achieve future fuel-efficiency savings. Most airports only took account of CO2 of outbound flights, not of inbound flights, and ignored the non-CO2 impacts of flights.

Click here to view full story…

Bristol Airport withdraws application to be allowed many more night flights

Bristol Airport is pushing on with its expansion plans, despite withdrawing the application to the DfT to join the UK’s list of “coordinated airports”. The application, which would allow Bristol Airport to operate night flights all year round, has been withdrawn due to the pandemic-driven drop in passenger numbers.  It would have given the airport complete freedom to schedule night flights across the year, with the declared intention to increase summer (summer is 7 months) night flights.  Flights are currently allowed to operate between 11pm to 7am in the summer season. Allowing more flights at night would improve airline profits and “efficiency” (allegedly).  And airport spokesperson said the application for coordinated status is separate from the airport’s expansion plans, and the airport will resubmit the coordinated status application when/if passenger numbers return to high levels – such as numbers in 2019. There is currently an appeal by the airport, against their rejection by North Somerset council last year.  There are now 7 airports that have coordinated status, (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London City, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester) and this is normally for congested airports. The airport currently has a cap of 10 million annual passengers.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Gatwick campaigners dismayed by government’s failure to limit night flights

The Department for Transport has published its decision document on the first part of its recent consultation on night flights at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted.  The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) is dismayed that although numerous responses to the consultation showed strong and wide opposition to night flights at Gatwick and elsewhere, the Government has decided to extend current night flight numbers and noise limits for a further three years. DfT’s decision is a kick in the teeth for all those negatively affected by the noise and disturbance caused by aircraft flying at night. It entirely ignores the views of local communities, and groups representing them – and the negative effects on health caused by sleep disturbance. GACC had called on the government to ban all commercial night flights at all UK airports for a full 8-hour period each night. GACC also argued that any flights allowed should be far more strictly regulated. Unfortunately the government has not taken the opportunity, to make positive changes after the Covid hiatus. GACC says: “Instead the DfT continues to neglect its regulatory responsibilities and to see its role as serving the interests of the industry, not overflown communities.”
.

 

 

CAMPAIGNERS DISMAYED BY GOVERNMENT’S FAILURE TO LIMIT NIGHT FLIGHTS

interactive membership application

20th July 2021

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) press release

The Department for Transport has published its decision document on the first part of its recent consultation on night flights at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted.

The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) is dismayed that although responses to the consultation showed strong and wide opposition to night flights at Gatwick and elsewhere, the Government has decided to extend current night flight numbers and noise limits for a further three years. DfT’s decision is a kick in the teeth for all those negatively affected by the noise and disturbance caused by aircraft noise at night. It entirely ignores the views of local communities and groups representing them.

GACC had called on the government to ban all commercial night flights at all UK airports for a full eight-hour period each night. GACC also argued that if any night flights continued to be allowed, they should be limited to those that were genuinely essential for economic reasons, not leisure flights, and that they should be far more strictly regulated.

GACC chairman Peter Barclay said, “The Government has used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to avoid making the changes that many respondents to its consultation strongly endorsed. This beggars belief.

“The pandemic hasn’t changed the reality that night flights have severe impacts on people who live near the airport and under flightpaths. They disturb sleep, cause stress and lead to serious health problems.

“The government has committed to building aviation back better. It could and should have seen the recent reduction in flights as an opportunity for positive change. Instead the Department for Transport continues to neglect its regulatory responsibilities and to see its role as serving the interests of the industry, not overflown communities.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

(1). The Department Transport’s decision document is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flight-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-airports-between-2022-and-2024-plus-future-night-flight-policy

The second part of the consultation – on night flight restrictions post-October 2025 is open for comments until 3 September 2021 and can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flights-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-airports-beyond-2024-plus-national-night-flight-policy

(2) GACC’s response to the night flights consultation can be found on our website: http://www.gacc.org.uk/resources/GACC%20response%20to%20night%20flight%20consultation.pdf

For further information contact Sarah Finch on 07870 823485 or email press@gacc.org.uk.

GACC’s aims are to protect and improve the environment in the vicinity of Gatwick Airport and to diminish any wider environmental impact of its operations, with particular regard to noise, congestion, air quality, light pollution and climate change.

.


