Dublin airport is constructing a new runway, which is expected to open in 2022. It had been intended to open in 2020. The current conditions would limit the use of the new northern runway between 11pm and 7am, and also place an overall limit of 65 aircraft movements across the entire airport during those hours. Now the Dublin Airport operator, DAA, has submitted an application to Fingal County Council for permission to amend two planning conditions that are due to apply to the operation of the new north runway and the overall runway system at Dublin Airport when the new north runway begins operations. It says the conditions are too “onerous” now wants to be able to operate a noise quota system between 11.30pm and 6am, ie. half an hour later into the night, and an hour earlier in the morning. Flights would operate for longer times than the quota period. The DAA says the new north runway would only be used between 6am and midnight, (ie. 2 hours longer than the 7am to 11pm originally) and it says the overall effects of nighttime aircraft noise are “less than envisaged under the planning permission granted in 2007, and do not exceed those in 2018.” The DAA is very keen to have flights between 6am and 7am, which is their “busiest time of the day.” . Tweet
Dublin Airport operator, DAA, Submits Application For Permission To Amend Planning Conditions For New Dublin Airport Runway
Dec 22nd 2020 (Hospitality Ireland)
Dublin Airport operator DAA has submitted an application to Fingal County Council for permission to amend two planning conditions that are due to apply to the operation of the new north runway and the overall runway system at Dublin Airport when the new north runway begins operations.
The current conditions would limit the use of the north runway between 11pm and 7am, and also place an overall limit of 65 aircraft movements across the entire airport during those hours.
In its newly lodged planning application, DAA proposes the introduction of a noise quota system at night, which would operate between 11.30pm and 6am, and that the north runway would only be used between 6am and midnight.
In a statement published on the Dublin Airport and DAA websites, DAA CEO Dalton Philips said, “We had originally wanted to have these two onerous conditions removed entirely, but having engaged with the local community and listened to their views, we have revised our previous position and are now proposing very significant mitigation measures.”
DAA said that under its new proposals, the overall effects of nighttime noise at Dublin Airport are less than envisaged under the planning permission granted in 2007, and do not exceed those in 2018.
Within the planning application, DAA also proposes a new €7 million insulation scheme for dwellings that are most affected by nighttime noise. The proposed scheme would see grants of €20,000 paid to the owners of up to 350 eligible houses.
DAA has already established an insulation programme for approximately 200 local households as well as a voluntary scheme to purchase up to 38 properties that will be most affected by the operation of the north runway at a significant premium to their market value if the runway was not being built.
Philips asserted, “The new proposal balances the requirements of the Irish economy with the valid concerns of the local community.
“It has never been Dublin Airport’s intention to have lots more flights in the middle of the night, but in their original form, the two conditions would have a very significant impact on Ireland’s connectivity, as the hour between 6am and 7am is Dublin Airport’s busiest time of the day.”
According to Philips, the proposed new measures would provide Dublin Airport with “the operational flexibility that is required to help the Irish economy recover from the impact of COVID-19 and face the challenges of a post-Brexit environment, while ensuring that the effects of nighttime noise that were envisaged by the original planning conditions are not exceeded.”
Under new legislation that came into effect last year, a separate part of Fingal County has been appointed the competent authority for the purposes of noise regulation at Dublin Airport.
Under the legislation, the competent authority will apply what is known as the balanced approach to address the issue of noise at the airport. Under the balanced approach, three key elements must be considered before contemplating operating restrictions. The three key elements that must be considered are reduction of noise at source, land-use planning and management, and noise abatement operational procedures. According to DAA, only after these three elements have been exhausted, should the fourth element of the Balanced Approach – operating restrictions – be considered.
The competent authority has a 14-week public consultation period within its deliberations and its decision is incorporated within the overall planning decision. This decision can be appealed to An Bord Pleanála. When making its decision, it will take into account the views of the community, the aviation sector and other stakeholders, as well as international best practice.
Runway Construction Timeline
Construction of the new runway will be largely completed in the second quarter of next year and this will be followed by a rigorous period of testing and commissioning. The runway is expected to be operational in 2022.
Work to build Dublin 2nd runway could start in 2017 for completion in 2020
April 8, 2016
Dublin airport is to press ahead with building a 2nd main runway, resurrecting plans that were approved in August 2007 but then put on hold when Ireland was plunged into financial crisis after 2008. The 2 mile runway will be cost about €320 million (£258m) with work starting in 2017. It may be ready by 2020, to meet rising demand. Passenger numbers at Dublin are now back up to where they were before the recession, and although the airport is not yet at full capacity, it is congested at peak hours. There were around 25 million passengers in 2015. Passenger numbers are expected to rise further. Dublin to London is one of the world’s busiest international air routes, while the facility to pre-clear US immigration in Ireland has made Dublin popular with transatlantic travellers. Ireland cut is small charge of €3 on air tickets in 2013, while Northern Ireland continued to charge £13 in APD. Many people therefore travelled from Northern Ireland to Dublin, to save money. Ryanair has over 40% of the flights at Dublin backs the runway, as does IAG. Willie Walsh has said he might consider using Dublin more if Heathrow got a 3rd runway, and raised charges sharply. There are some conditions restricting night flights very slightly, (65 per night 11pm to 7am) with the 2nd runway.
Local residents not at all happy about noise plan for Dublin airport
January 11, 2019
Some residents living under flight paths of Dublin Airport are unhappy that a new plan is not adopting World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on permitted noise levels for aircraft. Fingal county council will become the noise regulator for the airport under proposals drawn up by transport minister Shane Ross. Fingal county council submitted a draft 5-year noise action plan for the airport to the Environmental Protection Agency last week. The public made more than 50 submissions in the consultation period, and most queried why new (October 2018) WHO noise guidelines were not adopted. WHO guidelines say that average noise exposure from aircraft should be limited to 45 decibels during daylight hours and 40 decibels at night. The council’s plan sets no limits for noise and instead focuses on mitigation measures. In the UK the WHO noise guidelines are not followed either – nowhere even approaching them. The number of people exposed to plane noise of 55-60 decibels was over 18,000 in 2016, and that is likely to rise due to more activity at the airport and more housing built near it. Fingal council said it is awaiting national or EU-led policy guidance on noise levels. Construction of the new 2nd runway, for yet more flights, is due to be completed in early 2021 and commissioning will then take place.
After over 3 years of fierce resistance by the local community, the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport will be decided by a Public Inquiry which opens on Tuesday 12th January. The outcome will determine whether Uttlesford, East Herts, and other surrounding districts will continue to consist of largely rural communities or will, in time, become further blighted and urbanised in the same way as large areas around Gatwick and Heathrow airports. Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) considers it entirely irrational, and potentially dangerous, for the Government’s Planning Inspectorate to insist that the Public Inquiry must start at the height of the Covid pandemic. Stansted already has permission for 35 million passengers and its passenger throughput peaked at 28 million in 2018, with passenger numbers in decline since mid-2019, long before the pandemic. In 2020, Stansted handled just 7 million passengers and has forecast that it will take years to return to pre-pandemic levels. Plainly, there is no urgency to increase the current planning cap. . Tweet
STANSTED AIRPORT PUBLIC INQUIRY – A Fight for our Future
STOP STANSTED EXPANSION
PRESS RELEASE – 11 JANUARY 2021
After more than three years of fierce resistance by the local community, the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport will be decided by a Public Inquiry which opens tomorrow [Tuesday 12 January]. The outcome will determine whether Uttlesford, East Herts, and other surrounding districts will continue to consist of largely rural communities or will, in time, become further blighted and urbanised in the same way as large areas around Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
SSE considers it entirely irrational, and potentially dangerous, for the Government’s Planning Inspectorate to insist that the Public Inquiry must start at the height of a pandemic. Stansted already has permission for 35 million passengers and its passenger throughput peaked at 28 million in 2018, with passenger numbers in decline since mid-2019, long before the pandemic. In 2020, Stansted handled just 7 million passengers and has forecast that it will take years to return to pre-pandemic levels. Plainly, there is no urgency to increase the current planning cap.
