London City Airport has dropped its controversial plans to get rid of the 24 hour weekend break from the planes (Sat 12.30pm to Sun 12.30pm), and also to operate more early morning and late evening flights. It told its Consultative Committee on 6th March that it would not be proceeding with these two key proposals it had outlined in its draft Master Plan which it consulted in earlier this year. Campaigners have worked very hard for this, and are delighted. The airport may still want ultimately to seek to lift the current annual cap on flight numbers, the other main proposal outlined in the draft Master Plan, but did not expect to do so any time soon. London City intends to publish its final Master Plan before the end of the month but has no immediate plans to put in a planning application for more flights. London City’s expansion plans had generated record levels of opposition from local authorities and communities impacted by the airport. The Mayor of London also came out in opposition. London City also told the Consultative Committee that it is continuing the process of reviewing its controversial flight paths as part of the wider airspace changes across London and the SE over the coming years.
London City Airport told its Consultative Committee this week that it will drop the proposals that were in its draft Master Plan to end the 24 hour weekend break (no planes between 12.30pm Saturday – 12.30pm Sunday) and those to bring in more early morning and late evening flights. It looks as if it will postpone submitting a planning application to lift the cap on the number of flights allowed to use the airport each year.
Full details will emerge when it publishes its final Master Plan later this month.
Many local campaigners put so much time, effort and indeed money into campaigning against the expansion proposals. The Hacan East campaign will, of course, continue until all the expansion proposals are off the agenda.
Review of Concentrated Flight Paths
London City also told the Consultative Committee that it is continuing the process of reviewing its controversial flight paths as part of the wider airspace changes that will be coming in at all airports in London and the SE over the coming years.
As part of the review London City will be looking at the option of multiple flights paths so that all the flights do not go over the same communities all the time. We should know more about its thinking later this year, with full public consultation to follow next year.
The London City Airport MASTER PLAN CONSULTATION.
HACAN East’s postcard campaign got people to sign up to agree:
I SUPPORT the 24 hour London City Airport weekend flight ban.
I DO NOT want up to 40,00 more flights.
I DO NOT want more early morning or late evening flights.
I DO NOT want more climate damaging airport expansion.
Overall, I DO NOT support the plans in the draft master plan.
Sadiq Khan attacks London City Airport expansion plans – “unfettered growth is not an option”
October 27, 2019
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has warned London City Airport that “unfettered growth is not an option” as he criticised its plans for expansion. He said residents must have a break from plane noise, and the airport should take its air pollution and environmental responsibilities more seriously. The airport, in a densely populated area of east London, is increasingly used for holiday travel – not business – and it wants to increase the current cap of 111,000 flights/year to 137,000 by 2030 and to 151,000 by 2035. It hopes for 5 million passengers this year, but wants up to 6.5 million per year. The Mayor said the current plans “would not be in the interest of Londoners”. He said noise from planes was a “fundamental issue” as changes to flight paths three years ago meant some areas were being flown over too often. Also that breaks from flights – overnight, and for 24 hours from lunchtime on Saturday – “must not be eroded” and the airport should use new technology to give residents more relief, not just to maximise profits. He said the airport must consider CO2 emissions from flights in its carbon reduction plans, as its current target of “net zero emissions by 2050 “does not include flights – only airport terminals, vehicles, and other ground operations.
Tower Hamlets Mayor’s letter to London City Airport consultation, opposing changes that will negatively impact residents
October 26, 2019
The Mayor Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, has sent a letter to the London City Airport consultation, to express his concerns about the airport’s expansion plans. This is in addition to the more detailed response sent by the council itself. Mr Biggs says: …”the negative impacts of increasing flights at LCA would be unacceptable in terms of increasing noise levels and exacerbating climate change. The level of noise coming from aircraft needs to be tightly regulated and we believe lower thresholds for disturbance need to put in place. … To protect residents from noise disruption LCA must retain the current 24 hour closure of the airport at weekends between 12.30pm Saturday – 12.30pm Sunday to provide respite for our residents from the noise. To limit the level of disturbance caused to our residents the restrictions on early morning, late night and weekend flights should also be retained, …In Tower Hamlets we have declared a climate emergency and 40% of our residents live in areas with unacceptable levels of air quality. I would like to see further commitments by the airport on its plans to limit the amount of emissions from airport operations.” See the full letter.
Extinction Rebellion protests at London City Airport, to highlight the threat of its higher CO2
October 10, 2019
As part of the Extinction Rebellion protests in London, as well as in around 60 cities around the world, London City Airport was a target for action. The intention to disrupt the airport, the plans were announced well beforehand. Many XR people got into the airport, causing disruption in a non-violent manner. A smartly dressed man, who had bought a flight ticket for an Aer Lingus flight, got onto his plane and then refused to sit down. He “walked down the aisle, delivering a lecture on climate change”; this caused about two hours delay to the flight. Another, a Paralympic cycling medallist James Brown, who is visually impaired, also had a ticket for an Amsterdam flights, but when approaching the plane door, instead climbed onto the roof of the BA plane About 50 arrests were made at the airport, including those who had blocking the airport entrance or glued themselves to the terminal floor. There were delays to some flights. The airport was chosen for the action because of the glaring incompatibility of the government’s legally-binding commitment to be net carbon neutral by 2050, with expanding the aviation sector. Many of the flights from London City are leisure, (skiing, city breaks, beach holidays, etc) not for business.
Redbridge councillors agree to oppose ‘detrimental’ London City Airport expansion plans
September 21, 2019
Redbridge Councillors have agreed to oppose (43 : 10) London City Airport’s expansion plans and express serious concern about the “detrimental effect” of noise and air pollution on the health and wellbeing of Redbridge residents. Proposing the motion, Councillor Sheila Bain and Councillor John Howard spoke about the “profound noise and environmental impact” the proposals will have on residents, particularly those living directly under the flight paths. The motion also asked councillors to note a lack of evidence to support the claims that noise pollution, air quality and emissions will not be affected and the lack of adequate consultation by London City Airport with residents affected by the proposals, most of whom are unaware of the consultation taking place. Councillor Paul Donovan said: “City Airport needs to think again, listen to what people are saying and realise that whilst they may need to make more money, that the environment, health and welfare of those of us living below these flight paths is more important.”
Mayor of Newham’s challenge to London City Airport’s expansion as “fundamentally flawed, due to lack of clarity & information”
August 17, 2019
Campaigners have welcomed a demand by the mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, to halt London City Airport’s consultation on expansion with more daily flights – until it shows how it will tackling noise and CO2 emissions. City Airport’s Consultation Master Plan suggests almost doubling the number of daily flights, with more early morning and late evening. The airport insists its consultation will continue till 20th September. The mayor called the consultation “fundamentally flawed because of lack of clarity and information” in a letter to the airport’s chief executive. She calls on the airport to halt the public consultation immediately until it publishes the “omitted technical details”. “The significance of the mayor’s move cannot be overstated. Newham is the planning authority for the airport,” said Hacan East chairman John Stewart. Newham Council which declared a “climate emergency” earlier this year, and is seeking more evidence about the airport’s plans to tackle CO2 emissions and air pollution. A huge number of people are already badly affected by aircraft noise. Newham already has a large number of deaths, occurring prematurely, due to air pollution. London City airport growth – pollution from aircraft – would only add to that, as well as the noise assault.
HACAN East new major campaign against London City’s expansion plans, asking people to fill in postcard responses to the consultation.
July 30, 2019
HACAN East has launched a major campaign against London City’s expansion plans. It is encouraging people to fill in postcards opposing the expansion plans, and send them in to Freepost LCY MASTER PLAN CONSULTATION. People can also download and display posters. The postcards call on residents to back the existing 24 hour weekend ban on aircraft using London City. HACAN East wants the airport drop its proposals to end the 24 hour break as well as its plans to almost double flight numbers from today’s levels and to increase flights in the early morning and late evening. The postcards say: I SUPPORT the 24 hour London City Airport weekend flight ban. I DO NOT want up to 40,00 more flights. I DO NOT want more early morning or late evening flights. I DO NOT want more climate damaging airport expansion. Overall, I DO NOT support the plans in the draft master plan.
Gatwick airport intends to expand its number of flights and air passengers, both by increasing numbers on its current runway, and then also by moving its emergency runway slightly north by a few metres, so it can take more flights. The change of the emergency runway would require a Development Consent Order (DCO) as there would be more than 10 million annual passengers, and building work is needed. The increased use of the main runway could add another 15 million annual passengers, which should necessitate going through the DCO process, but as almost no building work is needed, Gatwick is aiming to by-pass this, and make the increases just through permitted development rights. The joint campaign coalition, “Gatwick’s Big Enough” (GBE) wrote to the councils in areas affected by Gatwick on this matter. They have received a reply, that the councils believe there is little they can do about the expansion on the main runway, as there are no mechanisms under current planning law to require the airport to submit a planning application. GBE is taking legal advice on the matter. The Appeal Court ruling on the Heathrow runway and ANPS, about the need to take carbon emissions into account, may be helpful here. . Tweet
Gatwick’s Big Enough (GBE) campaign update
Last year the GBE campaign, which GACC leads, wrote to all the county and district /town councils around the airport asking them to put in place arrangements to ensure all Gatwick’s growth was robustly scrutinised, consulted on and subject to planning consent.