See earlier:

DfT decides to roll over the night flights regime for 3 more years (not 2) for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted

The government consulted, in December 2020, on its night flights regime (closed 3rd March 2021). Part of the consultation was whether to “roll over” the current regime for the three designated airports, (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) for another 3 years, and it closed on 3rd March 2021. The second part is about wider night flights issues for all issues, and that closes on 3rd September 2021. The DfT has now published its “Decision Document” on the night flights regime and the designated airports. It has decided – despite pleas from numerous groups and individuals for change – not only to roll over the existing scheme, but to set this for THREE years more, rather than the two years originally proposed. The DfT says: “The restrictions will be reassessed in time for a new regime to commence in October 2025…” Airport groups at the designated airports are upset and furious. Night flight noise is probably the most hated, and the most damaging element of aircraft noise. The justifications given for night flights, about their economic necessity, are unconvincing. Sadly, people living with night flight noise from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted will be stuck with the problem, at least until 2025

Click here to view full story…

.

and

Groups write to Aviation Minister, asking for new limits on night flights – including need for an 8-hour night period

A long list of organisations and groups have signed a letter to the Transport Minister, Robert Courts, asking for action to limit night flights.  It is understood that the government intends to publish a consultation and call for evidence on night flights later this year.  The groups hope the DfT will take their views into consideration, and not (as in 2017) decide policy on night flights BEFORE consulting.  They say that all night flights, other than for emergency and humanitarian purposes, should be banned at all UK airports. The period defined as night should be an eight hour period. If any night flights are to be permitted, their number and impacts should be regulated far more robustly than they are now, at all airports. In the past, the government has argued that the economic benefits of allowing planes to fly at night outweigh the health and quality of life costs of those negatively affected. This can no longer withstand scrutiny, as many flights are just to perpetuate a low-cost carrier business model that generates unsustainable levels of leisure flights. The demand for business flights is increasingly replaced by internet communications, and most air freight does not need to arrive the next day.

Click here to view full story…

.

.

.

Read more »

DfT decides to roll over the night flights regime for 3 more years (not 2) for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted

The government consulted, in December 2020, on its night flights regime (closed 3rd March 2021). Part of the consultation was whether to “roll over” the current regime for the three designated airports, (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) for another 3 years, and it closed on 3rd March 2021. The second part is about wider night flights issues for all issues, and that closes on 3rd September 2021. The DfT has now published its “Decision Document” on the night flights regime and the designated airports. It has decided – despite pleas from numerous groups and individuals for change – not only to roll over the existing scheme, but to set this for THREE years more, rather than the two years originally proposed. The DfT says: “The restrictions will be reassessed in time for a new regime to commence in October 2025…” Airport groups at the designated airports are upset and furious. Night flight noise is probably the most hated, and the most damaging element of aircraft noise. The justifications given for night flights, about their economic necessity, are unconvincing. Sadly, people living with night flight noise from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted will be stuck with the problem, at least until 2025
.

 

The DfT’s

Night Flight Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted

Decision Document

July 2021 is at

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1003621/night-flight-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-decision-document.pdf

In this, the DfT says: 

“Following this consultation and taking into account responses from industry, community groups and individuals, the following decisions have been reached. Firstly, the night noise objective and existing restrictions will be rolled over for a period of three years rather than two as originally proposed in our consultation.

A two-year rollover, which would have necessitated consultation on new proposals in 2022, would no longer provide enough time for the government to have conducted thorough research to properly inform and develop a new evidence-based night noise regime.

This is because of a change in the government’s view on the pace and trajectory of the aviation sector’s recovery.

By rolling over for three years, the extra year will allow the government to develop a more meaningful evaluation of the costs and benefits of night flights (as called for in a number of consultation responses from community groups), taking into account the effects of the pandemic and the extent and speed with which aviation demand returns.

This will enable decisions to be taken against a background of a wider evidence base, including on the negative impacts on sleep and health, against which the economic benefits of night flights have to be balanced. Some recovery is necessary to allow for research which is representative of prepandemic times, and which can therefore accurately examine the benefits of night flights, alongside how night flights at, or closer to, their normal level would impact on local communities.

Although many individuals urged the government to implement change now as skies are quieter, basing policies on a time when the UK was in full or partial lockdown and most international travel had been halted, would not be representative of future demand for aviation services and would be likely to have negative longer-term economic effects.

In reaching this decision we took into account the views of community groups and considered that it was likely that a longer extension would increase the strength of feeling expressed by consultees opposed to any extension.

Nonetheless, even considering this our decision is that time must be allowed for the sector to recover to enable an accurate analysis of the benefits of night flights and associated negative impacts for communities.

The restrictions will be reassessed in time for a new regime to commence in October 2025, by which time we would have a better understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted the aviation sector.”


 


See  earlier:

 

DfT publishes night flights consultation – no concessions to airport groups for another 4 years…?