If approved, Stansted would be permitted to expand to a similar size and scale to Gatwick, which is why Stop Stansted Expansion (‘SSE’) has fought these expansion proposals, tooth and nail, since they were first announced in June 2017 by the owners of Stansted Airport, the Manchester Airports Group (MAG). At that time MAG fully expected Uttlesford District Council (‘UDC’) to approve its proposals within three months.
However, UDC officials and MAG underestimated the strength of local opposition, spearheaded by SSE. Three months has become three years and there is now, finally, an opportunity for the local community to make a stand. We all have a moral obligation to call a halt to ever-increasing aviation emissions, for the sake of future generations as well as for the sake of all other species with whom we share this planet, and SSE will do its utmost to fight for these local and wider environmental principles at the forthcoming Inquiry.
SSE cannot however hide its disappointment that UDC officials have now, behind the scenes, withdrawn most of their objections to MAG’s expansion plans for Stansted, subject to a few hollow conditions.
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “In view of the timing of this Public Inquiry, at the height of a pandemic, SSE is participating under duress, but we have powerful, well-researched evidence to put before the Inquiry and we will do just that, regardless of UDC’s position and regardless of the difficulties.”
Stansted airport inquiry to start in the midst of the Covid pandemic
November 1, 2020
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has described the decision to schedule a January start for the Public Inquiry into further expansion at Stansted Airport as “dangerous, unwise and unnecessary” in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that it could jeopardise community involvement in the hearings. The public inquiry is being held following an appeal by Stansted’s owners, Manchester Airports Group (MAG) against the refusal by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to allow expansion of the airport to an annual throughput of 43 million passengers, compared to 28 million last year. The refusal, by the UDC Planning Committee, was by a resounding margin of 10 votes to nil. SSE believes that a three-month deferral would be a safer and more sensible way forward, not least given the major impacts which the pandemic is having on the aviation industry. Stansted will handle fewer than 9 million passengers this year, one third of last year’s total. Experts say it will take five years before passenger numbers return to 2019 levels – if it ever does. Despite strong objections from SSE, the start date has been set for 12 January 2021. It is planned to be an in-person event, with attendant Covid infection risks, and SSE says it should be done by using video technology, but this has limitations on effective public participation and access.
SSE RENEWS CALL FOR STANSTED AIRPORT TO ACCEPT PLANNING REFUSAL
STOP STANSTED EXPANSION
PRESS RELEASE – 29th JULY 2020
In an email sent on 28th July, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) congratulated Steve Griffiths on his appointment as Managing Director of Stansted Airport, but urged him to listen to the local community and to reconsider the Airport’s proposed appeal against the unanimous rejection of its planning application by Uttlesford District Council.
In the email SSE’s Chairman, Peter Sanders, said an appeal would be costly and time-consuming for all parties at a time when they are hard pressed by other important issues.
MAG to appeal council’s refusal of Stansted expansion proposals – SSE says this is “CALLOUS, CYNICAL AND POINTLESS”
July 12, 2020
The Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has decided to appeal against the refusal by Uttlesford District Council of the expansion plans of Stansted airport. Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) Chairman, Peter Sanders, said this was “callous, cynical and pointless” and prolongs uncertainty. MAG has been seeking an increase in the permitted number of flights using Stansted, up from the present limit of 35 mppa to 43mppa. Stansted’s actual throughput in 2019 was 28 mppa and will be very significantly lower in 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19. Uttlesford District Council (UDC) first received MAG’s expansion proposals for Stansted in June 2017 and spent more than two and a half years considering the issues prior to 24 January 2020 when its (cross-party) Planning Committee voted by 10 votes to zero to refuse the application. MAG itself had said it wanted the application to be determined locally rather than nationally, and that UDC was the “competent and appropriate authority” to deal with its application. But now it is appealing, for the decision to go to a Public Inquiry, that would be costly for UDC at a time when finances are struggling.
A study carried out by Swiss researchers looked at 24,886 deaths from cardiovascular disease from 2000–2015, in people living near Zurich Airport. They looked at the deaths in relation to night-time aircraft noise exposure. They found that those exposed to 40–50 decibels noise had a significantly higher risk (about 33%) of heart attacks in the few hours after the noise. The risk was higher for noise above 55 decibels – about 44%. For those susceptible, the effect of planes passing overhead can lead to death within 2 hours of the noise. The Zurich study found aircraft noise contributed to about 800 out of 25,000 cardiovascular deaths that occurred between 2000 and 2015 in the vicinity of Zurich airport, which was 3%. The study used a so-called ‘case-crossover’ model to determine whether the subject’s noise exposure around their time of death was unusually high in comparison to sounds levels they experienced at other, randomly-selected times. Previous research for the European Environment Agency estimated that noise exposure road, rail, aircraft, industry) causes 12,000 premature deaths and contributes to 48,000 new cases of ischemic heart disease per year across Europe. . Tweet
Sound of an aeroplane flying overhead at night could be last thing you hear as study finds the noise can trigger a heart attack within two hours
By Ian Randall (For Mailonline) 22 Dec 2020
Experts studied 24,886 deaths from cardiovascular disease from 2000–2015
All the cases the team considered were located in the vicinity of Zurich Airport
They analysed the deaths in comparison with night-time aircraft noise pollution
Those exposed to 40–50 decibels noise had a third higher risk of heart failure
Living under a busy flight path could have drawbacks beyond lowering your property value — it could increase your risk of dying from a heart attack, experts have warned.
Researchers from Switzerland analysed thousands of deaths from cardiovascular disease in the area around Zurich airport from 2000–2015.
They found people exposed to night-time noises in the order of 40–50 decibels — similar to the thrum of a fridge — were a third more likely to have heart failure.
For those susceptible, the effect of planes passing overhead can — just like episodes of intense emotion — lead to death within just two hours, the researchers said.
‘We found that aircraft noise contributed to about 800 out of 25,000 cardiovascular deaths that occurred between 2000 and 2015 in the vicinity of Zurich airport,’ said epidemiologist Martin Röösli at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.
‘This represents 3% of all observed cardiovascular deaths.’
Previous research found that noise pollution is responsible for around 48,000 cases of ischemic (or coronary) heart disease across Europe every year.
In their study, Dr Röösli and colleagues analysed data on 24,886 cardiovascular disease deaths that occurred in the vicinity of Zürich Airport from 2000–2015.
They used a so-called ‘case-crossover’ model to determine whether the subject’s noise exposure around their time of death was unusually high in comparison to sounds levels they experienced at other, randomly-selected times.
To do this, the model combined a record of all aircraft movements in and out of Zurich Airport during the 15-year study period with pre-existing calculations of the noise exposure from different aircraft, travelling on given routes at different times.
‘This study design is very useful to study acute effects of noise exposure with high day-to-day variability — such as for airplane noise, given changing weather conditions or flight delays,’ said paper author and epidemiologist Apolline Saucy.
‘With this temporal analysis approach, we can isolate the effect of unusually high or low levels of noise on mortality from other factors.’
‘Lifestyle characteristics such as smoking or diet cannot be a bias in this study design,’ she added.
The team’s model suggested that the risk of cardiovascular death increases by 33% for those individuals exposed to night-time noise in the order of 40–50 decibels — equivalent to the sound of a refrigerator in operation.
People exposed to night-time noise above 55 decibels — near the volume of normal conversation — had a 44% increase in their risk of cardiovascular death.
For comparison, being subjected to noises over 85 decibels — such as hairdryers, blenders and power tools — continuously for more than 30 minutes can lead to permanent hearing loss.
Accurate exposure assessment is essential in environmental epidemiological studies. This is especially true for aircraft noise, which is characterized by a high spatial and temporal variation. We propose a method to assess individual aircraft noise exposure for a case-crossover study investigating the acute effects of aircraft noise on cardiovascular deaths. We identified all cases of cardiovascular death (24,886) occurring near Zürich airport, Switzerland, over fifteen years from the Swiss National Cohort. Outdoor noise exposure at the home address was calculated for the night preceding death and control nights using flight operations information from Zürich airport and noise footprints calculated for major aircraft types and air routes. We estimated three different noise metrics: mean sound pressure level (LAeq), maximum sound pressure level (LAmax), and number above threshold 55 dB (NAT55) for different nighttime windows. Average nighttime aircraft noise levels were 45.2 dB, 64.6 dB, and 18.5 for LAeq, LAmax, and NAT55 respectively. In this paper, we present a method to estimate individual aircraft noise exposure with high spatio-temporal resolution and a flexible choice of exposure events and metrics. This exposure assessment will be used in a case-crossover study investigating the acute effects of noise on health.