Proposed growth deriving from potential use of Gatwick’s emergency runway will be subject to a planning process known as a Development Consent Order(DCO), but that the larger share of proposed growth, deriving from more intensive use of the current main runway, is not currently subject to any planning approval.
We believe this is wrong in principle and against government policy (and we have written separately to the government on it).
On 31st January we received this letter GBE Joint LA Ldr final letter jan 2020from some of the councils closest to the airport. Essentially their view is that, however desirable planning consent for main runway growth might be, councils have no mechanisms under current planning law to require it. (See below).
They argue that alternative agreements between the airport and councils provide a degree of control over the impacts of growth.
We are considering the councils’ response and continuing to engage with them. We strongly disagree that the alternative arrangements currently in place provide effective control: in our view they are feeble.
We will report further on this in due course.
More encouragingly other councils have taken a more robust view on Gatwick growth and we are engaging with them too.
And some news from government: Kelly Tolhurst MP has been appointed Aviation Minister (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State) at the DfT. She is the 6th Aviation minister in 3 years – they don’t last long !
Part of the letter from the local authorities to GBE:
“We have carefully investigated the various points made in your letter and write to provide our conclusions. In summary, the increase in passenger numbers from 46 million per annum to 61 million per annum in the absence of the proposed DCO authorising the use of the Northern Runway does not constitute a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the Planning Act 2008 nor is it development requiring planning permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.”
“Your suggested actions
We note that the annex to your letter includes a number of suggested actions that you would like the Authorities to undertake. We address each of these in turn.
1. “Request the Secretary of State to ensure that his policy […] is fully delivered” – The government’s policy needs to be viewed in the context of the Planning Act 2008 which sets out the legal framework for determining whether development is an NSIP. As set out above, the Authorities do not consider that GAL’s proposals to increase passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa satisfy the statutory requirements for an NSIP.
2. “Invite the SoS to direct that the project be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project under section 35 of the Planning Act 2008” – While the Authorities acknowledge the national significance of the airport, they do not currently consider that the increase in passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa (or the physical works proposed by GAL in connection with this increase) constitutes development which should be subject to a section 35 order. The increase in passenger numbers is largely to be achieved through operational changes which do not constitute “development” for the purposes of the Planning Act 2008. In any event, under section 35ZA of the Planning Act 2008, it is not for the Authorities to make such an application. It is for the Authorities, and for Crawley Borough Council in particular, to monitor that development is carried out in accordance the various planning legislation. If we consider that any development is not being carried out in accordance with the legislation, it is open to Crawley Borough Council to take enforcement action.
3. “Investigate whether the main runway growth will require “alterations that would bring it within the scope of the 2008 Act” – The Authorities expect GAL to provide as part of the DCO application process a robust justification for how it will increase its passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa – in other words, a clear and detailed justification of how the operational changes will have that effect and why the proposed development will not will be required. If this is not provided then the Authorities will raise this with GAL and the Secretary of State, as we did in responding to the Scoping Report. The Authorities will be interrogating GAL’s evidence on this. Furthermore, going forward Crawley Borough Council will also carefully scrutinise on a case-by-case basis any proposals to use permitted development rights to establish whether they fall within the scope of section 23.
4. “Review whether the main runway project is a material change of use requiring planning permission under sections 55 and 57 of the Planning Act 1990” – The Authorities do not consider the increase in passenger numbers from 46mppa to 61mppa to constitute a material change of use requiring planning permission under the 1990 Act.
5. “Terminate the current Section 106 agreement with Gatwick and negotiate a new agreement incorporating a cap” – The Authorities cannot compel GAL to enter into a new agreement incorporating a cap at the current time and there is clearly no commercial incentive on GAL to agree to such a cap. However, the Authorities will seek to negotiate a section 106 agreement as part of the DCO process and this may include reference to caps and other control measures on the number of passengers, flights or runways, linked to the capacity and likely significant environmental effects assessed as part of the EIA for the DCO.
Theresa Villiers – Secretary of State for Environment until a fortnight ago, when Boris had her moved – has spoken out against the Heathrow runway plan. She said the government should cancel it, as it risks worsening air quality and increasing noise pollution for thousands. Heathrow and its backers had failed to present a “convincing” enough case for the runway to go ahead. The judgement at the Court of Appeal will be handed down on 27th February, on the legal challenges against the government for its incorrect backing of the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS). The DfT had failed to properly consider the impact of Heathrow expansion on the the UK’s ambition to be carbon neutral by 2050, and its Paris Agreement obligations. One of the legal challenges is by Friends of the Earth, who have suggested this legal ruling could be the most important environmental law case in the UK for over a generation. Boris Johnson is aware that Heathrow cannot meet a range of conditions, on noise, air pollution, cost or carbon. Adam Afriyie, the Conservative MP for Windsor, said the runway scheme should be scrapped as it was “completely incompatible” with the UK’s legally-binding climate target. . Tweet
Johnson should cancel Heathrow expansion over air quality fears, former environment secretary, Theresa Villiers, says
Ex-Tory minister urges government to ‘think again’ over go-ahead for third runway
By Ashley Cowburn, Political Correspondent @ashcowburn (Independent)
26th February 2020
Boris Johnson’s government should cancel Heathrow airport expansion as it risks worsening air quality and increasing noise pollution for thousands, the former environment secretary has warned.
Her remarks come ahead of a critical ruling on the project tomorrow at the Court of Appeal, with anti-Heathrow activists arguing the government has failed to properly consider the impact on the climate.
The environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth have suggested it could be the most important environmental law case in this country for over a generation.
Asked whether Mr Johnson should cancel the expansion, Ms Villiers said: “I’ve made no secret of the fact I would like to see alternatives pursued.
“I think a new runway at Gatwick would have far less of an environmental impact. So yes, I hope the government will think again about Heathrow expansion. I don’t think it is the right way to address capacity needs in the aviation sector.”
Adam Afriyie, the Conservative MP for Windsor, also told The Independent the scheme should be scrapped and said it was “completely incompatible” with the legally-binding target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“With 100 per cent certainty, it would be the right move to make in our national, regional, economic interests and also the interests of Brexit where we want to be competitive with the rest of the world,” he said.
Expansion of the west London airport was given the green light by MPs in 2018 when Theresa May’s administration brought the issue to a vote. But ahead of the parliamentary recess, Mr Johnson, who vowed in 2015 to lie down in front of bulldozers to prevent building work on a third runway, sparked speculation the scheme could be scrapped.
When quizzed on whether he would “make good” on his promise to his constituents, the prime minister told MPs: “I see no bulldozers at present, nor any immediate prospect of them arriving”.
During the reshuffle, Mr Johnson reappointed Zac Goldsmith as an environment minister, who had previously described Heathrow expansion as the “most polluting, most disruptive, most expensive option”.
Conservative MP Greg Hands was also brought back into the government’s ranks as a minister, after resigning in 2018 over a promise to his constituents that he would vote against the airport’s expansion.
Ms Villiers, who was sacked by the prime minister as environment secretary two weeks’ ago, said she had been a “long opponent” of Heathrow.
She added: “Now I’m out of government, I suppose I would particularly highlight my continuing concerns about air quality and there are some really tough challenges in terms of meeting the binding targets we’re subject to on roadside emissions. We are making some real progress on that but I’m concerned that a third runway may make the local situation in relation to air quality considerably worse – not just because of the additional flights but of course the huge potential increase in car journeys.
“I can’t see that Heathrow airport have got a convincing plan that will generate the very major shift onto public transport that they will need to do if they are to have any chance of meeting commitments on air quality.
Heathrow expansion will wreck vows to ‘level up’ UK, economists warn
“It [Heathrow expansion] will subject hundreds of thousands more people to excessive levels of noise. Heathrow is the largest noise emitter in Europe – a third runway will make it considerably worse.”
Asked about Mr Johnson’s recent remarks in the Commons, she said: “The prime minister is well aware of the significant potential environmental impact. He’s set the challenge to the promoters of the scheme to meet those environmental pre-conditions and no doubt the Court of Appeal will be considering those in their judgement tomorrow.”
On Wednesday, the chief executive of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, warned that unless a third runway is built then more passengers and exporters will be forced to use Charles de Gaulle airport in Pairs.
“There’s no global Britain without Heathrow expansion,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. “If we don’t expand our only hub airport, then we’re going to be flying through Paris to get to global markets.
“Our exports will have to go through Paris to get all around the world. We’ll be signing trade deals with India and China and telling them that they can fly through Charles de Gaulle to get to the UK.”
HEATHROW COURT RULING on Thursday 27th February 2020
With the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the legal challenge to the previous Government’s plans for Heathrow expansion, campaigners say that whatever the judge’s verdict, the prospects for the project are fast diminishing.
Parties involved in the action are:
The Mayor of London, London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Hammersmith & Fulham, Richmond, Wandsworth, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, Greenpeace UK
Plan B Earth – an environmental charity
Friends of the Earth
Heathrow Hub Ltd.
Ahead of the ruling, Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:
“Whatever the Court of Appeal’s view about the last government’s procedures in determining its pro-expansion position, prospects for the project are fast diminishing.