Historically, the DfT has set the night flight regime – for the “designated” airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – for periods of 5 years. The last regime was in 2017, for the period from October 2017 to October 2022. The DfT says: “The aim of the regime was to maintain the status quo and ensure that communities do not experience any overall increase in the noise created by night flights.” It has allowed a high level of night flights, with no reductions on earlier numbers, despite significant community opposition.  Seventeen airport groups wrote to the Aviation Minister on 10th November, asking that night flights should be limited in future, with a proper night period in which no flights are permitted (other than genuine emergencies). The aim was to make their point before the DfT consultation (by which time the DfT has decided what it intends to do …). The government has now published its new night flights consultation, for the period 2022 to 2024. The DfT intends there to be no change to the current regime (no concessions to suffering from being overflown at night) other than phasing out the noisiest planes, which airlines are getting rid of anyway, due to Covid. DfT says: “… we are also seeking early views and evidence on policy options for the government’s future night flight policy at the designated airports beyond 2024, and nationally.” 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/12/night-flights-consultation/

.


See earlier:

Campaign groups call for ban on Gatwick Airport night flights

Both community groups at Gatwick, GACC and CAGNE, are calling for a ban on night flights from Gatwick. “If night flights continue to be allowed, GACC argues they should be limited to those that are genuinely essential for economic reasons, not leisure flights, and that they should be far more strictly regulated.”  Successive governments have acknowledged that noise from aircraft at night has significant health, economic and other impacts on communities near airports and under flight paths, and have asserted that they take this very seriously. But there has been no bottom-up review of the UK’s night flight regime since 2006. Instead, the government has repeatedly rolled forward night flight limits set many years ago, without any re-examination of what we believe are the very limited economic benefits, whilst failing to take account of the increasingly strong evidence of the adverse physical and mental health impacts night flights have on communities. There is no reason to continue to operate services at night when there is ample capacity at times of day that have less serious health and community impacts. The first part of the DfT consultation on night flights ended on 3rd March; the second part ends on 31st May.

Click here to view full story…

Groups write to Aviation Minister, asking for new limits on night flights – including need for an 8-hour night period

A long list of organisations and groups have signed a letter to the Transport Minister, Robert Courts, asking for action to limit night flights.  It is understood that the government intends to publish a consultation and call for evidence on night flights later this year.  The groups hope the DfT will take their views into consideration, and not (as in 2017) decide policy on night flights BEFORE consulting.  They say that all night flights, other than for emergency and humanitarian purposes, should be banned at all UK airports. The period defined as night should be an eight hour period. If any night flights are to be permitted, their number and impacts should be regulated far more robustly than they are now, at all airports. In the past, the government has argued that the economic benefits of allowing planes to fly at night outweigh the health and quality of life costs of those negatively affected. This can no longer withstand scrutiny, as many flights are just to perpetuate a low-cost carrier business model that generates unsustainable levels of leisure flights. The demand for business flights is increasingly replaced by internet communications, and most air freight does not need to arrive the next day.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

No 3rd Runway Coalition: “Heathrow expansion stopping UK from jet zero dreams”

The government hopes all international flights from the UK can be made “net zero” for carbon emissions by 2050. Its new consultation, called “Jet Zero” sets out what the DfT is hoping for, with the remarkable reduction in carbon emissions largely being brought about by “sustainable aviation fuels.” The DfT is not keen on doing anything that would deliberately restrict air travel demand. Campaigners at Heathrow, the No 3rd Runway Coalition, point out that it would be hard enough to get anywhere near net zero for aviation emissions, even without airport expansion plans being allowed. And it would be completely impossible, if a 3rd Heathrow runway was allowed, adding perhaps up to another 9 million more tons of CO2 per year to be emitted. Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “It has long been clear that Heathrow’s 3rd runway is incompatible with the UK climate targets and would take up the vast majority of aviation’s residual emissions in 2050.”
.

 

HEATHROW EXPANSION STOPPING UK FROM JET ZERO
DREAMS

14 July 2021

No 3rd Runway Coalition

The Government have published a Jet Zero Aviation consultation which primarily looks at achieving Net Zero emissions within the aviation sector by 2050, with domestic aviation’s target set at 2040 (1).

Campaign group No 3rd Runway Coalition, who want to see plans for a carbon-intensive 3rd runway at Heathrow Airport scrapped, described the Government’s approach as “immaterial” until Heathrow expansion is ruled out.

The consultation ‘evidence and analysis’ document (2) published alongside the main
consultation document contains advice from the Government’s Climate Change
Committee (CCC), states that all the scenarios do not bring down aviation’s emissions
to net zero. Even with Sustainable Aviation Fuels – which the Government have
repeatedly placed a lot of faith in the development of, the sector will still be emitting 9
megatonnes of CO2 per year in 2050 (3). The document states that due to remaining
emissions, cuts will have to be made in other sectors. The consultation asks for views on how to do achieve this.