…. then the long study details ….
We present a method to assess individual aircraft noise exposures with high temporal and spatial resolution. This method, especially designed to support a case-crossover study, represents a novel framework to investigate the short-term effects of aircraft noise on mortality. We propose to apply this approach to retrospective data and this paper may, therefore, serve as an exposure assessment method in large, long-term cohort settings. Due to its differences towards other study designs in terms of possible bias and confounding, this approach may complement previous research and bring meaningful insights in our general understanding of the acute physiological effects of noise.
According to a new reportpublished by the European Environment Agency (EEA), road traffic is the top source of noise pollution in Europe, with rail, aircraft and industry the other main sources of environmental noise pollution.
The report provides an update of noise pollution trends over the 2012-2017 period. Additionally, the report estimates future noise projections as well as the associated health impacts in Europe, based on new World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on the health effects from exposure to noise. Building on the previous EEA assessment of noise in Europe from 2014, the report also looks at actions taken to manage and reduce noise exposure and reviews progress made to meet EU objectives on noise pollution.
Long-term exposure to noise has significant health impacts. On the basis of the new WHO information, the EEA estimates that such exposure causes 12,000 premature deaths and contributes to 48,000 new cases of ischemic heart disease per year across Europe. It is also estimated that 22 million people suffer chronic high annoyance and 6.5 million people suffer chronic high sleep disturbance.
Living near to a busy road or airport TRIPLES your risk of a heart attack and stroke because the noise triggers a harmful response in the body
November 8, 2018
More evidence – now from Massachusetts General hospital – is showing that living near to a noisy road or a busy flight path significantly increases risk of a heart attack or stroke. The added risk is in addition to risks of smoking and diabetes. It is thought that exposure to environmental noise alters the amygdala – a brain region involved in stress regulation and emotional responses. This then promotes blood vessel inflammation, which can lead to cardiovascular problems. Those exposed to chronic noise, such as near an airport, showed and a greater than three-fold risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke and other major cardiovascular event. People with the highest levels of noise exposure had higher levels of amygdala activity and more inflammation in their arteries. The study looked at 499 people, with an average age of 56 years old. None had cardiovascular illness or cancer. They all underwent simultaneous PET and CT scans of their brain and blood vessels. To gauge noise exposure, the researchers used participants’ home addresses government noise maps. The researchers say more research is needed to determine whether reduction in noise exposure could meaningfully lower cardiovascular risk and reduce the number of cardiovascular events on a population-wide scale.
Polish study of effects of aircraft noise shows increased hypertension and cardiovascular impacts
June 16, 2016
A study carried out in Krakow, Poland, has found that long term exposure to aircraft noise is associated with hypertension and organ damage. The study included 201 randomly selected adults aged 40 to 66 years who had lived for more than three years in an area with high or low aircraft noise. Of these, 101 were exposed to more than 60 decibels (dB) of aircraft noise on average and 100 were exposed to less than 55 dB and acted as a control group. The researchers matched the groups in pairs by gender, age, and amount of time living in the area. All participants had their blood pressure measured. Asymptomatic organ damage was assessed by measuring stiffness of the aorta and the mass and function of the left ventricle. They found that the group who lived in an area of high aircraft noise had more hypertension than those who lived in a low aircraft noise area (40% versus 24%). They also had higher systolic (146 versus 138 mmHg) and diastolic (89 versus 79 mmHg) blood pressure than the control group. The researchers say “There is emerging data to suggest that exposure to aircraft noise may increase the risk of hypertension, particularly at night, and of hospitalisation for cardiovascular diseases – but more evidence is needed.” Also that noise should be kept down, by “redirecting flight paths, keeping airports away from homes, and avoiding night flights.”
Professor Stansfeld on how noise pollution, including aircraft noise, can damage health
February 5, 2016
Stephen Stansfeld is a Professor of Psychiatry at Queen Mary University of London, who has done a lot of work the health impacts of noise, including aircraft noise. He comments that as well as physical (cardiovascular) illness, there can be significant emotional response to noise pollution, including negative feelings noise can create such as disturbance, irritation, dissatisfaction and nuisance, as well as a feeling of having one’s privacy invaded. But annoyance can vary widely between different people. Noise can have different impacts depending on how much it interferes with your activities, the fear you feel associated with the source of the noise, your coping mechanisms and even your belief about whether the noise is preventable. “For example, you’re likely to feel more annoyance to aircraft flying overhead if you feel the airport is taking no measures to regulate the noise.” He also says that the evidence suggests mental ill-health may increase the risk of annoyance by noise – rather than the other way round. Sleep disturbance from noise may have more effect on the elderly, children, those who work shifts or have poor health. He suggests – if screening or masking is not possible – we could design our society “to be less noisy in the first place.”
The group of Councils deeply opposed to Heathrow expansion said the Supreme Court ruling, that the ANPS is legal, changes nothing and called on the airport to abandon once and for all its bid for a 3rd runway. Residents in all these boroughs are badly affected by noise of Heathrow planes. Wandsworth Council urged Heathrow to concentrate on working with the aviation industry to achieve zero carbon emissions and an end to night flights. The Leader of Wandsworth Council, Cllr Ravi Govindia, said: “The ruling does not give Heathrow a green light for a third runway. It says nothing about how expansion could be delivered in the face of legally binding emissions targets. The world has changed since Chris Grayling’s decision in 2018. Heathrow will never be able to build a third runway. It’s time for the airport to admit defeat and put all its energy into working with the aviation industry to achieve the net zero goal. The Government must now as a matter of urgency produce a new aviation strategy for the UK which properly takes account of its legal commitment on emissions reductions. And Heathrow could put an end to the early morning arrivals, the noise of which causes so much upset, disturbing the sleep of thousands, putting their health at risk. . Tweet
The group of local councils – Wandsworth, Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Windsor and Maidenhead – together with the Mayor of London and Greenpeace, had challenged the ANPS alongside environmental groups Plan B and Friends of the Earth.
Supreme Court Heathrow ruling ‘changes nothing’
December 16, 2020
Wandsworth Council press release
Councils opposed to Heathrow expansion say today’s Supreme Court ruling changes nothing and called on the airport to abandon once and for all its bid for a third runway.
Communities living under the flightpath are already plagued by aircraft noise.
Wandsworth Council urged Heathrow to concentrate on working with the aviation industry to achieve zero carbon emissions and an end to night flights.
The ruling addresses the Transport Secretary’s decision in 2018 to press ahead with giving support to expansion at Heathrow when drafting the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) despite the recommendations on climate change contained in the 2016 Paris Agreement.
Judges said today he was entitled to do this as the Government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement setting out the emissions targets did not constitute government policy.
The Government subsequently adopted new targets in 2019 requiring net zero emissions by 2050.
Last week the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) heaped further pressure on aviation to reduce emissions. It said there should be no net expansion of UK airport capacity ‘until the sector is on track to sufficiently outperform its net emissions trajectory and can accommodate the additional demand.’ It further called for a net zero target for UK aviation.
Leader of Wandsworth Council, Cllr Ravi Govindia, said: “The ruling does not give Heathrow a green light for a third runway. It says nothing about how expansion could be delivered in the face of legally binding emissions targets.
“The world has changed since Chris Grayling’s decision in 2018. Heathrow will never be able to build a third runway. It’s time for the airport to admit defeat and put all its energy into working with the aviation industry to achieve the net zero goal.
“The Government must now as a matter of urgency produce a new aviation strategy for the UK which properly takes account of its legal commitment on emissions reductions.
“Local people have lived with the threat of expansion for years and the added noise, congestion and air pollution this would bring.
“The airport should own up to the damage it has caused to people’s lives and start making serious efforts to reduce the local noise impacts for people living under the flightpath.
“They could begin by telling the Government that is willing to phase out all early morning arrivals. These are the night flights that disrupt people’s sleep and put their health at risk.”