“With government advisers now saying it will mean restrictions on aviation in the regions and that the project’s noise assessments were problematic, the fundamentals have changed. Just as earlier promises have been revealed as misleading, with construction to take 30 years rather than 5, the £14bn budget more than doubling and the CAA having to reprimand the airport for trying to quadruple the pre-application costs presented to MPs.
“So, we’re reaching the point where support for Heathrow expansion needs to be revisited, if not withdrawn altogether.”
The Court of Appeal will deliver its judgment on Thursday 27th February at 10am (1 & 2).
Parties involved in the action, politicians from all parties and campaigners will gather outside the High Court (Strand, London) from 9am on Thursday for an event supporting those taking action and calling for the Government to now drop Heathrow expansion (3). Politicians include Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green Party.
In recognition of the high-profile nature of the case, the judgment will be live-streamed (4).
Interviews from the No 3rd Runway Coalition available both before and after the judgment, via contact details below.
The CAA have published the results of a post-implementation review (PIR), which analysed the impact of RNAV between its introduction in 2015 and 2017. RNAV means concentration of planes down a narrow flight path, intensifying noise for those over-flown. The CAA concluded that the airspace change “achieved the objectives set out in the original proposal”.The introduction of RNAV has meant the majority of departures have moved closer to Harpenden, south Harpenden and the less densely-populated areas of Redbourn, while still not to flying directly over those areas. The number of flights increased by 30% between 2015 and 2017, but the PIR says the flight paths was not an “enabler” for an increase in airport capacity, or for an increase in flights during the early morning and late evenings. The CAA says the increase in noise complaints 2015 – 2017 was due to there being more planes – not the narrowing of the flight paths. Local campaigners are angry and disagree with the CAA, saying much of the noise nuisance is due to RNAV, not just more flights. Andrew Lambourne (LADACAN) commented: “The whole thing feels like a rubber-stamping exercise, and was not worth waiting three years for.”
See a detailed explanation of what has been going on – below. . Tweet
Local campaign group LADACAN wrote:
The CAA have published the results of a post-implementation review (PIR), which analysed the impact of the first RNAV concentrated flight route at Luton Airport. The system was introduced in 2015 but technical issues with Boeing aircraft not being able to engage with its first technically challenging waypoint meant the assessment did not start until 2017. By that time there had been a substantial rise in complaints – but also, due to financially incentivised growth at Luton, a substantial rise in aircraft movements as well.
Concentrated tracks may or may not deliver benefit to people on the ground. If they enable aircraft consistently to avoid communities and fly instead over non-noise sensitive areas, they can be a good. But if they avoid (naturally noisier) towns in order to fly over (naturally quieter) rural villages, they can be a curse for the fewer to benefit the many – but the many may mainly benefit at night when the town is also quieter.
The potential worst of all worlds can occur if the concentrated track threads between tightly spaced communities – say half a mile apart. At altitudes of around 5-6,000ft a concentrated swathe may well sideways-radiate noise into the communities (see CAA’s CAP 1498) even if they are not directly overflown.
In the case of the Luton implementation of RNAV, the airport operators led communities to expect noise reduction flowing from a significant reduction in overflying: 30,000 overflown would, they said, reduce to 3,000. For those not versed in all the technicalities, this seemed a reasonable deal. Furthermore, said the airport, the centre line would move a little south of its existing position south of Harpenden, so that planes turning the corner would be more likely to be able to follow it. Again, sounds like a good deal.
The paradox was that most of the planes missed the original centre line by a significant distance (in some cases a literal mile) and so when the RNAV waypoint and the reduction in speed enticed them back onto the new centre line, a whole load of aircraft moved north, and because audible and visible in south Harpenden whereas previously they had visited the sky over north Hemel Hempstead. So, not such a good experience as folk had been led to believe.
By way of second whammy, it turned out that NATS air traffic controllers were and still are still “vectoring” a proportion of the flights directly over Harpenden and St Albans, hence the claim of massive reductions of people overflown rings hollow – and of course there is no real definition of how many flights a day have to come directly over your house for you to count (to an Airport or the CAA) as being overflown.
And by way of third whammy, those planes that stay in the swathe then thread through that narrow 1km gap between Harpenden and St Albans. People on the fringes of both communities now probably perceive all of them since the swathe is not by any means pencil-thin but wobbles around due to the wind (we are told) and covers more than the 2km maximum which was promised. Previously, the greater spread may well have resulted in people only being aware of say half the passing flights, some of which would have been directly overhead and say 3dB louder, others to the side and slightly quieter, others in the distance and not a problem. This is the whole “concentration” issue: the experience of each aircraft transit is broadly the same – great if you are nowhere near them, maddening if you are.
Finally, Sandridge is now directly overflown by the centre line. The Airport had tried to create a baseline noise measure before RNAV but its monitoring was somehow faulty and it ended up with a noise sample histogram where the quieter half of the readings were entirely missed off. Ergo, the baseline was an average of the noisier flights only, hence high. And hence when the Airport measured again in 2017 and this time did not miss off the quieter flights, magically the noise averages came down and the CAA fell for this and did not question the dodgy histogram, and declared that noise in Sandridge had not increased. In doing so it ignored completely the question of concentration – which does not say much for the CAA PIR team’s understanding of aircraft noise impact.
So overall the CAA rubber-stamped the implementation, while drawing attention to the continued vectoring and the failure to constrain to the promised 2km swathe. Campaign groups who spent 3 years waiting for this review feel that the CAA has dodged the harder questions raised above completely, and has fallen for a crass error in a noise monitoring exercise which even a GCSE student could have spotted.
St Albans campaigners slam report on Luton Airport flight path changes
10 February 2020
By Anne Suslak (The Herts Advertiser)
A survey into Luton Airport’s flight paths has found they met their objectives in mitigating the impact on St Albans district – despite opposition from noise campaign groups.
The RNAV GPS navigation system was introduced in 2015 and narrowed flight paths, which anti-noise campaigners said simply concentrated noise pollution from flights over a smaller area.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), have published the results of a post-implementation review (PIR), which analysed the impact of RNAV between its introduction and 2017.
The report concluded that the airspace change achieved the objectives set out in the original proposal.
A CAA spokesperson said: “The purpose of a Post Implementation Review is for the CAA, as the independent regulator, to assess whether the change has delivered the anticipated impacts and benefits set out in the original airspace change proposal and decision, and if not, to ascertain why and determine the most appropriate course of action.
“It is not a review of the decision itself, and neither is it a re-run of the original decision process.”
The report found that the introduction of RNAV reduced planes directly flying over Redbourn, Hemel Hempstead and the southern areas of St Albans. As a consequence, however, the CAA found that the majority of departures had moved closer to Harpenden, south Harpenden and the less densely-populated areas of Redbourn, while still managing not to fly directly over those areas.
Aircraft movements increased by 30% between 2015 and 2017, but the report claimed changing the flight paths was not an “enabler” for an increase in airport capacity, or for an increase in flights during the early morning and late evenings.
Therefore the report claimed the increase in noise complaints during that period was due to an increase in air traffic – implemented by the airport and its parent company London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL) – not the narrowing of the flight paths.
St Albans MP Daisy Cooper has slammed the CAA report as “passing the buck” by laying the blame of aircraft noise elsewhere.
She said: “This report is a blatant attempt to pass the buck as residents are being left to suffer as different authorities play the blame game.
“The CAA is taking the stance that they are responsible for the routes, not how many aircraft use the routes, which is a planning matter for Luton Borough Council and government policy.
“I have secured a meeting with the aviation minister and we will be raising our concerns in the strongest possible terms.”
Anti-noise campaigners have also criticised the report for blaming the rise in complaints on an increase in flights, without acknowledging their belief that concentrating the flight paths exacerbated the problem.
John Hale, of St Albans Quieter Skies, said: “We are very disappointed by the CAA report. By blaming the increase in complaints just on the increase in flights, it ignores the fact that concentration makes people aware of many more aircraft, even though less may be going directly overhead. They’ve chosen the easy option to avoid looking into the real issue of whether concentration is a good thing or not.
“The CAA has also sidestepped the question about whether flights from London Luton Airport have more adversely impacted our communities since the introduction of RNAV.
“The report focuses only on the technicalities, and does not test all the claims by the airport about the noise reductions which would result from its introduction.
“Given the overall bad experience of the last four years, proposed additional expansion of the airport will just further damage our environment.”
The CAA acknowledged that aircraft are still being dispersed over St Albans and south Harpenden, and reported a large reduction in noise over Sandridge – the accuracy of which has been disputed by campaigners.
Andrew Lambourne, of campaign group LADACAN (Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), said: “The assessment conveniently ignores the CAA’s own guidance for what counts as an overflight: when an aircraft passes close by it is about as noisy as when it is directly overhead, making concentrated tracks close to communities a menace.
“The CAA has dodged all the difficult issues we raised with them in 2017.
“The whole thing feels like a rubber-stamping exercise, and was not worth waiting three years for,” he added.