The reason for these high levels of residual emissions would appear to be because
Heathrow expansion is yet to be cancelled. The evidence and analysis document says
that the various scenarios put forward are accounting for Heathrow expansion taking
place. It cites fact that the National Policy Statement (the policy document upon which
Heathrow expansion is based – passed in 2018) still stands, even though this Government have tried to distance themselves from it (4).

Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “It has long been clear that Heathrow’s 3rd runway is incompatible with the UK climate targets and would take up the vast majority of aviation’s residual emissions in 2050. The Government’s laudable goal to achieve decarbonisation in aviation can only be achieved by ruling out Heathrow expansion of once and for all.”

ENDS.

Notes
1) Jet Zero consultation –
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/achieving-net-zero-aviationby-2050
2) Jet Zero – evidence and analysis document https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002163/jet-zero-consultation-evidence-and-analysis.pdf
3) Table on p. 19 of evidence and analysis document
4) Sections A.5 – A.7, page 21/22 of evidence and analysis document


“Achieving net zero aviation by 2050”

A consultation on our strategy for net zero aviation.  Ends 8th September.
See earlier:

Jet Zero consultation – what it says on “sustainable aviation fuels” (spoiler…crazy over-optimism)

The DfT’s consultation on reducing aviation carbon emissions, “Jet Zero” places a lot of faith in finding novel, low carbon fuels, so people can continue to fly as much as they want. These are called “Sustainable Aviation Fuels” (SAF). The consultation says SAF “could play a key role in decarbonising aviation, whilst also representing an industrial leadership opportunity for the UK.” The economic opportunity aspect, and producing jobs, is key for the DfT.  They say “Many experts view SAF as the only alternative for long-haul flights up to 2050, which are the flights with the biggest climate impact.” The DfT is hoping SAF could “result in over 70% CO2 emissions saving on a lifecycle basis and could deliver net zero emissions with the addition of greenhouse gas removal technologies.” SAF would either be biogenic, non-biogenic (from wastes) or made using zero-carbon electricity.  There are huge problems, glossed over by the consultation. A key problem is that “there is currently no comprehensive global regulatory standard for SAF sustainability. The UK is therefore active at ICAO in negotiating for a full set of sustainability criteria for SAF.” The DfT “will shortly consult on a UK SAF mandate setting out our level of ambition for future SAF uptake.”

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…


Read more »

Local Authorities must question if it is justifiable, or a financial asset, to own an airport

There is a glaring logical inconsistency between the declaration of “climate emergencies” by councils, and the backing of local airports. That is particularly the case where the airport owns, or partly owns, the airport.  The Local Government Chronicle has written that “councils’ declarations of climate emergency will be mere weasel words unless they lead to painful but necessary decisions being made.” To achieve action on climate, councils need to take urgent and significant action. Helping an airport expand and increase its number of passengers, flights and CO2 emissions should no longer be happening. And while some airports were useful sources of income for councils in pre-Covid years, there is no certainty at all that will continue. Instead airports have been a sink for public money over the past year. Councils should not attempt to confuse the situation, by claims that airports are cutting carbon, becoming carbon neutral etc. That is only for their buildings, conveniently ignoring the carbon from the flights the airport facilitates. Councils need to accept that the restoration of passenger numbers to previous levels is not desirable.
.

 

Airport growth is incompatible with climate emergency

15 JUNE 2021

BY NICK GOLDING
Local Government Chronicle

Councils’ declarations of climate emergency will be mere weasel words unless they lead to painful but necessary decisions being made, writes LGC editor Nick Golding in the leader article for June’s LGC magazine.

The declarations of a climate emergency now made by three-quarters of UK councils need to be followed by urgent and significant action.

It is an ‘emergency’, after all – the clue’s in the name. If councils’ promises in relation to the gravest crisis facing the world are to be honoured, a complete rethink of many spheres of life, work and economic activity is required. It may therefore surprise many that a number of councils that have declared climate emergencies own airports, and some still plan to expand them.

While growth in aviation has previously had a positive impact on economic growth, [perhaps, though in 2019 there was a UK £33.5 billion tourism deficit…] and facilitates the cultural enrichment and personal vitality that results from foreign travel, it comes at a terrible cost to the climate.

Any increase in aviation will make it harder for the UK to honour its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. Committee on Climate Change chairman Lord Deben (Con) has warned that zero carbon aviation is “unlikely to be feasible” by then, with aviation becoming the “largest emitting sector in the UK”, even allowing for improvements to fuel efficiency and the limiting of demand growth.

In a 2019 letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps, Lord Deben said of airports: “Investments will need to be demonstrated to make economic sense in a net-zero world and the transition towards it.”