The Department for Transport launched a new night flights consultation last week. At this stage it is proposing no changes to the numbers of aircraft currently arriving before 6am.
The councils also called for a complete rethink of how noise is measured so that it can fairly reflect the annoyance suffered by individual communities.
The night flights consultation runs until March 3, 2022. The council will publish its detailed response early in the New Year.
The Supreme Court today agreed with Heathrow that the then Secretary of State acted lawfully when considering the impact of the Paris Agreement but confirmed that HAL would be now be bound to comply with the UK’s revised carbon targets when and if it seeks to obtain planning permission for a third runway.
A group of local councils – Wandsworth, Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith and Fulham and Windsor and Maidenhead together with the Mayor of London and Greenpeace– had challenged the ANPS alongside environmental groups Plan B and Friends of the Earth.
Supreme Court rules that the Airports NPS is legal; climate issues of a Heathrow runway would have to be decided at the DCO stage
December 16, 2020
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Airports NPS is lawful. In February 2020 the Appeal Court had ruled that it was not, on climate grounds. The ANPS is the national policy framework which governs the construction of a Heathrow 3rd runway. Any future application for development consent to build this runway will be considered against the policy framework in the ANPS. The ANPS does not grant development consent in its own right. The Supreme Court rejected the legal challenges by Friends of the Earth, and Plan B Earth, that the then Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, had not taken climate properly into account, nor the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. These are tricky points of law, and definition of the term “government policy” rather than the reality of climate policy. Heathrow is now able to continue with plans to apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) which is the planning stage of the runway scheme.The Supreme Court said at the DCO stage, Heathrow would have to show “that the development would be compatible with the up-to-date requirements under the Paris Agreement and the CCA 2008 measures as revised to take account of those requirements” and “The Court further holds that future applications [for the runway] will be assessed against the emissions targets and environmental policies in force at that later date rather than those set out in the ANPS.”
“Heathrow expansion remains very far from certain”: Friends of the Earth reacts as Supreme Court rules on policy allowing third runway
December 16, 2020
Friends of the Earth UK (FoE) was one of the organisations that took their challenge of the High Court decision on Heathrow expansion, and the Airports NPS (ANPS), to the Court of Appeal. Heathrow took that judgement, that the ANPS was illegal (of no legal effect) to the Supreme Court, which has now ruled that the ANPS is valid and legal. Friends of the Earth say the judgement is “not a ‘green light’ for a 3rd Heathrow runway. It makes clear that full climate considerations remain to be addressed and resolved at the planning stage, where Friends of the Earth will continue the challenge against a 3rd runway. In addition, the Government has been recently warned by its own advisers (the CCC) against net airport expansion.” FoE also say green jobs, low-carbon travel and the health and wellbeing of everyone must be government priority for 2021 and beyond. A 3rd runway is far from certain, with many chances to block it in the planning stages. The UK’s obligations and targets have become much more challenging since the ANPS was designated and are only expected to get tougher, especially in light of the advice last week by the Committee on Climate Change that, in order to meet Net Zero Target, there should be no net increase in airport capacity.
Wandsworth Council, and the other councils, to challenge latest efforts by Heathrow to revive plans for 3rd runway
June 12, 2020
Wandsworth Council is poised to support fresh legal efforts to cement its recent victory over plans to expand Heathrow Airport. The airport’s owners and the construction company involved are trying and rescue the plans with an appeal to the Supreme Court. So Wandsworth has indicated it wishes to join other councils and environmental groups in guaranteeing the Supreme Court judges hear both sides of the argument. The council is seeking permission to intervene as “an interested party” due to the importance it attaches to the outcome – and the negative impact a 3rd runway would have on tens of thousands of Wandsworth residents. Being represented at the hearing would mean the council and its allies can ensure that the strong arguments against Heathrow expansion are fully aired. The government has not sought to overturn the Appeal Court ruling. The councils that brought the case – Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith & Fulham and Windsor & Maidenhead, together with the Mayor of London and Greenpeace – are working together on the Supreme Court case.
In the end, only the case made by Friends of the Earth and Plan B Earth were considered by the Supreme Court, as it was their climate arguments that won at the Appeal Court. The other arguments, made by the councils (who had left the climate arguments to FoE and Plan B) were not upheld by the Appeal Court, in February 2020.
Supreme Court to hear Heathrow appeal, against judgement on the Airports NPS by the Appeal Court, on 7th and 8th October
May 15, 2020
The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear an appeal from Heathrow Airport and Arora Group on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th October 2020 on the plans to expand Heathrow Airport by adding a third runway. The appeal was granted by the Supreme Court on 7th May, but the dates of the appeal were announced today. Granting of the appeal by the Supreme Court followed an earlier landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal at the end of February which stated that the government has not taken into account the Paris climate change agreement when drawing up its plans to expand Heathrow. Reacting to the news of the hearing dates, Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “These dates are sooner than some expected. Perhaps because the Supreme Court is as keen to clarify this important area of developing law, as our communities are anxious to see Heathrow expansion shelved, once and for all. The sooner this misguided project is put of its misery, the better. So we welcome these dates.”
Supreme Court grants Heathrow and Arora permission to appeal against the Appeal Court ruling on the ANPS
May 7, 2020
In February, the Appeal Court ruled that the government’s Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) was illegal, because it had not taken properly into account the UK’s responsibilities on carbon emissions, or commitments under the Paris Agreement. For a Heathrow 3rd runway to go ahead, it has to be in line with the necessary policy document, the ANPS. That document is now invalid in law, and will remain so until it is amended to rectify its deficiencies. It is for the Secretary of State for Transport to do that, but the government declined to challenge the Appeal Court judgement. So Heathrow, and Arora Holdings (the two organisations hoping to get a 3rd runway built) asked the Supreme Court for permission to appeal the Appeal Court decision. That has now been granted, by the Supreme Court. The legal process is slow, and could take as much as a year. It will probably cost a lot of money, at a time when Heathrow is haemorrhaging money, with minimal income, due to Covid. Only a day earlier, CEO of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye admitted there would not be a need for a 3rd runway for 10-15 years. Heathrow wants this drag on and on and on …
Historically, the DfT has set the night flight regime – for the “designated” airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – for periods of 5 years. The last regime was in 2017, for the period from October 2017 to October 2022. The DfT says: “The aim of the regime was to maintain the status quo and ensure that communities do not experience any overall increase in the noise created by night flights.” It has allowed a high level of night flights, with no reductions on earlier numbers, despite significant community opposition. Seventeen airport groups wrote to the Aviation Minister on 10th November, asking that night flights should be limited in future, with a proper night period in which no flights are permitted (other than genuine emergencies). The aim was to make their point before the DfT consultation (by which time the DfT has decided what it intends to do …). The government has now published its new night flights consultation, for the period 2022 to 2024. The DfT intends there to be no change to the current regime (no concessions to suffering from being overflown at night) other than phasing out the noisiest planes, which airlines are getting rid of anyway, due to Covid. DfT says: “… we are also seeking early views and evidence on policy options for the government’s future night flight policy at the designated airports beyond 2024, and nationally.” . Tweet
Government rejects plea to ban night flights amid noise complaints
By Press Association 2020
Calls for a ban on night flights at airports have been rejected by the Government.Existing limits on night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted will be preserved until at least October 2024 under new Department for Transport (DfT) proposals.
Seventeen organisations covering airports such as Bristol, East Midlands, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow and Southampton wrote to aviation minister Robert Courts last month demanding that take-offs and landings are banned for eight hours every night.
The DfT, which is consulting on the plans, said night flights are “an important contributor” to the economic benefits provided by the aviation sector.
But it also acknowledged that noise from night flights “is often regarded by communities as the most disturbing form of airport operations”.
Responding to the consultation launch, John Stewart, who chairs anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan, said: “The Government should take this opportunity not to tinker around with night flight restrictions but to ask the more basic question of how many of the night flights are really needed.
“No night flights is what most communities want. The Government should have that as its target.”
The DfT consultation document stated: “Maintaining the existing restrictions for an interim period will provide time for complete consideration of the longer-term options for managing aviation noise at night at the designated airports.