North Somerset Council’s Planning & Regulatory Committee has gone against the advice of their own planning officers and have refused permission for Bristol Airport to expand. It has been a “David versus Goliath” battle of local campaigners against the airport, (owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan). The airport wanted to expand from 10 million to 12 million passengers per year, with huge carpark and other building. The opposition to the plans was huge, on ground of carbon emissions, as well as noise and general local damage. There were almost 9,000 objections sent in by members of the public, against 2,400 in favour. Councillors voted 18-7 against the plans, with one abstention. Councillors were persuaded that paltry economic benefits to the airport and airlines were far outweighed by the environmental harm. There would be large land take for the parking, and the extra carbon emissions would make targets of carbon neutrality for the area unachievable. Because the councillors went against the officers’ recommendations, the decision will return to the same committee to be ratified. If the decision is ratified, the applicant has six months to lodge an appeal, which would be heard at a public inquiry. . Tweet
BRISTOL AIRPORT EXPANSION REJECTED BY NORTH SOMERSET COUNCILLORS
By STEPHEN SUMNER (Bristol 247.com)
Tuesday Feb 11, 2020
North Somerset councillors went against the advice of their own planning officers as they refused permission for Bristol Airport to expand.
It was a David versus Goliath battle that saw local campaigners come up against the might of the airport, which is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
The airport’s expansion would have boosted passenger numbers from ten million to 12 million a year, with bosses wanting to build a new car park and transport hub.
The application had almost 9,000 objections from members of the public and 2,400 messages of support; with councillors on Monday evening voting 18-7, with one abstention, to reject it.
The battle is not yet over, however, with airport bosses likely to consider whether to appeal the decision or submit new plans.
A Bristol Airport spokesperson said that they were “disappointed” by the decision of North Somerset Council’s Planning & Regulatory Committee.
They said: “This decision risks putting the brakes on the region’s economy by turning away airlines who want to serve the South West market, shutting the door to international trade and tourism at a time when the UK needs to show it is open for business.
“By preventing Bristol Airport from meeting demand for air travel from within the region it serves, the Council will simply exacerbate the situation which already sees millions of passengers a year form our region drive to London airports in order to fly, creating carbon emissions and congestion in the process.”
Recommending approval, North Somerset officers said the business case for more parking spaces clearly outweighed the harm to the unspoilt land.
But Wrington councillor Steve Hogg said there was a “total imbalance” between the economic benefits that go to the airport, and the burden on residents in terms of health and social costs.
He told the planning meeting: “This will fundamentally damage the relationship between this council and residents for years to come.
“I want to propose in the strongest possible terms we vote against the officers’ recommendation and refuse permission.”
Challenging the officers’ suggestion that local authorities have little control over emissions from airports, Hogg added:: “We have direct control over the future emissions – we do that by turning down this application.”
Councillor John Ley-Morgan seconded the proposal, saying: “How can we achieve our ambition for carbon neutrality by 2030 if we approve this decision?”
Amazing result. There is now a cooling period for a month plus to let the district councillors consider their vote again! The vote was 18 refusal and and 7 for expansion which I think will stand as so many.
The Airport speakers had a direct business relationship with the airport such as York Aviation, sustainable aviation and noise. No one spoke from Business West and the CBI which I found interesting.
Alex Morss said on Twitter:
The material reasons for refusal: Some environmental issues were not resolved. Economic benefits did not outweigh env. harm. Adverse effects on health & well being due to noise and emissions. Adverse impacts on climate change and carbon reduction policies…
…Plus: Adverse impacts on biodiversity. Overall objections based on contrary policies and exceptional circumstances. Unacceptable traffic impacts. The need to balance economic advantages with impacts on the community living nearby.
It sounds like this refused bid might now go to appeal or a judicial review. A summing up statement by Cllr Hogg follows…
Cllr Hogg who had proposed the motion to refuse Bristol Airport expansion summed up: ‘the material burden on our shoulders has been almost overwhelming,’ adding: “The robustness of economic benefits are far outweighed by the harm to human health, community and environment…”We must weigh the benefits of this application, which flow towards airport share holders, pension funds, foreign economies and those seeking a cheap holiday in the Med, against the unbearable burdens that will fall on the local and wider communities and the environment.”
This is incredible news. Well done to everyone involved in the campaign – you have done an amazing job. Hopefully this will set a precedent for other airport expansion bids. You should all be very proud of yourselves – thank you!
Plan to expand Bristol airport rejected after climate protests
Councillors vote against plan endorsed by North Somerset council officers in decision hailed as ‘historic’
A scheme to expand Bristol airport has been rejected following protests that it would exacerbate the climate emergency, damage the health of local people, and harm flora and fauna.
Officers had recommended that North Somerset council approve the expansion and warned that the authority could face a costly public inquiry if it turned it down.
But following a four-and-a-half -hour meeting in Weston-super-Mare, councillors rejected the expansion plans by 18 votes to seven. Activists called the decision historic and said it would inspire others to reject airport expansion plans.
Don Davies, the leader of the council, said: “What the committee has considered is that the detrimental effect of the expansion of the airport on this area and the wider impact on the environment outweighs the narrower benefits to airport expansion.
“I know some people will be upset by this decision and I am sure that we can reconsider it in future when the airline industry has decarbonised and the public transport links to the airport are far stronger.”
The airport, about seven miles south of Bristol, was last given permission to expand in 2011 from 7 million to 10 million passengers a year. It expects to reach its present permitted capacity by 2021 and wants to increase the number of passengers it can handle to 12 million.
Plans included extending the passenger terminus and plane taxiways. The proposal also featured more than 3,000 extra car parking spaces – much of it in the greenbelt – and major changes to roads around the airport.
But more than 8,000 people objected to the expansion, and before the meeting Extinction Rebellion organised a three-day protest with dozens of activists symbolically burying their heads in the sand at a nearby beach.
Adrian Gibbs, an environmental consultant, told the special meeting of the council’s planning and regulatory committee that the airport would need to plant millions of trees every year to offset the CO2 that would be created by the scheme. He added: “Our house is on fire. To expand an airport is to throw fuel on it.”
Security was tight at the meeting, with placards, glue, loud-hailers and non-religious face coverings all banned. Almost 5,000 people watched the debate live online, with an average watch time of about 27 minutes.
Sarah Warren, the cabinet member for the climate emergency in neighbouring Bath and North East Somerset council, told the meeting the plan was incompatible with the global environmental crisis.
It is not the end of the process. Because the councillors went against the officers’ recommendations, the decision will return to the same committee to be ratified. If the decision is ratified, the applicant has six months to lodge an appeal, which would be heard at a public inquiry.
Leeds Bradford is planning to expand, spending £150 million on a new terminal that would allow more annual flights and passengers. Local residents object to the plans as an ‘abdication of responsibility’ and claimed an eco-friendly terminal would be pointless if the numbers of flights increased, as this would massively increase CO2 emissions. The Council meeting had been suspended for 20 minutes due to protests from climate campaigners, locking themselves to railings and holding a die-in. As well as the terminal, the airport wants to reduce the night period with no flights by 90 minutes, so instead of the current 8 hours of quiet at night, there would just be 6 and a half hours. The airport wants to start work in winter 2020, with an opening in 2023. “If we have to go to carbon offsetting, that is what we will do.” The airport is terrified of not growing. The extra noise will blight the lives of thousands of residents under the flight paths. The decision by the Leeds Council City Plans Panel was to take no view on the pre-application and ask the Airport for further information.
The meeting, which had been suspended for 20 minutes due to protests from climate campaigners, heard from both objectors and representatives of LBA on revised plans for a new terminal on the site, as well as an increase in daytime flying hours.
Representatives of LBA claimed the proposed new terminal, which they hope to begin work on by the end of the year, would be more eco-friendly than the current building, and would allow the airport to increase capacity in the coming years.
But local residents objecting to the plans called the plans an ‘abdication of responsibility’ and claimed an eco-friendly terminal would be pointless if the numbers of flights increased, as this would massively increase CO2 emissions.
Previous plans to revamp the airport’s capacity, approved by Leeds City Council in early 2019, had included blueprints to extend its existing terminal.
But an announcement was made earlier this month that updated plans would instead see the terminal move but remain within the airport’s boundary.
According to “pre-application” plans, the new terminal would include three main floors and improved vehicle access. It was also confirmed that the new site would be closer to a proposed parkway rail station, announced by Leeds City Council last year.
An airport spokesman told the meeting the airport could indirectly create up to 6,000 jobs and would be environmentally sound.
He added: “We are in the early stages of putting together a planning application. We are engaging with various parties. We are looking to make a planning submission in the spring.
“We want to be able to commence work in winter 2020, with an opening in 2023.
“If we have to go to carbon offsetting, that is what we will do. If the development doesn’t take place we do stand still.”
Part of the plans also included increasing daytime flight times from 7am-11pm to 6am-11.30pm.
He added: “The need to change flight times is predicated on where the UK sits.
“Because of GMT we fall behind on flight times by one hour. Other UK airports has hours from 6am – the need is to tie in with other European airports, many of them start at 7am.”
It was added that the long-term intention for the existing terminal was to demolish it, and possibly replace it with offices and hotel facilities related to the airport.
The airport hopes to start work on construction of the site by the end of this year, and for the new terminal to be up and running by 2023.
Objecting to the application, Headingley resident Nicky Borden said: “Everything I’ve heard here from those representing the case for expansion represents an abdication of responsibility for the world.