“No council should be contemplating airport expansion”

Local government has sought to justify its expansion of airports. Greater Manchester CA mayor Andy Burnham (Lab) has previously insisted the growth of his city’s airport from 25 million to 45 million passengers annually by 2045 will be the result of “taking passengers from other places”, not extra journeys overall.

Meanwhile, Graham Olver, chief executive of the Luton BC-owned London Luton Airport Ltd, told LGC increasing passenger numbers from 18 million to 32 million annually was compatible with the council’s “completely reinvigorated” approach to sustainability, and that a “regulatory structure” would ensure “managed green growth”.

Sadly, such claims are unconvincing. There is no impending technological breakthrough sufficiently profound to allow a growth in aviation without contributing to global warming (at least without heaping even more of the burden of transitioning to net zero onto other sectors).

And even if levelling up might legitimately mean a bigger proportion of UK flights from airports outside the south-east, this surely should mean other regions’ airports contract less, rather than grow more.

LGC – Local Government Chronicle – this month examines the impact of Covid-19 on council-owned airports, with the five biggest seeing drops in passenger numbers of 70-85%.

This has had a disastrous impact on their staff and the broader local economy, as well as upon council coffers: authorities such as Luton and Greater Manchester’s 10 metropolitan boroughs have been heavily hit, with Luton so badly affected it required a £35m government bailout.

As painful as it might be for the places and the workers involved, the restoration of passenger numbers to previous levels is not desirable.

Indeed, with the rise of the video meeting in the past year, one might expect business travel in particular to dramatically decline.

It is hard to see airports again offering councils the commercial returns to which they have grown accustomed and, when it comes to jobs, a sustainable local economy is more likely to be one that isn’t dependent on pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.

If the government is serious about greening the economy and ensuring local government is financially sustainable it should offer support to help the most airport-reliant councils wean themselves off aviation. No council should be contemplating airport expansion and all councils should be rethinking their economic plans to reduce dependency on aviation. While the environmental credentials of HS2 are doubtful, its construction needs to open the way to rail’s replacement of flight for short-haul journeys and councils would be better advised to focus on this, rather than air travel. A climate emergency declaration amounts to nothing more than weasel words unless bold action is taken to prevent environmental catastrophe.

https://www.lgcplus.com/politics/lgc-briefing/airport-growth-is-incompatible-with-climate-emergency-15-06-2021/ 


Turbulence ahead: how Covid and climate concerns have hit council-owned airports

15 JUNE 2021

BY JONATHAN KNOTT

Council-owned airports have gone from cash cow to a drain on resources during the pandemic – and climate concerns have raised fundamental questions about their future. Airports have been a crucial factor in a number of councils’ drives to boost economic growth and generate a…

https://www.lgcplus.com/services/regeneration-and-planning/turbulence-ahead-how-covid-and-climate-concerns-have-hit-council-owned-airports-15-06-2021/

.


See also:

 

Teeside Airport bottomless pit for council cash – given another £10 million by TVCA

Teeside Airport is to get an extra £10m from the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), hoping to keep it afloat after Covid impacts. TVCA spent more than £40m buying the loss-making airport in 2019 following a previous election pledge by Mr Houchen to take it back from previous owner Peel. TVCA has also provided a further £19.4m to support operational expenditure, along with £15m towards capital expenditure, which has helped pay for a multi-million pound terminal redevelopment, new passenger lounges, bars etc. The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said in November 2020 that the airport made a £2.6m loss in the previous 12 monthsIts advocates say it could be profitable in about 6 years. Teeside Airport Ltd is governed financially by TVCA via another limited company, Goosepool, both being subsidiaries of TVCA, a structure which has been criticised by some for its apparent lack of transparency. Stobart Aviation, which operates Teesside Airport, has a 25% shareholding in Goosepool. Opponents of the handouts to the airport say too much is being spent on the airport and “The time for vanity projects is at an end – it’s time he started to deliver on the real needs of our people.” 

Click here to view full story…

Luton Council’s £60m loan to Luton Airport company set for approval ‘in private’

A £60m loan by Luton Borough Council to its airport company is set for approval, in private, by the executive later this month. The first of two emergency loans – together totalling £83m – has gained the support of Luton Council’s scrutiny finance review group, at the second attempt. The second loan worth £23m to London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL) is scheduled for the 2021/22 financial year, after the council’s emergency budget in July.  The Labour controlled council were forced by the Liberal Democrats to discuss the loan report in public. But officers asked for the council to take legal advice and defer the issue. It seems that 5 five Labour councillors recommended the council’s executive approve the £60m loan deal, with the 3 Liberal Democrats in opposition.  The executive will formally decide upon the loan at its meeting on Monday, September 14th. The Liberal Democrats said the almost £400m in loans are secured against the assets of the company. But, the council already owns all of LLAL’s assets by virtue of its 100% ownership of the company. It follows that for all practical and accounting purposes the £400m loans are unsecured.”