“It will also provide time for the impacts of the pandemic on the aviation industry to be better understood and for evidence to emerge that can support longer-term policy changes.”
Heathrow is currently allowed an average of 16 flights every night between 11.30pm and 6am.
The limit at Gatwick and Stansted is 40 and 38 respectively.
The only planned change in night flights from October 2022 is to prohibit the use of aircraft with noise levels similar to the Boeing 747-400 between 11.30pm and 6am.
These type of planes have been grounded by several airlines due to the lack of demand for air travel.
Launched in 1969, the hump-shaped 747s are considerably larger and louder than modern airliners.
The DfT said: “We believe the impacts to the industry of this ban will be minimal, but it will have a benefit to communities that are overflown by ensuring these noisiest aircraft movements are prevented from operating in the night quota period in future.”
The department is also asking for views on night flights both beyond 2024 and at airports across the country.
Groups write to Aviation Minister, asking for new limits on night flights – including need for an 8-hour night period
November 10, 2020
A long list of organisations and groups have signed a letter to the Transport Minister, Robert Courts, asking for action to limit night flights. It is understood that the government intends to publish a consultation and call for evidence on night flights later this year. The groups hope the DfT will take their views into consideration, and not (as in 2017) decide policy on night flights BEFORE consulting. They say that all night flights, other than for emergency and humanitarian purposes, should be banned at all UK airports. The period defined as night should be an eight hour period. If any night flights are to be permitted, their number and impacts should be regulated far more robustly than they are now, at all airports. In the past, the government has argued that the economic benefits of allowing planes to fly at night outweigh the health and quality of life costs of those negatively affected. This can no longer withstand scrutiny, as many flights are just to perpetuate a low-cost carrier business model that generates unsustainable levels of leisure flights. The demand for business flights is increasingly replaced by internet communications, and most air freight does not need to arrive the next day.
Night flight restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports between 2022 and 2024 plus future night flight policy
Two stage consultation asking:
1. – to maintain the existing night flight restrictions for the designated airports between 2022 to 2024 plus banning QC4 rated aircraft movements between 23:30 to 06:00
2. – for views on policy options for the future night flight policy, beyond 2024, at designated airports and nationally
. The designated airports are Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. The QC or quota count system, is category system based on the aircraft noise level and conducted in accordance with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation certification process. The QC4 aircraft category includes departure of Boeing 747-400’s and similar craft.
In this section we seek views on our proposal to maintain the existing regime at designated airports for 2 years, from October 2022 to October 2024, and placing an operational ban on QC4 rated aircraft movements. This would mean that the limits in place at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted airports would remain unchanged between October 2022 and October 2024. Alongside this, we propose taking advantage of the withdrawal of QC4 rated aircraft (for example a Boeing 747-400 on departure) from most scheduled services due to COVID-19, by proposing to ban such aircraft movements between 23:30 and 06:00. We believe the impacts to the industry of this ban will be minimal, but it will have a benefit to communities that are overflown by ensuring these noisiest aircraft movements are prevented from operating in the night quota period in future.
Maintaining the existing restrictions for an interim period will provide time for complete consideration of the longer-term options for managing aviation noise at night at the designated airports. It will also provide time for the impacts of the pandemic on the aviation industry to be better understood and for evidence to emerge that can support longer-term policy changes. Alongside this, it will ensure the government complies with legal consultation and notification requirements.
This consultation process
This is a two-stage consultation process which seeks views on the regime at the designated airports beyond 2022, and night flights in the national context. This consultation is for a period of 3 months.
Stage 1 of this consultation has 2 purposes. Firstly, we are formally consulting on our proposal to maintain the existing night flight restrictions for the designated airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) from 2022 to 2024, and our proposal to ban QC4 rated aircraft movements during the night quota period (23:30 to 06:00). Responses to this section of the consultation will allow us to make a final policy decision on the regime for the designated airport beyond 2022 in summer 2021.
Secondly, we are also seeking early views and evidence on policy options for the government’s future night flight policy at the designated airports beyond 2024, and nationally. This includes whether we should amend our national noise policy to include specific policy for night noise, revising our night flight dispensation guidance, whether we should set criteria for airport designation, and what any future night flight regime at the designated airports should look like.
We would aim to publish stage 2 of this consultation in 2022 which will set out firm proposals for the designated airports beyond 2024.
This process relates to the current designated airports in their current operational form and it does not consider any scenarios related to airport expansion proposals.
This consultation process will be of interest to communities that live near airports or underneath flightpaths, local authorities, airlines, airport operators, and businesses or consumers that depend on the aviation sector.
Options for the regime beyond 2024. Length of the regime
Historically, night flight regimes have been for periods of 5 years or shorter. We are aware that some stakeholders have indicated that this does not allow for long-term planning. We therefore seek views and evidence on how long the night-flight regime beyond 2024 should be, including whether there would be benefits of a much longer regime (10+ years). We have not proposed a regime of less than 3 years as consultation and notification requirements would mean that we would need to consult on the subsequent regime soon after the new regime was coming into effect.
We are mindful of the potential interactions between the night flight regime set by government beyond 2024, and any future decisions brought about by relevant external planning processes. For example, any decisions taken during the process of a development application under the Planning Act 2008, or under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The impacts of this could be that that the restrictions taken forward under the next night flight regime might be replaced by a bespoke regime brought in through the planning process, or that other separate restrictions could run alongside those introduced through this process.
Two campaign groups dedicated to reducing noise from Luton Airport have hit out at its latest plans for expansion. LADACAN (Luton And District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) and STAQS (St Albans Quieter Skies) have rejected the airport’s plans as “both unjustified and unmerited” in a series of responses to the consultation (ends 5th Feb 2021). LADACAN said: “Airport growth going forward has to be more responsibly managed than in the past. The industry is innately carbon-inefficient at present due to outdated airspace design, which forces planes into holding stacks and causes Luton departures to be held low sometimes for 15-20 miles. This is very wasteful of fuel and causes far more widespread noise than necessary.” They also say the latest aircraft introduced into the Luton fleet, the Airbus A321-neo was meant to be a bit less noisy than the A321, but it is not. STAQS said claims of a 2dB noise benefit from the A321-neo in the Airport’s noise reduction strategy are ‘wishful thinking’. “Luton Council needs to send Luton Airport a really clear signal that noise conditions are there for a purpose, which might focus some effort on growth balanced by mitigation, as the government requires.” . Tweet
Anti-noise campaign groups hit out at Luton Airport expansion plans
Two campaign groups dedicated to reducing noise from Luton Airport have hit out at its latest plans for expansion.
LADACAN (Luton And District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) and STAQS (St Albans Quieter Skies) have rejected the plans as “both unjustified and unmerited” in a series of responses to the pre-consultation.
Andrew Lambourne, spokesman for LADACAN, said: “Airport growth going forward has to be more responsibly managed than in the past.
“The industry is innately carbon-inefficient at present due to outdated airspace design, which forces planes into holding stacks and causes Luton departures to be held low sometimes for 15-20 miles.
“This is very wasteful of fuel and causes far more widespread noise than necessary.
“Equally the latest aircraft introduced into the Luton fleet have proved not to be slightly quieter as expected, and that issue needs to be resolved quickly.”
Luton Airport has signalled it may apply for planning permission to alternate four of the planning conditions laid down by Luton Borough Council in 2013. But its expansion plans have repeatedly faced firm opposition from neighbouring Hertfordshire County Council.
John Hale, on behalf of STAQS, added: “The Airport has to meet legally agreed noise reduction targets, and should undo its recent mistake of allowing airlines like Wizz to introduce even larger and noisier planes like the Airbus A321-neo.
“While claimed to be ‘quieter-engined’, it has proved to be noisier than its A321 predecessor when flown from Luton, making claims of a 2dB noise benefit in the Airport’s noise reduction strategy ‘wishful thinking’. Luton Council needs to send Luton Airport a really clear signal that noise conditions are there for a purpose, which might focus some effort on growth balanced by mitigation, as the government requires.”