“It’s not what the residents of Leeds want. For thousands of people in certain parts of Leeds it will lead to lives being blighted.
“It benefits the better-off people of this city and the world as a whole – three percent of the world flies and the rest don’t.
“Noise is a huge issue for thousands of people living in Leeds – if we are going to increase flying by as much as proposed, it will blight lives. A lot of children will go to bed at seven or eight o’ clock at night – these planes are unbelievably loud even where i live in Headingley.”
Campaigner Robert Pupil added: “[An eco-friendly airport] will be pointless with a planned increase from 4m to 7m – we will see co2 emissions rise dramatically – waiting until 2050 to get co2 emissions right is not the answer.
“Plane emissions must be part of our target.
“Many people might have to think about what they are doing and people might have to take advantage of holidays in the UK and Europe which might not mean flying.”
The report, which went before councillors claimed LBA wanted to increase daytime flying hours to ‘accommodate new airline operators’ and bring the airport in line with other facilities across the UK.
It listed 10 other airports across the UK, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, which all operated flights between 6am-11.30pm.
Summing up at the end of the meeting, Coun Dan Cohen (Con) said: “I am very uncomfortable with the small amount of detail to give any particular view on the item. We haven’t been given a great deal of information on anything.”
Coun Peter Carlill (Lab) added: “The one thing we have found hard is to try and have an understanding as members and residents on what difference they are going to see on their lives. I can’t see what this is going to look like in comparison to what is there at this point.”
The panel agreed to undertake a workshop to understand more about any upcoming application.
ACCORDING TO PRE-APPLICATION PLANS
The lower ground floor would “provide surface access to the forecourt and access to the main terminal by lifts and escalators”, while the ground floor ‘will provide the check in hall and the arrivals halls along with baggage reclaim, customs and baggage make up’.
A first floor mezzanine would house ‘immigration and associated facilities linked to the walkway’, while the second floor would include a central search and departure lounge, retail, food and drink, duty free and premium lounges.
A western walkway would sit alongside the new terminal building and provide contact stands for around 12 aircraft.
It is also hoped the new terminal building would be targeted as an ‘excellent’ rating under environmental sustainability standards, and be designed to maximise energy efficiency and ‘incorporate energy generation on site’.
The report adds the proposal will also involve a new and modified vehicular, pedestrian and cycle access from Whitehouse Lane. The site of the existing car park would be used provide new internal service roads, bus parking and pick up and drop off points.
The existing terminal building’s offices, air traffic control and fire station will continue to be in use with the existing Jet2 offices also remaining in place.
Two of the climate change campaigners with bike locks around their neck in protest against the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport
Most of the protesters outside Leeds Civic Hall held up signs in a bid to draw attention to their campaign – but a few individuals locked themselves to a metal fence by clipping bright green bike locks tightly around their necks.
The keys have been handed over to decision-makers at Leeds City Council, with the protesters hoping to put their views forward and convince them to scrap the planned £150 million expansion.
Several other campaigners also forced a council meeting to be abandoned by staging a “die-in” protest at Leeds Civic Hall, while others disrupted proceedings by reading a passionate plea to cancel the plans.
Protest against Leeds Bradford Airport expansion
Extinction Rebellion member Katie Ritchie-Moulin is one of the campaigners to have chained themselves to the fence.
She told LeedsLive: “We’ve given the keys to councillors and we’re waiting for them to come and unlock us.
“It was planned at a meeting. We had a discussion about things we could do to try and get the council to realise how serious this issue is. It’s a really serious problem.”
The 20-year-old University of Leeds student said chaining themselves to the railings could be seen as drastic, but added that going ahead with the expansion plans would be “pretty drastic too”.
“There’s been the Climate Jury in Leeds, and one of their key points is that the Leeds Bradford Airport expansion is totally incompatible with emissions targets.
“We’re just trying to alert them to how important this issue is to the people of Leeds.”
Katie, who studies medical science, joined Extinction Rebellion last September and today chained herself to the railings today with three other members.
“We’re just sitting and waiting,” she said. “The meeting has been adjourned so the councillors are leaving – hopefully, they will come out soon. It’s very cold.
“We’re going to stay here and hopefully they will come and speak to us. They serve the people of Leeds so to leave four of them out in the cold feels a bit harsh.”
Liz Pell, 30, said: “As one person get removed from the meeting, another stood up and carried on the reading. There were about 10 people taking part by the end.
“Some protesters then did a ‘die-in’ protest in front of where all the seats are.
The meeting has been adjourned and it is not yet clear whether it will continue today.
Leeds Bradford Airport has recently announced ambitious plans to build a brand new £150 million terminal at its Yeadon base to replace the existing 1960s building.
The two key decisions – which are aimed at boosting passenger numbers to seven million a year by 2030 – will be presented to councillors at a Plans Panel meeting this afternoon (Thursday), who will scrutinise the plans.
Climate change campaigners say the controversial expansion of the airport is at odds with the council’s ambitious proposals to become carbon neutral by 2030.
A spokesperson for Leeds Bradford Airport said plane technology is constantly improving and becoming more greener. They have also pointed to the fact that the new terminal would be one of the most environmentally friendly airport buildings in the entire world if given approval.
It is highly significant that the government’s independent body looking into the problem of aircraft noise has said the previous study, SoNA, was inadequate. ICCAN declared the DfT’s evidential basis for assessing the noise impact of Heathrow expansion to have been “inappropriate” and did not properly reflect the numbers affected by plane noise, or the impacts. The Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition said: “And were expansion to proceed at Heathrow … a scandal would be in the making. When the DfT claimed that merely 97,300 more residents would be exposed to adverse aircraft noise, the Transport Select Committee concluded that the DfT’s methodology was “not of the real world”. Indeed, under a freedom of information request, we then learned that an internal DfT study had implied 2.2 million people would be affected – if the department had only applied the more realistic noise thresholds used elsewhere.”…”We remain startled that a government department, purportedly responsible for protecting communities from aviation noise, should plough on in this reckless – and perhaps deceitful – manner.” . Tweet
Letter in the Independent
– from Chair, No 3rd Runway Coalition
30th January 2020
In highlighting the government’s exceptionally high threshold for measuring aircraft noise, the CPRE and The Independent have exposed a significant failing in the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) approach to aviation policy. And were expansion to proceed at Heathrow – which lies at the heart of the most densely populated residential region in the UK – a scandal would be in the making.
When the DfT claimed that merely 97,300 more residents would be exposed to adverse aircraft noise, the Transport Select Committee concluded that the DfT’s methodology was “not of the real world”. Indeed, under a freedom of information request, we then learned that an internal DfT study had implied 2.2 million people would be affected – if the department had only applied the more realistic noise thresholds used elsewhere. When I broached this study with the aviation minister, she professed to know nothing of it.
Just before Christmas, the government’s own new aviation noise body, the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, declared the DfT’s evidential basis for assessing the noise impact of Heathrow expansion to have been “inappropriate”.
We are grateful to the CPRE and The Independent for shining a light on this matter. But we do remain startled that a government department, purportedly responsible for protecting communities from aviation noise, should plough on in this reckless – and perhaps deceitful – manner.
Paul McGuinness Chair, No 3rd Runway Coalition
Government’s independent noise advisors confirm that the impact of aircraft noise has been underestimated
No 3rd Runway Coalition press release
28th January 2020
The first study by the Government’s new body on assessing adverse impacts of aircraft noise (1), has underestimated the monetised impacts to exposure to aircraft noise by as much as £9BN, according to campaigners.
In the first report “ICCAN Review of the Survey of Noise Attitudes 2014” (1), the Government’s newly created Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN), found that the evidence base for Government’s and Heathrow Airport’s own assessment of the impact of noise pollution resulting from Heathrow expansion, to be fundamentally flawed due to “inappropriate” survey sampling.
The report states that the “Survey of Noise Attitudes 2014” (SoNA 2014) (2), had only “considered populations that had already experienced high levels of aviation noise”, rather than communities that had recently been impacted by aircraft noise for the first time, or communities that had been exposed to a greater intensification of noise.
Both the Department for Transport and Heathrow Airport Limited have relied on SoNA 2014 to form the basis of its evidence on the noise impacts of expansion (4).
ICCAN’s report also states that SoNA 2014 failed to consider changes in the noise environment resulting from either new flight paths, or the intensification of existing flight paths: the very scenarios that will arise as a result of the expansion of Heathrow.
One of the material consequences of this inappropriate survey sampling was the setting the Lowest Observable Adverse Effect Level (LOAEL) by the Department for Transport (DfT) at too high a value – a 51 decibels (LAeq), average noise throughout the hours of an airport’s operation – despite clear evidence having long existed from sites around Heathrow, Gatwick and other UK airports, that significant adverse impacts of aircraft noise on communities occurred at considerably lower noise levels.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines for the onset of significant noise annoyance is 45 decibels average throughout the day (5).
A clear conclusion from ICAAN’s report is that the DfT’s current LOAEL (of just 51 decibels) is unreliable for the purpose of assessing the impact upon those who will either be overflown for the first time or would endure intensification of flight path activity.
With Heathrow recently announcing their intention to submit their application for a Development Consent Order to expand the airport in late 2020, the timing of this intervention by ICAAN is significant.
Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:
“ICAAN’s findings show that the evidence base underpinning Heathrow’s case for expansion is critically flawed. To proceed on the basis of these erroneous noise thresholds would be to willfully underplay the number of people who be adversely affected, to fail to properly assess the impacts on peoples’ wellbeing and to ignore the inevitable health and economic cost consequences to the public purse.
“Now that the evidence base of Heathrow’s pre-application consultation – which has statutory effect – has been declared flawed, it is quite possible that a whole new front has been opened for ongoing legal challenge to Heathrow expansion.”
The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) was established in January 2019. ICCAN is an advisory non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Transport. Its head commissioner is Robert Light. https://iccan.gov.uk
Heathrow (supported by the DfT) is proceeding on the basis of SoNA 2014. Its pre-application consultation and its preliminary environmental assessment (PIER) not only used the DfT’s current LOAEL (of just 51 decibels) as its basis for assessing the noise impacts of its expansion: it is a fundamental part of the airport’s case as it seeks to obtain a development consent order (DCO) for the third runway.
The latest WHO guidelines (Noise Bulletin November 2018, p.1) finds 9.4% of the population will become “highly annoyed” at 45 decibels of noise, whereas SoNA 2014 says 7% are highly annoyed at 51 decibels.
Noise body ICCAN recognises problems with the SoNA noise survey, and recommends new, better, regular noise surveys
January 3, 2020
One of the key surveys on attitudes to aircraft noise was the SoNA study, Survey of Noise Attitudes 2014, carried out by the CAA. The SoNA study found people were more annoyed by noise, and more sensitive to it, than another study in 1985. Some degree of annoyance and adverse effects were found down to 51dB LAeq 16hr. The conventional level of averaged noise considered a problem is 57 dB LAeq. But critics have said the study was flawed, as it only considered populations that had already experienced high levels of aviation noise, rather than communities that had been impacted for the first time, or had newly been exposed to a greater intensification of noise. With the expansion of aviation in the UK, there are many areas and hundreds of thousands of people, who are being newly exposed to plane noise. The noise body ICCAN has realised there is a problem with SoNA. It recommends that a new, regular attitudinal survey is begun before the end of 2021, and repeated frequently. And that “the new surveys should be commissioned, run and analysed independent of Government, regulators and industry. We consider it appropriate for ICCAN to take on this role, working closely with relevant stakeholders.”
CPRE report shows UK monitoring of aircraft noise ‘seriously underestimates’ disturbance to people’s quality of life and health
January 27, 2020
CPRE is calling on the Government to improve the way it monitors aircraft noise after new research shows current maps seriously underestimate the problem. This comes at a time when there are proposals for airport expansion across the country, and as the Government prepares a new aviation strategy. The research, commissioned by CPRE, was carried out by Aviation Consultants, To70. It looked at the impact of noise pollution at lower levels than those usually mapped in the UK now. These lower levels, already used for monitoring noise pollution in other European countries, are believed to be a better indicator of the true impact of noise pollution below and near flight paths. The report uses Gatwick airport as an example, but the findings would apply at any airport. Currently the standard measure above which plane noise is regarded to “annoy” people if 55dB (a noise average),but this is far too high. A noise contour is produced for this noise level. But the WHO recommends reducing aircraft noise levels to 45 decibels in the day. The noise contour for 45dB is hugely larger than that for 57dB. CPRE says the government should commission independent research into the impact of aviation noise on health. Also that the ICCAN should be given statutory powers on noise.
Leeds Bradford Airport wants rules that impose a range of night-time flying restrictions to be relaxed, so it can operate more flights. The current restrictions, since 1993, are that the airport can only operate 4,000 flights a year during the night-time period, which is 11pm to 7am. Now the airport wants the night-time period reduced from 8 hours to 6.5 hours, so it is from 11.30pm to 6am – an hour and a half less. The WHO says people should have a quiet period for sleep for 8 hours per night. Most adults need between 7-8 hours of good sleep per night. That is not possible, if the night period is only 6.5 hours. That also does not include planes arriving later than 11.30pm, for delays etc. The change the airport wants means lots of flights in the “shoulder periods”. ie. between 6am and 7am, and between 11pm and 11.30pm. This enables airlines to fit in more “rotations” so they can make more return trips to European holiday destination airports, making more money the airlines. The plans will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s on January 30; the airport may submit a planning application in the coming months.
Leeds Bradford Airport wants night time flight restrictions to be relaxed
The airport says it currently faces “a competitive and economic disadvantage compared to almost every airport in the UK”
24 JAN 2020 (Leeds Live)
Under current rules, which were approved in 1993, the airport can only operate 4,000 flights a year during the night-time period, which runs from 11pm to 7am. [The WHO says people should have a quiet period for sleep for 8 hours per night. Most adults need between 7-8 hours of good sleep per night. That is not possible, if the night period is only 6.5 hours, as being suggested by the airport. That also does not include planes arriving later than 11.30pm, for delays etc. AW comment].
Restrictions on noise levels, training flights and other aircraft movements are also in place during this period.
The airport wants the daytime period to be extended by 90 minutes and the restrictive night-time slot to run from 11.30pm to 6am.
This would allow the airport to accommodate new airlines and extra flights, as it looks to achieve its goal of increasing passenger numbers from 4 million to 7 million by 2030.
The plans will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s plans panel on January 30 and airport bosses are expected to submit a planning application in the coming months.
A council report states: “Leeds Bradford Airport wish to change the day time regime for flights at the airport by reducing the current restrictions during the night to one additional hour in the morning and 30minutes in the evening.
‘A competitive and economic disadvantage’
“The airport states that this is to accommodate new airline operators and designations including a greater emphasis on business flights.
“Leeds Bradford Airport also states that this change in flight time regime will bring the airport in line with the large majority of the operations of other UK commercial airports and enable the airport to increase passenger numbers.
“Leeds Bradford Airport considers that the current restriction on the flights outside of 7am to 11pm, places the airport at a competitive and economic disadvantage compared to almost every airport in the UK, particularly those with which Leeds Bradford Airport competes for airlines and passengers in the north of the country.”
Environmentalists are concerned about the increase in emissions that will come with the airport expansion.
The council is looking to support the expansion by building a new train station nearby, despite declaring a climate emergency in 2019.
Climate scientists from the University of Leeds have told the council that passenger numbers should be “massively reduced” so Leeds can hit its ambitious carbon reduction targets and the expansion is “entirely at odds with any serious attempt” to tackle climate change.
Leeds Bradford Airport chiefs hope to extend the facility’s so-called ‘daytime’ hours to begin at 6am as part of plans to revamp the airport’s capacity.
The facility currently has permission to operate flights during the day between 7am and 11pm, but as part of early plans for a brand new £150m terminal, the airport also wishes to extend its operating times to 6am-11.30pm.
According to a report from Leeds City Council officers, LBA wants to make the changes to ‘accommodate new airline operators’ and bring the airport in line with other facilities across the UK.
LBA also claimed its current restrictions give it a ‘competitive disadvantage’ with other UK airports.
The report listed 10 other airports across the UK, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, which all operated flights between 6am-11.30pm. [And deeply unpopular, and damaging to people’s sleep, health and quality of life they are too. AW comment]
It stated: “LBA wish to change the day time regime for flights at the airport by reducing the current restrictions during the night to one additional hour in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.
“LBA states that this is to accommodate new airline operators and designations including a greater emphasis on business flights.
“LBA also states that this change in flight time regime will bring the airport in line with the large majority of the operations of other UK commercial airports and enable
LBA to increase passenger numbers from the existing [four million passengers per annum] to [seven million passengers per annum] by 2030.
“LBA considers that the current restriction on the flights outside of the hours of 7am and 11pm, places the airport at a competitive and economic disadvantage compared to almost every airport in the UK, particularly those with which LBA competes for airlines and passengers in the north of the country.”
“Pre-application” plans into the proposed rebuild of LBA’s terminal are set to be discussed by Leeds City Council’s city plans panel on Thursday, January 31.
Reader reaction as Leeds Bradford Airport chiefs say they want to start flights at 6am
Leeds Bradford Airport chiefs hope to extend the facility’s so-called ‘daytime’ hours to begin at 6am as part of plans to revamp the airport’s capacity.
By Gemma Jimmison (Yorkshire Evening Post)
30th January 2020
The facility currently has permission to operate flights during the day between 7am and 11pm, but as part of early plans for a brand new £150m terminal, the airport also wishes to extend its operating times to 6am-11.30pm.
According to a report from Leeds City Council officers, LBA wants to make the changes to ‘accommodate new airline operators’ and bring the airport in line with other facilities across the UK.
LBA also claimed its current restrictions give it a ‘competitive disadvantage’ with other UK airports.
Alistair Young said: “This is part of LBA’s expansion plans to have 7m passengers by 2030. The air quality in Leeds is in the worst 10 per cent of UK urban areas, and deaths caused by pollution now exceed more deaths than on our roads. The expansion plans include a new access road across green belt (from a park and ride concrete car park) because a train link is not “affordable”.
“So Leeds will have a massive increase in car transport and flights adding to the already dangerous levels of air pollution, not to mention noise pollution over the city. At least if they open a Stockholm route, we can fly Greta over here. Then she can get people to wake up to the fatal harm that this planned expansion will bring to Leeds. Leeds City Council – you are a joke: https://cleanairleeds.co.uk/what-are-we-doing.”
Cheryl Day Dockerty said: “Airports should be 24 hours with limited flights throughout the early hours, but most people are up at 6am these days anyway, and I’m sure I’ve been on 6am flights from there.. having said that I wouldn’t want to live near an airport .. we get motorway noise and that’s bad enough.
Phil Hanson said: “Many large airports have restrictions and Leeds is no different. NO!”
Guy Antony Moxon added: “No we don’t want to hear planes setting off at 6.00am. Noise pollution. Leave it as it is.”
Emily May Brimecombe said: “I think it doesn’t matter what time they fly out. At the end of the day it’s an airport, and if people don’t like it then move where there isn’t any airport nearby. If they want to live nearby then they have got to get used to the airport noises.”
Andy Romero-Birkbeck said: “Great news! Earlier flights and more domestic flights needed.”
Others thought the plans would make no practical difference anyway
Jon Winter said: “Those operating hours are treated as guidelines and all airport operators are allowed a small percentage outside of those hours. Also, if they do exceed the limits then the fines are so small that the airports simply cover them and add the cost into the slots they sell to the airlines.”
Caryn Lomax added: “I thought the times were 6am to 2am… I’ve flown out at 6:30am and also flown back in between 1-2am. I’m two miles away and on the edge of the flight path, I sleep through, even with the windows open.”
There are two active airport groups in Leeds. The North West Leeds Transport Forum (NWLTF) is an established group of nine resident / community associations and many of its members live directly under the flight path. It has been campaigning on aircraft noise for some time now and helped defeat LBA’s recent proposals to change flight path routes.
There is also a newly formed city wide Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) which is particularly active on aviation and climate change and has some valuable academic expertise on this subject amongst its Leeds University members. The groups have overlapping membership.
A Pre-Application proposal from LBA is to go before Leeds Council’s City Plans Panel on Thursday 30th January. This includes plans for a new £150m terminal to accommodate almost double the number of passengers to 7million per year.
There is also a request to extend night flying hours. Campaigners only heard about this application very recently and are now rapidly trying to brief and lobby councillors on the issue.
In particular campaigners are seeking information on the situation in other airports on night flight restrictions (hours, limits on numbers and on “quota”, limits on runway use, etc)
CPRE is calling on the Government to improve the way it monitors aircraft noise after new research shows current maps seriously underestimate the problem. This comes at a time when there are proposals for airport expansion across the country, and as the Government prepares a new aviation strategy. The research, commissioned by CPRE, was carried out by Aviation Consultants, To70. It looked at the impact of noise pollution at lower levels than those usually mapped in the UK now. These lower levels, already used for monitoring noise pollution in other European countries, are believed to be a better indicator of the true impact of noise pollution below and near flight paths. The report uses Gatwick airport as an example, but the findings would apply at any airport. Currently the standard measure above which plane noise is regarded to “annoy” people is 55dBALden (a noise average), but this is far too high. A noise contour is produced for this noise level. But the WHO recommends reducing aircraft noise levels to 45 decibels in the day. The noise contour for 45dB is hugely larger than that for 55dB. CPRE says the government should commission independent research into the impact of aviation noise on health. Also that the ICCAN should be given statutory powers on noise. . Tweet
New Research Shows True Impact of Aircraft Noise Pollution
27th January 2020
Press release from CPRE
The Countryside Charity, CPRE, is today calling on the Government to improve the way it monitors aircraft noise after new research shows current maps seriously underestimate the problem.
This comes in the face of proposals for airport expansion across the country and as the Government prepares a new aviation strategy.
The research, commissioned by CPRE, was carried out by Aviation Consultants, To70. The study maps data which measures the impact of noise pollution at lower levels than those currently mapped in the UK. These low levels, which are already used for monitoring noise pollution in other European countries, are believed to be a better indicator of the true impact of noise pollution on the countryside and urban areas.
The research is a central part of a new report: ‘Flight Blight: The social and environmental cost of aviation expansion’.
The report uses Gatwick airport as an example and finds that applying appropriate standards increases the area impacted by aircraft noise fivefold. If this European style modelling was applied to other airports it is expected it would show large increases in the areas affected by noise.
Campaigners say measuring noise at a lower level than currently mapped is a more accurate representation of the extent and severity of the noise pollution:
“We are becoming more sensitive to low level aircraft noise,” says CPRE Sussex Director, Kia Trainor. “For many people it is not just a minor annoyance: Noise has been linked to serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety and disturbed sleep”.
“There are also other less quantifiable impacts such as fear – for example about climate change or safety – and the stress caused by the discovery that a formerly quiet location where you live is increasingly blighted by noise pollution”.
CPRE London Director, Neil Sinden agrees and believes that the impact of noise pollution is becoming increasingly important:
“While much of the debate over aviation expansion has quite rightly focused on the climate change impacts,” he says. “The more immediate impacts of noise pollution that has direct effects on human health are increasingly important. The Government’s forthcoming aviation strategy must fully address both sets of issues.”
The report was commissioned by CPRE’s Network Aviation Group (CPRE NAvG) which is comprised of CPRE branches in the South East affected by aviation noise. The report makes the following four recommendations:
The UK should monitor and report at lower noise threshold levels as this better reflects people’s experience of aircraft noise.
Government should commission independent research into the impact of aviation noise on health.
The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) should be given statutory powers so that communities’ distrust of the aviation industry is reduced.
The Government should include aviation CO2emissions within the net zero greenhouse gas emissions target and further aviation expansion should be ruled out on climate grounds.
Andy Smith, Director of CPRE Surrey believes ICCAN could play a key role:
“ICCAN should be given additional powers, to genuinely reduce levels of aircraft noise,” he says. “Its role is not to restrict the growth of the industry, but to attempt to reduce the amount people who feel the need to complain about noise.”
Ben Webster, Environment Editor (The Times) January 27 2020
Aircraft noise is blighting the lives of more residents than the government admits, a new reportsays.
The official threshold used in the UK to determine whether noise from jets causes significant disturbance is much higher than the limit recommended by the World Health Organisation.
The Civil Aviation Authority says 57 decibels (dBA) of aircraft noise between 7am and 11pm has been deemed “significantly annoying” and mitigation may be required, such as airports paying for homes to have double glazing. The EU uses a slightly lower threshold of 55 decibels. The WHO recommends reducing aircraft noise levels to 45 decibels in the day and 40 decibels at night and says that higher levels damage health and disturb sleep.
The report, commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), uses Gatwick as an example and finds that 75km2 around the airport is impacted by aircraft noise above 55 decibels but 409km2 above 45 decibels.
It comes as parliament begins scrutiny of the government’s Aviation Bill, which will enable a major redesign of flight paths across the UK that could result in areas not overflown being affected by aircraft noise. The report recommends using the WHO threshold when determining expansion plans and deciding mitigation measures as it says “this better reflects people’s experience of aircraft noise”.
“If you have decided to live somewhere with certain expectations of the quality of life and ‘quiet’, you will experience noise as much more annoying than if you were expecting it,” it adds.
Kia Trainor, CPRE Sussex director, said: “We are becoming more sensitive to low-level aircraft noise. For many people it is not just a minor annoyance. Noise has been linked to serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety and disturbed sleep.
“There are also other less quantifiable impacts such as fear and the stress caused by the discovery that a formerly quiet location where you live is increasingly blighted by noise pollution.”
The report calls for independent research into the impact of aviation noise on health. It says the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, created last year and funded by the Department for Transport, should be given statutory powers “so that communities’ distrust of the aviation industry is reduced”. The Department for Transport said the proposed changes to flight paths would include ensuring aircraft climbed and descended more steeply, therefore disturbing fewer people.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said the changes would also help cut delays and reduce the carbon footprint of flights by allowing planes to take more direct routes.
A DfT spokesman said: “We take the health impacts of aviation noise very seriously which is why we established an independent commission to advise us on the best ways to reduce noise pollution.”
UK monitoring of aircraft noise ‘seriously underestimates’ disturbance to people’s health
Flight cacophony ‘more annoying’ than road or rail and we are becoming increasingly sensitive to it, research finds
By Jane Dalton @JournoJane (Independent)
The way aircraft noise is monitored in the UK “seriously underestimates” the disturbance it causes, research suggests.
Some European countries, such as the Netherlands, start measuring plane noise at 45 decibels (dB), but the UK starts it at 55dB – the minimum it is legally obliged to, which has caused needless disruption to people’s lives and health, the report says.
Countryside campaigners, who say lower levels are a better indicator of noise pollution, are calling for the government to make the monitoring more sensitive, which could have significant effects on decisions over airport planning.
It comes as airport expansion plans are being considered across the UK, including a new Heathrow runway, and as the government prepares a new aviation strategy.
The research, commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), is a central part of a new report, Flight Blight: the Social and Environmental Cost of Aviation Expansion.
“Research shows that aircraft noise is more ‘annoying’ than road or rail noise and that we are becoming increasingly sensitive to it,” the report says.
Mapping at lower levels would lead to action plans taking account of considerably more people, according to the new research, by aviation consultancy To70. The Civil Aviation Authority is responsible for monitoring noise around airports and publishing information about its impact.