Click here to view full story…

Manchester Airports Group to get £260m that its 10 council owners borrow from government

In the absence so far of financial support from government, the ten Greater Manchester local authorities – which have a majority stake (64.5%) in the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) – are planning to borrow themselves in order to lend £250 million to it.  MAG owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports. The  councils have privately agreed to take out significant levels of low-interest borrowing from the government’s loan board. They may not start to see any repayments for a couple of years, but are hoping that by that point it will have returned to some semblance of normality.  Manchester council is expected to provide the biggest share of the loan package, at around £143m, in line with its larger stake in the company. It is understood the other nine boroughs are expected to put in £13m each. Senior local authority figures said the move was aimed at protecting significant long-term town hall investment in the airport, along with safeguarding tens of thousands of jobs that rely on it as a major engine of the local economy. Manchester airport still has a couple of arriving flights per day. It is possible that as many as 50,000 jobs may be directly, or indirectly, linked to the airports. If the sector has to shrink in future, many of those jobs may be lost.

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/05/manchester-airports-group-to-get-260m-that-its-9-council-owners-borrow-from-government/


Coronavirus: Areas reliant on aviation industry ‘to suffer worst’ – especially Crawley, too dependent on Gatwick

The Think Tank, the Centre of Cities, believes jobs in cities and towns which depend on the aviation industry will be most under threat by the coronavirus crisis. They estimate about 20% of jobs in these areas are vulnerable to the economic impacts of Covid-19. The economy of Crawley is likely to be hardest hit, as it is too dependent on Gatwick. More than 53,000 jobs are classed as vulnerable and very vulnerable in Crawley, of about 94,000 in the area. About 18% of jobs in Crawley are in aviation, compared with 1% on average across other big towns and cities. There are a lot of taxi drivers, whose work depends on the airport. People have warned for years about the dangers of areas “having all their eggs in one basket” on jobs, with too high a dependence on one industry. As much of the UK airline sector has almost closed down, with at least a 75% cut in flights at Heathrow, and over 90% cut at Gatwick, almost no flights using Luton, and so on. Luton is another town that is overly dependent on the airport, and now suffering. Also Derby and Aberdeen.  The areas worse affected by job losses due to Covid-19 will be asking for government help, once the lockdowns are lifted.

Click here to view full story…

.

.

 

Read more »

Teeside Airport bottomless pit for council cash – given another £10 million by TVCA

Teeside Airport is to get an extra £10m from the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), hoping to keep it afloat after Covid impacts. TVCA spent more than £40m buying the loss-making airport in 2019 following a previous election pledge by Mr Houchen to take it back from previous owner Peel. TVCA has also provided a further £19.4m to support operational expenditure, along with £15m towards capital expenditure, which has helped pay for a multi-million pound terminal redevelopment, new passenger lounges, bars etc. The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said in November 2020 that the airport made a £2.6m loss in the previous 12 months. Its advocates say it could be profitable in about 6 years. Teeside Airport Ltd is governed financially by TVCA via another limited company, Goosepool, both being subsidiaries of TVCA, a structure which has been criticised by some for its apparent lack of transparency. Stobart Aviation, which operates Teesside Airport, has a 25% shareholding in Goosepool. Opponents of the handouts to the airport say too much is being spent on the airport and “The time for vanity projects is at an end – it’s time he started to deliver on the real needs of our people.” 
.

 

Teesside Airport to get extra £10m from public purse

By Stuart Arnold (Northern Echo)

1st July 2021

TEESSIDE Airport is to get an extra £10m as part of a ‘refresh’ of what the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) spends its money on.

TVCA said the cash would “enable the airport to stay on track for its recovery plan” after commercial revenues were hit by the covid-19 pandemic.

The proposed move was defended by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen who said the airport had “achieved much more and much faster in its turnaround over the past year” than what could have been expected.

But it provided further ammunition for critics of Mr Houchen who believe the airport has become something of a cash cow. [aka cash sink …]

TVCA spent more than £40m buying the loss-making airport in 2019 following a previous election pledge by Mr Houchen to take it back from previous owner Peel.

It has also provided a further £19.4m to support operational expenditure, along with £15m towards capital expenditure, which has helped pay for a multi-million pound terminal redevelopment, new passenger lounges, bars and other improvements.

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham said: “This £10m extra is additional to the many tens of millions he [Mr Houchen] spent buying the airport and he’s still paying a private company to run it.