In response to the above criticisms, a London Luton Airport (LLA) spokesman said: “While current circumstances mean we are unlikely to see this number of passengers for several years, it’s essential we take steps now to safeguard the airport, jobs and support the region’s post COVID recovery. The changes we are proposing will not result in any visible difference to the airport, and will work entirely within existing infrastructure.
“Our consultation has provided an opportunity for the local community, passengers and business partners to feedback on our proposals, ahead of a formal application, which will follow the relevant planning process.
“An environmental impact assessment is also being carried out to identify any potential effects and possible mitigations to ensure we can deliver a plan for the future of the airport and its continued contribution to the local community”.
Public consultation to open for new arrival routes into London Luton Airport
19.11.2020 (International Airports Review)
The consultation will allow local residents and communities to shape the outcome of the proposed plans to separate Luton and Stansted’s arrival routes and holds.
A public consultation to help to determine new arrival routes for flights into London Luton Airport (LLA) will open on 19 October 2020 and run to 5 February 2021, offering residents and communities in the surrounding areas the chance to have their say and shape the outcome.
LLA currently shares arrival routes and holds with London Stansted Airport (STN), a unique and unsustainable situation for airports of this size in the UK. Any delay at one airport, either in the air or on the ground, impacts the other and can cause additional delay, noise and carbon emissions. The proposed changes will separate routes further out and higher up and create a new hold for Luton arrivals, to ensure that operations for Luton and Stansted don’t impact each other.
The joint consultation – co-sponsored by LLA and UK air traffic control provider, NATS – is looking at two options to simplify the arrival routes for flights into the country’s fifth busiest airport and segregate them from Stansted’s, ensuring optimum safety.
During this webinar, AOE discussed how the travel industry has been decimated by COVID-19. Using learnings and case studies from experiences in designing, building and implementing similar transformational digital and transactional platforms for Frankfurt, Auckland and Heathrow, AOE’s CEO, Kian Gould showed that a paradigm change is already possible and indeed, no longer an option but an imperative.
The first option uses the latest air navigation technology (Performance Based Navigation – PBN) at higher altitudes (approximately 8,000ft and above) to separate Luton Airport’s arrivals from Stansted’s, with air traffic controllers tactically descending and directing aircraft from approximately 8,000ft to land. The second, preferred option, is the same, but extends the availability of PBN to final approach, which allows a predictable, more equitable distribution of flights for communities beneath.
The proposals being put forward by LLA and NATS affect areas not only in the immediate vicinity of Luton Airport, but also wider areas across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk. An online postcode tool allows anyone living or working in these areas to see what the changes may mean for them.
To comply with COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, representatives from LLA and NATS will host a number of webinars and virtual meetings throughout the consultation period to present the details of the proposal to local communities, airspace users, businesses and MPs. These will replace traditional ‘town hall’ meetings and drop-in events and provide a platform for participants to put questions forth to subject matter experts. A virtual exhibition will offer everyone access to all of the information they need to make an informed decision and provide feedback that will help to determine the final proposal.
Neil Thompson, Operations Director at London Luton Airport, said: “Any airspace change can have impacts for a wide variety of people. Local communities may be affected by noise, airlines will see a change to the routes that they fly and local airspace users may see changes too. That’s why, over the last 18 months, we’ve been working hard with NATS, local community representatives, airlines and others to help to develop the final proposals in this consultation. It’s now really important that we hear from the wider community during the 15-week consultation.”
Head of Swanwick Development at NATS, Lee Boulton, said: “The number of flights into London Luton Airport has increased significantly in recent years, and our controllers have had to delay aircraft and manually manage each flight to ensure safety. This proposal is all about ensuring safety and the consultation is a great opportunity for people to give us their feedback and help shape the proposed options, so that the airspace around the airport operates more effectively into the future.”
London Luton Airport: Consultation into moving holding area from Herts to Cambs
A public consultation to help determine new arrival routes for flights into London Luton Airport has started. The airport currently shares arrival routes and airborne holding areas with Stansted in Essex, with a key position above Royston in Hertfordshire. The proposed new holding area would be above the A1 between Alconbury and St Neots in Cambridgeshire. Luton and Stansted currently use zones above Royston, and above Sudbury in Suffolk, at about 8,000ft. The proposed changes would create a new holding area for Luton arrivals, to ensure that operations for Luton and Stansted do not have an impact on each other. For more information check out the consultation website. This consultation runs until 5 February 2021.
A long list of organisations and groups have signed a letter to the Transport Minister, Robert Courts, asking for action to limit night flights. It is understood that the government intends to publish a consultation and call for evidence on night flights later this year. The groups hope the DfT will take their views into consideration, and not (as in 2017) decide policy on night flights BEFORE consulting. They say that all night flights, other than for emergency and humanitarian purposes, should be banned at all UK airports. The period defined as night should be an eight hour period. If any night flights are to be permitted, their number and impacts should be regulated far more robustly than they are now, at all airports. In the past, the government has argued that the economic benefits of allowing planes to fly at night outweigh the health and quality of life costs of those negatively affected. This can no longer withstand scrutiny, as many flights are just to perpetuate a low-cost carrier business model that generates unsustainable levels of leisure flights. The demand for business flights is increasingly replaced by internet communications, and most air freight does not need to arrive the next day. . Tweet
Robert Courts MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Department for Transport Great Minster House 33 Horseferry Road London SW1P 4DR United Kingdom
10 November 2020
We understand the government intends to publish a consultation and call for evidence on night flights later this year. We look forward to participating in that process.
We are writing to you now to set out our high level views and to ensure that your consultation does not repeat the mistakes made in 2017, when the government decided its policy on night flights before it sought views.
• night flights, other than for emergency and humanitarian purposes, should be banned at all UK airports;
• night should be defined to mean an eight hour period, giving people around airports and under flight paths the opportunity to have a full night’s sleep consistent with health guidelines; and
• if any night flights are to be permitted, their number and impacts should be regulated far more robustly than they are now, at all airports.
The historic justifications for night flights no longer withstand scrutiny.
• At some airports they perpetuate a low-cost carrier business model that generates unsustainable levels of leisure flights, principally for a small section of society, which is inconsistent with climate imperatives.
• The business interactions they previously facilitated, particularly at Heathrow, have largely been replaced with video calls and other alternatives to air travel.
• The cargo night flights deliver is rarely time critical.
Meanwhile the proven and serious health effects and other adverse impacts of night flights, and the wider disruption they cause, are becoming increasingly clear. If building aviation back better is to mean anything it must mean putting people’s health and welfare ahead of cheap flights for the small section of society who fly frequently, and airline profits.
The government’s 2017 night flight consultation was fundamentally flawed. By announcing before it sought views that the asserted benefits of night flights had to be maintained, the Department gave itself licence to curtail its analysis and focus on minor adjustments to the regulatory regime rather than the core issues. No bottom-up analysis of the costs and benefits of night flights was done. No options involving meaningful change to the current regime were considered. The government decided the answer before it asked the question, and so passed up the opportunity to review policy in a serious way. It failed to take its regulatory responsibility for night flights at the Designated airports seriously, and ignored other airports entirely.
This policy development failure must not be repeated, and the current flawed policy should not be extended for a further period, as we understand the government intends to propose. It is now almost 15 years since the government considered night flights in a meaningful way, despite recognising, it says, that they are “the least acceptable form of aircraft operations” and claiming to take them “very seriously”.
Extending current policy, bringing the total of such extensions to seven years in a 20- year period, would be unacceptable in principle and result in there being no effective controls over the noise of individual night flights for any period of reduced traffic. The government should instead take advantage of the current decline in night flights to ban them as soon as possible, giving airlines and airports an opportunity to plan new schedules now.
We look forward to engaging with you and your officials during the forthcoming consultation and to ending the scourge of night flights.