In 2018 the World Health Organisation recommended reducing aircraft noise levels to 45dB in the daytime and 40dB at night.
Using Gatwick airport as an example, the report says that applying more “appropriate” standards increased the area affected by aircraft noise five-fold.
Kia Trainor, the director of CPRE Sussex, said: “We are becoming more sensitive to low-level aircraft noise. For many people it is not just a minor annoyance: noise has been linked to serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety and disturbed sleep.”
She told The Independent: “Research shows experiences of noise are not linear – lots of factors come into play.
“Even though planes are getting quieter people are becoming more sensitive to noise.”
A combination of factors could be responsible, she said, including people’s expectations of peace and quiet, trust in the aviation industry, the climate crisis and a rise in numbers of flights.
As well as reducing the noise-reporting threshold, the report recommends the government should commission independent research into the impact of aviation noise on health.
It also calls for the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise to have statutory powers so that communities’ distrust of the aviation industry is reduced.
And the report authors want aviation CO2 emissions to be included in the government’s net-zero greenhouse gas target and further aviation expansion to be ruled out on climate grounds.
The Independent has asked the Department for Transport for its response.
Report finds aircraft noise could be five times higher than previously thought at Gatwick
By Emily Walker (The Argus)
A REPORT Flight Blight CPRE NavG released today shows aircraft noise could be five times higher than previously thought around Gatwick.
Campaigners are calling for the Government to improve the way it monitors aircraft noise as new research shows current maps seriously under-estimate the issue.
The research, commissioned by countryside charity CPRE was carried out by Aviation Consultants, To70.
The study maps data which measures the impact of noise pollution at lower levels than those currently mapped in the UK. These low levels, which are already used for monitoring noise pollution in other European countries, are believed to be a better indicator of the true impact of noise pollution
The report uses Gatwick as an example and finds that applying appropriate standards increases the area affected by aircraft noise fivefold.
Campaigners say measuring noise at a lower level than currently mapped is a more accurate representation of the extent and severity of the noise pollution:
CPRE Sussex director Kia Trainor said: “We are becoming more sensitive to low level aircraft noise.For many people it is not just a minor annoyance. Noise has been linked to serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety and disturbed sleep.
“There are also other less quantifiable impacts such as fear, for example about climate change or safety, and the stress caused by the discovery that a formerly quiet location where you live is increasingly blighted by noise pollution.”
The report recommends the UK should monitor and report at lower noise threshold levels as this better reflects people’s experience of aircraft noise. It suggests the Government should commission independent research into the impact of aviation noise on health and calls for the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise to be given statutory powers so communities’ distrust of the aviation industry is reduced.
Campaigners also say the Government should include aviation CO2 emissions within the net zero greenhouse gas emissions target and further aviation expansion should be ruled out on climate grounds.
Stansted expansion plans have been rejected by Uttlesford District councillors at a special planning committee meeting. The decision was made with 10 councillors voting to overturn the previous approval, and two councillors, who were also members of SSE, abstaining. Officers had recommended approval of proposals to increase the airport’s passenger cap from 35 million to 43 million per year. The expansion had included 2 new taxiways and 9 new hangars, expanding the number of flights it can handle from 227,000 up to 274,000. There are about 28 million passengers now per year. Originally the council approved the plan, giving it conditional permission, but after the Residents for Uttlesford group took control from the Conservatives in May, the decision was referred back to the committee. The councillors who voted for expansion in 2018 lost their seats last year. Council officers said there were no new material considerations to justify a different decision from the one made in November 2018 when the plans were approved. It was a 7 hour meeting, “in which the chairman had to tell members of the public to stop applauding those opposing the plans.” It is possible MAG, which owns Stansted, may appeal. . Tweet
Stansted Airport expansion rejected by Uttlesford council
Expansion plans for Stansted Airport have been rejected by councillors. Officers at Uttlesford District Council had recommended approval of proposals to increase the Essex airport’s passenger cap to 43 million a year.
But at the council’s special planning committee, members rejected the scheme.
Originally the council approved the plan, but after the Residents for Uttlesford group took control from the Conservatives in May, the decision was referred back to the committee.
Council officers said there were no new material considerations to justify a different decision from the one made in November 2018 when the plans were approved.
Stansted currently handles 28 million passengers a year and already has permission to increase capacity to 35 million.
The airport had offered to invest £35m in the local area, including on transport, soundproofing for homes on the flight path and homeowner relocation.
Plans for a new £150m arrivals terminal were put on hold last year.
Stansted Airport expansion scrapped after shock council decision
24 January 2020
By Jake Foxford (EACT – East Anglia Daily Times)
Stansted Airport’s long-awaited expansion was dramatically blocked after the district council overturned a previous decision to green-light the plans.
In an extraordinary planning committee meeting at Uttlesford District Council (UDC) on January 24, seven hours of debate ended in a shock decision with councillors ignoring a recommendation to approve the plans. The expansion had included two new taxiway links to runways and nine new hangars, expanding the number of flights it can handle from 227,000 up to 274,000 – a maximum of 43million passengers every year.
The debate about the expansion has raged since the application was submitted almost two years ago – culminating in more than 500 pages of reports and 200 letters from the public.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has opposed the plans since they were submitted to the council in February 2018.
SSE deputy chairman Brian Ross said: “It’s a good day for the local residents of Uttlesford.
“There was a packed council chamber for a huge problem being dealt with by one of the smallest district councils in England.
“The Manchester Airport Group wanted this decided at the district level, not the national level, two and a half years ago. Now they need to respect the decision and not appeal against it.
“We have been doing this for two years, the local community needs some peace of mind and respite.”
The decision was made with 10 councillors voting to overturn the previous approval, and two councillors, who were also members of SSE, abstaining.
You may also want to watch: Watch more local videos Mr Ross added: “One of the biggest issues of today was climate change. Stansted Airport is one of the biggest CO2 producers in the East of England. “Someone had to stand up and say that this expansion was too much.”
A council spokesman said: “The reasons for today’s refusal were made in relation to noise, air quality and climate change; matters the committee agreed were material planning changes since the approval was granted.”
The plans were initially approved in November 2018, subject to a section 106 agreement – meaning airport owners Manchester Airport Group (MAG) had to detail how they would invest in jobs in the area and minimise the impact on the local community.
Proposals were drawn up for a £35m investment in noise reduction schemes and on-site higher education training facilities for staff.
After a change of administration at the district council – with power shifting from the Conservatives to the Residents for Uttlesford independents – it was delayed in June 2019 so councillors could reassess the agreement.
After the marathon seven-hour meeting, in which the chairman had to tell members of the public to stop applauding those opposing the plans, the new council overturned the previous conditional permission.
A spokesman for Stansted Airport stopped short of announcing an appeal against the decision, but said it was “naturally disappointed”.
“From the outset, we have listened to local communities to put forward an application that delivers the benefits of growth and a comprehensive package of mitigation measures.
“We are naturally disappointed that the committee has chosen to consciously ignore the recommendations of not only its own officers but also the additional advice it commissioned at significant cost to the taxpayer from independent technical experts and lawyers.
“The conclusions of this advice were clear that there should be no impediment to granting approval.
“We will now carefully consider the comments made by the committee before deciding our next steps.”
Stansted bid to increase passenger numbers rejected
Councillors consider the airport’s application
Councillors voted against debating the proposals to increase capacity by eight million to 43 million passengers a year.
Uttlesford District Council voted by ten votes to 2 abstentions to overturn a previous decision to allow the airport to go ahead with the plans.
The plans were first approved 14 months ago but were never rubber stamped.
And the council said it was growing concerns over climate change which meant they had taken the decision.
It was two years ago that Stansted Airport first made an application Credit: ITV News Anglia
Speaking to our reporter Claire McGalsson, Councillor Colin Day said the council had a duty of care toward residents.
“What is the price of getting things right when you’re talking about the health of people? We have a duty of care as a local authority for the residents that elected us to ensure their health is paramount. Going back we did request that Westminster to take control of this Westminster have decided not to.”
– CLLR COLIN DAY Stansted are considering whether to appeal, but this evening issued a statement:
“From the outset, we have listened to local communities to put forward an application that delivers the benefits of growth and a comprehensive package of mitigation measures to benefit local communities.
We are naturally disappointed that the Planning Committee has chosen to consciously ignore the recommendations of not only its own officers but also the additional advice it commissioned at significant cost to the taxpayer from independent technical experts and lawyers. The conclusions of this advice were clear that there should be no impediment to granting approval.
We will now carefully consider the comments made by the Planning Committee before deciding our next steps.”
– SPOKESMAN FOR LONDON STANSTED AIRPORT It was two years ago that Stansted Airport first made an application, but it was never confirmed.
The boss of Stansted Airport has written to local residents, saying that growth would be “in the best interests of the community”. The CEO Ken O’Toole has also written an open letter to local residents, setting out the airport’s future plans, arguing that they will benefit the region.
However, growing concern about climate change means campaigners now believe they can stop the expansion in its tracks.
Check out Claire McGlasson’s report for more. Claire looks at how the issue has developed over the past two years, and talks through some of the key points from the meeting so far.