“There may be some good things in his new financial plan, but this is another £10m he could have invested in developing and running a public transport service, which will ensure that people can get a bus or train to work and back home again.

“He may have fulfilled a pledge to buy the airport, but I have no doubt the vast majority of the public who can’t afford to take a flight would rather he addressed the needs of everyone, not just those who can afford foreign holidays.

“The time for vanity projects is at an end – it’s time he started to deliver on the real needs of our people.”

Asked if he was comfortable with the extra cash for the airport, Liberal Democrat councillor Chris Jones, a member of the overview and scrutiny committee at TVCA, said: “Not really no, it’s something I would like to look into and what, if anything, is going without to provide that funding.

“It’s a big chunk of money from the public purse.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) contacted Stockton Council leader, Councillor Bob Cook, a member of the cabinet on the combined authority, which is expected to rubber stamp the updated investment plan later this week, but he said he did not want to comment.

The plan, which is worth £1.2bn over the next eight years and will finance business growth, transport, culture, and job creation, sees an extra £10m go towards the so-called Indigenous Growth Fund, which since 2019 has provided £50m for local councils to regenerate town centres and local communities.

An extra £5m will also be provided to boost business support for small and medium sized businesses across the region as part of a £300m plus war chest for business growth, which aims to deliver new jobs.

Referring to the criticism of his continued investment in Teesside Airport, Mr Houchen said: “Over the past year, Teesside Airport has achieved much more, and much faster, than we could have ever expected in its turnaround plan.

“It has secured a low-cost carrier and new domestic and international routes with some of the biggest airlines and holiday companies such as Loganair, Ryanair and TUI.

“This has all allowed us to bring our terminal redevelopment forward, giving us an airport fit for the future, supporting local businesses in the process.

“The aviation industry has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

“UK airports are set to lose £2.6bn in revenue in summer 2021 alone according to the Airport Operator’s Association, a body representing airports across the country.

“We’re working hard to make sure our airport doesn’t bear the brunt of a global pandemic.

“Let’s not forget, if our airport hadn’t been brought back into public ownership it would be closed by now, with 350 homes built on the airport terminal’s car park.”

Mr Houchen added: “By expanding the Indigenous Growth Fund local council leaders have the cash they need to push forward with ambitious regeneration plans that will create the skilled well-paid jobs we all want to see come to our region.

“It also means they have the resources they need to support communities and our amazing local businesses bounce back from the pandemic.

“Small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of our economy – they account for more than 99% of all businesses and support tens of thousands of jobs.

“Every week I meet fantastic business owners who are achieving amazing things right across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

“This fresh funding for them will mean we can support more firms to grow and create more good-quality, well paid jobs for local workers.”

Teesside International Airport Limited is governed financially by the combined authority via another limited company, Goosepool, both being subsidiaries of TVCA, a structure which has been criticised by some for its apparent lack of transparency.

Airport operator Stobart Aviation, which operates Teesside Airport, has a 25% shareholding in Goosepool, and its directors include Kate Willard from Stobart and TVCA chief executive Julie Gilhespie.

The LDRS revealed last November that the airport made a £2.6m loss in the previous 12 months.

Financial support has been provided to the airport by TVCA after it was forced to close its doors for a period in 2020 when the coronavirus outbreak grounded planes, while a £471,000 grant was also awarded by the Government to cover the cost of the airport’s business rates.

TVCA’s investment plan is reviewed annually and cabinet papers state Mr Houchen requested a further refresh following his re-election last month to “take cognisance of the impact of covid-19 and to consolidate funding received outside of the investment plan into the investment plan going forward”.

A £4.2m underspend from an education, employment and skills strategy is proposed to be re-allocated to support the region’s recovery from covid-19.

Meanwhile already-funded projects to extend the platform at Middlesbrough railway station and highways improvements to the A689 road at Wynyard have been removed from the investment plan with £4.68m also going towards covid recovery as a result.

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/19411672.teesside-airport-get-extra-10m-public-purse/

 


Covid-19: Bail-out for Teesside Airport ‘significantly smaller’ than at other airports

By Stuart Arnold (The Northern Echo) 

4th July 2021

TEES Valley Mayor Ben Houchen says a £10m bail-out for Teesside Airport is “significantly smaller” than the financial support provided to other regional airports.

Mr Houchen suggested the sum was the “hole created” by the coronavirus outbreak which grounded planes and hit commercial revenues at the airport.

The cash was requested by the Conservative mayor as part of a rejig of the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s (TVCA) investment plan.

TVCA spent more than £40m buying the loss-making airport in 2019 following a previous election pledge by Mr Houchen to take it back from previous owner Peel.