Aviation Communities Forum Aviation Environment Federation Airport Expansion Opposition (Southampton) Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions Friends of the Earth Southampton Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise Kings Newton Residents’ Association (East Midlands) Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise Melbourne Civic Society (East Midlands) CPRE Nottinghamshire (East Midlands) People Against Intrusive Noise (East Midlands) WINGS (East Midlands) Stop Bristol Airport Expansion Stop Stansted Expansion Teddington Action Group Whitecrook Aircraft Noise Association (Glasgow)
cc: The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport
Ian Elston, DfT Jonathan Friel, DfT Richard Moriarty, CEO, Civil Aviation Authority Robert Light, Head Commissioner, ICCAN
Plans to expand Southampton Airport runway will be considered by Eastleigh Council on 17th December. The airport wants to extend its runway by 164m (538ft) and extend the existing long stay car park to provide an additional 600 spaces. The proposals will be scrutinised at a special meeting of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee. The airport has recently submitted more details of the plans to the council. These include the possibility for the authority to propose a maximum noise cap on the airport. Local opposition group Airport Expansion Opposition (AXO) continue to campaign against the plans. As well as the carbon emissions, they fear that new government policy could mean that there would be no noise cap in the future. The airport claims the longer runway is necessary, to keep airport staff employed, as the longer runway would allow larger Airbus 320 and Boeing 737 planes, for holiday destinations in southern Europe. The airport hopes the extended runway could be ready by 2022. The public consultation will close on November 15. Nearby Winchester Council has said it is still likely to object to the plans, and the recently updated information do not overcome their concerns about the noise impact. . Tweet
Southampton Airport runway plans to be discussed in December
By Maria Zaccaro @MariaDailyEchoLocal Democracy Reporter (Southampton Daily Echo)
5th November 2020
CONTROVERSIAL plans to expand Southampton Airport runway will be discussed in December.
After months of consultation and controversy, plans to expand the runway by 164m (538ft) will be considered on December 17.
The plans are also for the extension of the existing long stay car park to the east and west of Mitchell Way to provide an additional 600 spaces.
The proposals will be scrutinised at a special meeting of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee.
The event will be held online using Microsoft Teams but further details are yet to be revealed.
In a statement Eastleigh Borough Council said: “A committee date to consider the planning application has been set for 17 December 2020. The public can view and participate in the meeting through either, making representation in person to the committee or having their statement read out by a member of staff.”
The news comes as airport bosses recently submitted more details to the borough council.
These include the possibility for the authority to propose a maximum noise cap on the airport.
Airport managers said the noise mitigation measures exceed industry standards.
But as reported, campaigners said there is no justification for the plans to go ahead.
Yesterday, members of action group Airport Expansion Opposition (AXO) campaigned in the centre of Eastleigh to voice their views on the proposals.
They fear that new government policy could mean that there would be no noise cap in the future.
The group had previously said they believe that the mitigation measures proposed are “inadequate”.
But airport bosses had hit back saying the plans would provide “a positive control over noise that does not currently exist and which is above and beyond industry standards”.
The plans sparked a heated debate among residents and councillors, with councils in Southampton and Winchester objecting to the scheme.
Airport bosses warned that the future of Southampton Airport and thousands of jobs will be hanging in the balance if the plans are refused.
The airport wants the existing runway extended to allow the use of planes such as the Airbus 320 and Boeing 737 – needed to reach holiday destinations in southern Europe.
Last month airport managing director Steve Szalay said if the plans were approved the airport would be able to welcome new airlines by 2022.
The number of passengers using the airport dropped by 89% this year, which Mr Szalay said was mainly down to the collapse of Flybe in March.
A public consultation on the scheme is ongoing and will close on November 15.
Winchester City Council on Southampton Airport expansion
By Sam Hatherley @HatherleySam (Daily Echo)
9th November 2020
WINCHESTER City Council is still likely to object against the expansion of Southampton Airport – despite the application being updated recently.
An environmental statement has been added to the plans, which details the tests that will need to be completed before work begins.
Civic chiefs are still revising this information – but are unlikely to chance their stance.
Cllr Jackie Porter said: “A provisional assessment has been undertaken by our Environmental Protection Officers and the advice is that the updates do not overcome original concerns with the proposals in relation to noise impact.
“I do not therefore envisage that the City Council will withdraw its objection to the proposed development on carbon and noise grounds but a formal response to Eastleigh Borough Council will be made by November 20.”
The plans are to construct a 164-metre runway extension at the northern end of the existing runway.
Cllr Porter added: “Our officers are currently assessing this additional information. As an adjoining local authority the council was originally consulted on the planning application to extend the runway and objected to the development on January 22 on the grounds that the development would increase carbon emissions and have harmful noise impacts on the residents of Winchester.
“The economic benefits of the application did not outweigh the harm caused.”
Proposals are set to go before an Eastleigh Borough Council committee on December 17.
“The updated information is centred around noise and providing an alternative scenario relating to the use of the airport based on approximately three million passengers per annum and the data that sits behind this.
“This information wasn’t the subject of an EIA Regulation 25 request made by Eastleigh Borough Council.
“It has however been the subject of discussion between the airport and Eastleigh and is a response to the different circumstances that the airport now faces in light of Covid and the demise of Flybe.”
A consultation by Luton airport and NATS was launched on 19th October, to change the arrival routes for the airport, which could see aircraft flying closer to some towns in Beds, Bucks and Cambs. Luton Airport currently shares arrival routes and 2 holds with Stansted, a situation which has been described as “unsustainable” due to both airports’ size (pre-Covid). A delay at one airport can impact the other. It is now proposed that a new aircraft hold for Luton is formed above the St Neots and Huntingdon area, along with separate routes “further out and higher up”. This is to ensure its operations don’t clash with Stansted. There are two options. Local campaign LADACAN says: “As far as people on the ground are concerned, this consultation and its hundreds of pages of technical documentation boils down to a simple question: are concentrated tracks or randomly dispersed flights the best solution when aircraft are passing closely spaced communities at low altitudes?” Luton’s aim, of course, is to fit in more flights so airport traffic can grow … The consultation runs until February 5th 2021. There are maps at https://consultations.airspacechange.co.uk/london-luton-airport/ad6_luton_arrivals/ which show the location of two new proposed PBN arrival routes, and more detail from LADACAN at https://ladacan.org/consultation-on-arrivals-flight-paths/ . Tweet
New arrival routes for Luton Airport could see flights over other parts of Beds, Bucks and Cambs
A consultation has been launched today (Monday) to change the arrival routes for Luton Airport – which could see aircraft flying closer to other towns in Beds, Bucks and Cambs.
By Stewart Carr (Luton Today) Monday, 19th October 2020,
Luton Airport currently shares arrival routes and two holds with Stansted, a situation which has been described as “unsustainable” due to both airports’ size.
A delay at one airport can impact the other, with similar delays, noise and carbon emissions.
Today’s consultation proposes a new aircraft hold for Luton Airport above the St Neots and Huntingdon area, along with separate routes “further out and higher up”. This is to ensure its operations don’t clash with Stansted.
The joint consultation, co-sponsored with air traffic control provider NATS, is looking at two options:.
> Option one focuses upon higher altitude arrival routes from the new hold, with the latest air navigation technology (Performance Based Navigation – PBN) at altitudes of around 8,000ft and above to separate Luton’s arrivals from Stansted’s.
> Option two, described as the “preferred” choice, offers the same but with added “pre-determined” routes spread out to wider areas outside Luton.
Area affected by the proposed changes include parts of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk. An online postcode tool (available in the virtual exhibition here) allows anyone in these areas to see what the changes may mean for them.
Dotted lines show where the changes may take place.
The area surrounded by the purple dotted line is where planes will be below 8,000 feet (ie. definitely audible)
Lee Boulton, from NATS, said: “The number of flights into Luton Airport has increased significantly in recent years and our controllers have had to delay aircraft and manually manage each flight to ensure safety.
“This proposal is all about ensuring safety and the consultation is a great opportunity for people to give us their feedback and help shape the proposed options, so that the airspace around the airport operates more effectively into the future.”
To comply with COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, representatives from the airport and NATS will host a number of webinars and virtual meetings throughout the consultation period to present the details of the proposal to local communities, airspace users, businesses and MPs.
These will replace traditional “town hall” meetings and drop-in events and provide a platform for participants to put questions to subject matter experts. A virtual exhibition will offer everyone access to all the information they need to make an informed decision and provide feedback that will help determine the final proposal.
Neil Thompson, operations director at Luton Airport, added: “Any airspace change can have impacts for a wide variety of people. Local communities may be affected by noise, airlines will see a change to the routes that they fly and local airspace users may see changes too.
“That’s why over the last 18 months we’ve been working hard with NATS, local community representatives, airlines and others to help develop the final proposals.”
Luton Airport is consulting on proposed changes to arrivals flight paths which could have a significant noise impact on residents over a wide area from Leighton Buzzard in the west to Walkern in the east. Their preferred option includes concentrated tracks rather than random dispersal of aircraft, which can mean people near or under the concentrated routes suddenly become aware of a lot more aircraft.
As far as people on the ground are concerned, this consultation and its hundreds of pages of technical documentation boils down to a simple question: are concentrated tracks or randomly dispersed flights the best solution when aircraft are passing closely spaced communities at low altitudes?
Random dispersal (Option 1) means potentially more people will hear aircraft, but not all the aircraft will be as close or sound as loud. On the arrivals flight path while the aircraft are being brought towards the “lining up” point where they make a final turn towards the runway, this is how it works at present. From that point onwards, the noise experience will be the same as now – a concentrated stream of aircraft.
Concentrated tracks (Option 2) mean fewer people may hear aircraft as they navigate towards “lining up” point, but those people are likely to perceive all of them rather than just the ones which used to come close. So effectively all the noise is dumped on the unlucky folk near the proposed concentrated route, and those further away will hear fewer aircraft.
The “refinement” to this is to have a couple of concentrated routes to choose from, and switch between them on different days. At the end of the day, the amount of noise is the same, it’s just a matter of how widely it’s spread. There’s nothing particularly “fair” about the process – all that can be said is that the aviation industry likes to use the new technology of GPS navigation to save air traffic controllers having to do so much work, and to make the routes more predictable.
Where communities are widely spaced it’s a useful technology – where they are close, it’s impossible to avoid everyone. Which goes to show that Luton Airport is in the wrong place for massive further expansion – but that’s another story…
The consultation runs until 5th February, which is just as well because the documentation is not the easiest to get to grips with. There are various maps buried in the documents and a complicated “layered PDF” which illustrate the proposals. Mastering it all takes time and effort, so we have used the Airport’s data to create images giving a fair and balanced presentation of the alternatives below.
Have a look at these maps, find where you live, and consider what the noise effects might be. Have in mind the following questions:
* Am I currently affected by planes arriving into Luton Airport? – If so, is it going to get better or worse according to these maps and options? – If not, will I start to be affected according to these maps and options? * Do I agree in principle that aircraft tracks should be dispersed over a wide area to share the noise, or concentrated so that fewer people get more of the noise?
In Option 1, the tracks are dispersed: more people will hear some of the planes some of the time. In Option 2 the tracks are concentrated: fewer people will hear planes but they will hear more.
In all the maps, the solid-outlined light blue, mauve and orange areas will be increasingly noisy as the aircraft descend. The black lines show the centre of the proposed concentrated flight path in Option 2.
Conservative councillors have criticised Southend Airport’s night flights, pledging to “explore every avenue possible” to have them removed. They have made it clear they back “further controlled expansion” but want night flights removed. Some residents say they are being forced to take sleeping tablets because of the sleep disruption caused by night flights. The Conservative councillors said: “We will continue to explore every avenue possible to have the night flight quota removed from the Airport’s Section 106 Licence Agreement.” Other councillors worry there will be a loss of jobs, and they dare not risk losing them, with so many jobs being lost due to Covid. There are residential roads very close to the airport boundary, with houses must too near the runway. The airport is permitted on average 4 flights per night, but sometimes has fewer. The airport has cargo flights, bringing in Amazon goods. There are generally 3 per night between 1am and 5.30am, though there had been an earlier agreement not to have flights between midnight and 6am. This agreement has been abandoned.
TORY leaders have slammed Southend Airport’s night flights, pledging to “explore every avenue possible” to have them removed.
Conservative councillors have made it clear they back “further controlled expansion” but want night flights removed.
Some residents say they are being forced to take sleeping tablets because of the disruption caused by night flights.
In a statement, released yesterday, the Southend Conservatives, said: “We have concluded that whilst we would continue to support the airport and some further controlled growth and expansion, we do not support the continuation of the night flights.
“We feel that while many accept the airport and the flights during the day, the night-time flights are simply a compromise too far and not justifiable as a means to an end.
“We will continue to explore every avenue possible to have the night flight quota removed from the Airport’s Section 106 Licence Agreement.”
Despite the Tory concerns, the Labour, Lib Dem and Independent administration at the council raised concerns over job losses.
Independent councillor Martin Terry, said: “We are witnessing businesses crumbling around us and jobs being lost. That activity provides, based on Government statistics, in excess of 700 jobs.
“More than 200 are directly at the airport, so we have to be very careful about what we are saying and what we are doing.
“I absolutely empathise with the noise nuisance, and there are issues around the types of aircraft, however, at this time we are going to be facing a lot of unemployment should we be turning our back on these jobs.”
June Carr, who has lived at her home in Wells Avenue, Southend, for more than 30 years, has been fighting against the airport expansion for several years.
June and her husband, Alex, have resorted to sleeping tablets.
June, told the Echo: “We’re all on sleeping tablets and anti-depressants. “The noise can go on for an hour – one night the noise went on from 3am until 4.55am.
“The airport enforced this on us with no communication or consultation. They should buy us out. No one should live with this noise and carcinogenic pollution so close, it’s neglect by the council. No one seems to care about the residents or their health.”
Another resident Carol Bonnett, 58, added: “We’re sleeping on a mattress on the floor in our front lounge because we can’t sleep. I’ve got sleeping tablets from the doctors.”
Lib Dem councillor, Carole Mulroney, said: “The decision as to whether to agree to night flights was taken by full council. The Lib Dems proposed a counter motion to not have night flights but lost the vote.”
A spokesman for Southend Airport, said: “London Southend Airport is permitted on average four night flights per day and consistently operates below that limit.
“The airport works with its airline partners and stakeholders to balance the benefit the airport delivers to the local and regional economy against its impacts, and will continue to do so.”
‘Noisy night flights are only way airport will keep going’
By Toby Emes, Reporter (Basildon, Canvey and Southend Echo)
9th September 2020
OVERNIGHT cargo flights will have to continue to keep Southend Airport afloat as it battles to weather the coronavirus storm, councillors claim.
The controversial night flights, which have plagued neighbours for years, “are the only thing keeping the airport running”, Tory councillors have warned.
Conservative councillors Mark Flewitt and Kevin Buck both say the night flights will have to continue, despite the anger from those living under the flight paths.
In a new report from Southend Airport, which the Echo has seen, airport bosses reveal only 75 per cent of the quota for night time flights was used over the past year, with 32 per per cent of those flights flying over Leigh.
The report also states 27 of the airport’s 19,300 departures did not follow “noise preferential routes”; routes put in place to ease the burden on residents.
Kevin Buck, shadow councillor in charge of transport at Southend Council, said: “It’s not viable to scrap the night flights.
“The airport will have to continue running the night flights. It’s a crucial lifeline. The aviation industry has taken a massive hit.”
The airport’s cargo flights with Amazon had been operating three times every night between 1am and 5.30am.
As part of a supposed agreement reached earlier this year between the airport and residents, alongside MP Sir David Amess, the final night flight would depart at 12.20am, with no other flights until after 6am.
But that agreement is now no longer seen as viable.
John Fuller, a member of the Friends of the Earth group, has said Southend Airport must close as it’s location is “not appropriate.”
Mr Fuller said: “Night flights have been a huge issue for the community for a while.
“It’s damaging people’s health and reducing life expectancy.
“But the airport see it as crucial for their finances, and always have done.
“The airport must be closed. It’s not the right place for it.
“It’s in the middle of Rochford and Southend and needs to be further out of town. This is now the time to take climate change seriously and reduce flights. I welcome the reduction in flights and easyJet withdrawing.
“There is no way any airport should be expanding in the current climate.”
Amazon said earlier this month night flights would be staying, further to re-assessment.
Southend Airport was asked to comment.
The apparent agreement between airport bosses and campaigners to pause the flights between midnight and 6am has been ignored, with this “no longer viable.”