It has also provided a further £19.4m to support operational expenditure, along with £15m towards capital expenditure, which has helped pay for a revamp of the airport terminal along with new passenger lounges, bars and restaurants.

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has labelled the continued public investment in the airport as a “vanity project” of Mr Houchen’s and suggested many Tees Valley residents could not afford to fly abroad in order to take a foreign holiday.

Mr Houchen told a meeting of TVCA’s cabinet that there was a “lot of misinformation out there at the moment” in terms of the position of the airport, which is subject to a ten year ‘turnaround’ plan previously agreed by local council leaders as part of the deal to buy it.

He said: “Other airports have suffered significantly more than Teesside Airport has.

“When we bought Teesside Airport it was in a very sorry state as a result of Peel running it into the ground and making it very difficult for the local authorities to change the direction of it.

“It was in such a state that it was very difficult for the airport to do worse.

“I get the impression that we have actually ridden covid as an airport much more effectively than other airports because the distance we had to fall was significantly lower.

“We’d rather we were profitable, but the whole purpose of the ten year plan was it was going to take time to turn it around and we are in the [upward] curve.

“To do a comparison with the Liverpool City region combined authority, who have no financial interest whatsoever in Liverpool John Lennon Airport, they have just provided a £34m bail-out, so when you compare the bail-outs that other airports have had ours is significantly smaller because of the plan we have put in place.”

Recently Luton Airport was loaned £119m by Labour-run Luton Council as a support package to help it recover from the pandemic.

Mr Houchen said: “The £10m that we need for the airport is because there is a financial loss to the airport as a result of covid – there isn’t a single airport in the country that hasn’t been affected because of covid, most disproportionately more than ourselves.

“We need this to continue to meet our ten year plan – that’s the hole it’s created in the current plan.

“Subject to the impact of covid, we do continue to be ahead of that ten year plan with the likes of Loganair, Eastern [Airways], Ryanair, and TUI starting next year hopefully.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston, a member of Mr Houchen’s cabinet, claimed the £10m was a “relatively small amount”.

He said: “Around the country there have been far bigger bail-outs of all kinds of businesses.

“This is a fantastic asset, a business with a future, and in the great scheme of things this is a very small financial support for our strongest asset as a region.”

Teesside Airport is governed financially by the combined authority via a limited company, Goosepool, a subsidiary of TVCA.

The company Stobart Aviation, which operates Teesside Airport, has a 25% shareholding in Goosepool.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed last November that the airport – which has also received a £471,000 grant from the Government to cover the cost of its business rates – had made a £2.6m loss.

Speaking in August last year, Mr Houchen said the airport would continue to lose money for a “few years to come”, but predicted it could start to move into profit in year six or seven of the ten year plan.

He said: “People know this isn’t going to be the biggest airport in the North of England in the next 12 months, but they can see the direction of travel.

“They believe in the airport and they want to use it.”

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/19418203.covid-19-bail-out-teesside-airport-significantly-smaller-airports/

.

.


See earlier:

 

New Heathrow flight for Teesside Airport as Loganair to begin service in March

18.1.2021

Agreements have been reached with major airlines allowing passengers to travel on one ticket for onward international journeys.  A new route between Teesside International Airport and London Heathrow has been announced. Loganair will initially operate a service twice a day Monday to Friday with a single flight on Sundays from March 8.  Weekend services are expected to increase to one morning flight on Saturdays and two on Sundays from March 28. Loganair has also secured partnerships with some of the world’s biggest airlines, including British Airways, KLM, Air France, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines and Qatar Airways to provide international travel for people from Teesside, the North East and North Yorkshire.

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/new-heathrow-flight-details-teesside-19642286


Teesside Airport flight subsidy – an unknown amount of public money – divides mayoral contenders

New flights from Teeside airport (used to be called Durham Tees Valley airport) are being subsidised by taxpayers. Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) has contributed funds to support six routes from the airport. The amount has not been released due to “commercial sensitivity” but it was believed in 2018 that there would be subsidies of £1 million over 3 years.  Now Tees Valley mayoral candidate Jessie Joe Jacobs said the figure should be made public. She said:  “If subsidies are going to flights, are we going to see subsidies for buses for places like Port Clarence, where people cannot get to their local hospital without getting a taxi?”  With more awareness of climate breakdown, flying shame and increased rail usage, is helping people to take domestic flights sensible use of scarce public funds?  The airport was brought back into public hands at the start of last year for £40m as part of a £588.2m investment plan agreed by Labour council leaders and Tees Valley Mayor Houchen.  It is owned in a 75/25 split between the TVCA and Stobart Aviation.  Its business plan forecasts losses until 2025 after which it just might make a small profit.  But who knows, so far ahead. Voting in the mayoral elections will take place in May.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »