Heathrow expansion proposals
Richmond Council announced that, on 19th July, acting together with 4 other Local Councils – Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Wandsworth, and Windsor and Maidenhead – they notified the Secretary of State for Transport that they will seek Judicial Review of the Government’s decision to support the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) for expansion of Heathrow with a third runway. You can see their press release here
They are being joined in their challenge to the Government’s decision by the London Mayor and Greenpeace.
It is disappointing that Parliament voted last night in favour of the Government’s National Policy Statement on Heathrow expansion. All the evidence shows a third runway at Heathrow to be a costly mistake, bringing no benefit for UK business connectivity, perpetuating an outdated model of “hub” airports rather than anticipating demand for point-to-point travel, and ignoring the effects on public health from noise and air pollution for the substantial numbers of people living under the flight paths and near roads leading to the airport.
There is a high chance the scheme will not be delivered as Heathrow and the Government face the reality of the financial costs, the impacts on international climate change obligations and the failure to show how legal requirements on air quality can be met.
The Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) will continue to work with Local Councils, the London Mayor and others to support the legal challenges which will start now. We base our objections to expansion at Heathrow on the clear evidence against the decision contained in the Government’s own documents which we have examined in great detail. This has been a flawed consultation, failing to look at the facts.
We will also be continuing to look at how Heathrow and the Government can be held to account for promises made to the local community on noise reduction. Heathrow has already formally applied to the Civil Aviation Authority to change the airspace to accommodate more flights. The decisions may take several years and we are actively engaged in the process, having already lodged an objection concerning Heathrow’s lack of proper engagement with local communities and the way flight path decisions are being made.
Whilst most commentators have been focussing on the decision to expand Heathrow, few have noted the significant impact that new flight paths currently being considered will have on thousands of Londoners, with or without Heathrow expansion. Some areas will be overflown for the first time, some will have increased noise and a few less. Decisions on the location of flight paths will be fraught. Communities exposed to arrivals on the southern runway will probably see the 8 hours of daily respite cut in half.
We will continue our fight for a night time ban on flights, no increase in flights in the “shoulder periods” (23.00-23.30 and 06.00-07.00), no loss of respite periods, no increase in noise for those already exposed to noise and a cap on the number of flights and passengers, adequate compensation/mitigation from Heathrow to communities affected by noise and no increase in noise and other pollutants affecting the Royal Botanic Gardens which could threaten its status as a World Heritage Site. We will also continue to campaign for noise limits to be placed on a legal footing, based on World Health Organisation standards, so that the public has better protection from the effects of noise on health.
The next stage in the decision process (apart from a judicial review by local authorities and the flight path design) is for Heathrow to prepare a detailed business plan and submit it to the UK planning inspectorate. We expect to participate and strongly object during the course of the planning process over the next two years.
The RHC represents three amenity groups in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames: The Richmond Society, The Friends of Richmond Green, and the Kew Society, which together have over 2000 members. The members of these amenity groups are adversely affected by noise from Heathrow Airport’s flight paths, poor air quality and road and rail congestion in west London. The RHC acknowledges Heathrow’s contribution to the UK economy and seeks constructive engagement in pursuit of a better Heathrow. The RHC is an active participant in the Heathrow Community Noise Forum.
Richmond Council published a press release on the lack of evidence of need for a third runway. You can see what they have said here. The release is based on the substantial body of evidence prepared by the Richmond Heathrow Campaign which you can see below.
The Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) has published a new report which shows, using data from the Department for Transport (DfT), that Heathrow is not full as claimed and that a third runway at Heathrow would be a costly mistake. You can see the report here: Need and Aviation Market Brief Summary Final
There is more information on the RHC website here
Richmond Council has published a press release, using data from the Richmond Heathrow Campaign, demonstrating the failure to plan adequately for transport infrastructures needed if Heathrow were to expand, nor to properly assess the economic impacts. You can see the press release and quote from Peter Willan, Chair of the Richmond Heathrow Campaign of which we are members, here
Delegates from the Kew Society, together with those from the Richmond Society and the Friends of Richmond Green, form the committee of the Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) which vigorously opposes the expansion of Heathrow Airport with a third runway. The Government’s publication on June 5th of its National Policy Statement supporting expansion, with conditions, is very disappointing, running counter to the evidence on economic, financial and environmental grounds, which do not support expansion, and based on an out-dated concept of a “hub airport” instead of the point-to-point travel people increasingly expect.
A Parliamentary vote will be held shortly. If approved, there are likely to be a number of legal challenges to the Government’s decision, including from the London Borough of Richmond working with neighbouring Councils whose populations will be badly affected if expansion goes ahead. The RHC will support the Councils with its substantial evidence base where it can. See the RHC website here.
RHC, represented by Peter Willan (Chair of RHC) and Caroline Brock (Chair of the Kew Society), recently met with the Aviation Minister to set out its evidence against expansion and to state its red lines:
- No loss of the 8 hours of daily respite currently provided through runway alternation
- No loss of respite from easterly departures (currently approx. 30% of the year)
- No increase in noise and other pollutants affecting the Royal Botanic Gardens which could threaten its status as a World Heritage Site
- No night flights between 23.00 and 07.00 and no increase in flights in the “shoulder periods” of 23.00-23.30 and 06.00-07.00 before a total ban is implemented
- No increase in noise for those already exposed to noise and a cap on the number of flights and passengers
- Adequate compensation/mitigation from Heathrow to communities affected by noise.
We also asked for noise limits to be placed on a legal footing, based on World Health Organisation standards, akin to the requirements on air quality.
Several of these issues apply whether or not Heathrow is expanded and are very relevant to the planned re-design of airspace which is also underway, regardless of whether or not Heathrow has a third runway.
The Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) were invited to meet Baroness Sugg, the Aviation Minister, with other groups to discuss our opposition to a third runway at Heathrow. We have followed up the meeting with a letter confirming the points we made and adding more background in support of our points. You can see the letter here: RHC Letter to the Aviation Minister Final
The Richmond Heathrow Campaign has today submitted its responses to these two consultations from Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL). You can see what we have said on the expansion proposals here: RHC Response to HAL on Airport Expansion March 2018 Final
and on airspace redesign principles here: RHC Response to HAL Airspace Principles March 2018 Final
Richmond Council’s press release gives some sound advice on why you should be wary in the way you respond to these consultations (below) from Heathrow. Take a look at the press release with quotes from Richmond, Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Windsor and Maidenhead Councils, all opposing Heathrow expansion:
Heathrow Airport Ltd has launched two public consultations from 17 January with responses due by 28 March. One is on the physical changes that would be needed on the ground for a new North West runway and the other is on the principles that might be applied to airspace redesign if an extended airport were to be approved. There is a local drop-in event on Thursday 15 February, from 12,00 to 20.00 at Richmond Adult Community College, Parkshot, TW9 2RE: https://www.racc.ac.uk/contact-racc/how-find-us
Broadly the consultation covers runway length, terminals, taxiways and roads, including the M25, and the impact on re-location of communities and compensation. A typical question is, should flight paths be designed over residents or over parks? Care should be taken in responding. If people say parks, this may encourage more take offs over, for example, Richmond and on to Richmond Park so a yes/no response could be misleading. The Richmond Heathrow Campaign will be preparing a response and aims to provide some guidance on responding shortly after the 15th February event. http://www.richmondheathrowcampaign.org/
We urge everyone to visit the event and respond to the consultations. It may be preferable to email or write to Freepost LHR Expansion Consultation or LHR Airspace Consultation rather than using the yes/no questionnaire which does not allow for a more nuanced response.. The website with all the details for responding is https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/.
This consultation by Heathrow Airport is not part of the Government’s National Policy Statement (NPS) process – see below. We understand Heathrow will use its consultation to set out the airport’s emerging proposals for expansion, should the Government proceed with its NPS and should Heathrow then decide to proceed with an application for development consent in the future.
A final decision on the location of additional runway capacity in the South East will only be taken after a vote in the House of Commons, so this consultation is being undertaken entirely at Heathrow Airport’s risk but is nevertheless important.
Consultation on the Government’s draft Airport’s National Policy Statement (NPS) for the expansion of air capacity in the South East of England has now closed. The consultation document took account of revised aviation demand forecasts and the Government’s final air quality plan. The Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) submitted its response after detailed review of the revised evidence which reinforced its view that a third runway is not justified economically or environmentally. It also submitted evidence to the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee.
The Department for Transport is now analysing all the responses. They will consider the outcomes from the consultations alongside any recommendations from the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, or any Parliamentary resolutions, before any final NPS is published in the first half of this year for a vote in the House of Commons.
Heathrow Airport Ltd will also be running separately its own consultation from 17th January to 28th March. This consultation is not part of the Government’s NPS process. We expect Heathrow will use its consultation to set out the airport’s emerging proposals for expansion, should the Government proceed with its NPS and should Heathrow then decide to proceed with an application for development consent in the future.
We have strengthened our engagement with the RHC through the involvement of Professor Roger Mason, now co-opted onto the Kew Society Committee, who has developed considerable knowledge of air pollution issues. Roger has joined our Chair, Caroline Brock, as Kew Society representatives on the Campaign Committee. Roger together with Peter Willan, Chair of the RHC, presented the Campaign’s economic and environmental evidence to the new Leader of Richmond Council, Paul Hodgins, together with Councillors Pamela Fleming, Stephen Speak and David Linnette and Council officials in December to help support Councils’ opposition to expansion at Heathrow. The RHC will continue to provide support to Richmond Council wherever it can.
The Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) has responded to two more consultations.
One, the first of 4 aviation strategy consultations by the Department for Transport, entitled ‘Beyond the Horizon – The Future of UK Aviation – A Call for Evidence on a New Strategy’. It covered the following topics: helping the Aviation Industry work for its customers, ensuring a safe and secure way to travel , building a global and connected Britain, encouraging competitive markets, supporting growth while tackling environmental impacts, and developing innovation, technology and skills. The RHC comments focused on building a better not a bigger Heathrow, the economics of air transport, air space redesign and on the environmental impacts of Heathrow.
The other consultation was from the Civil Aviation Authority ( CAA) on the Economic Regulation of Heathrow Expansion as contained in the document “Core elements of the regulatory framework to support capacity expansion at Heathrow (CAP 1541), June 2017”. The response focused on economics and surface access.
The Government have today announced that there will be a further consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) to take account of the revised evidence base for the policy decision – the revised aviation demand forecasts and the Government’s final air quality plan.
The timetable for this new consultation has not yet been announced but Sir Jeremy Sullivan, who is providing independent oversight of the consultation process, recommends the new consultation should last at least 8 weeks.
You can see the statement here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/update-on-draft-airports-national-policy-statement-process
We will be working with the Richmond Heathrow Campaign on a response. The NPS is a very important part of the process since it sets the framework within which Heathrow would need to make any planning application.
The Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) has published on its website ( http://www.richmondheathrowcampaign.org/) responses to five recent Government consultations. The responses cover the draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), which derives from the Planning Act 2008 and is the basis on which the Secretary of State decides a Development Consent Order (DCO) for Heathrow expansion. Parliament’s Transport Select Committee will scrutinise the draft NPS this Autumn before Parliament considers its adoption in the first half of 2018. There is also a response on the Economic Regulation of Heathrow and two responses on airspace modernisation – design principles and the process for changing flight paths – with implications for safe aircraft separation and acceptable noise reduction. This modernisation will happen with or without a third runway and is critical to the noise impact on 1 ½ million Londoners. The response on the draft UK air quality plan focuses on the failure to deal with Heathrow’s surface access and investment in public transport needed to limit the harmful impact of nitrogen dioxide concentrations around Heathrow. The Government has also announced the night-flight regime for the next five years, which remains unchanged in spite of all the representations seeking to reduce the noise impact.
The Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) has responded to the consultation by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the economic regulation of the new runway and capacity expansion at Heathrow. There will be a further consultation by the CAA in June and a final report in November 2017. The regulation aims to protect the interests of the current and future users of Heathrow (passengers and freight owners) from exploitation of the market dominance by Heathrow which would result from the proposed expansion, in so far as protection is not otherwise provided by competition and other laws. The CAA’s intervention can be through restrictions, for example on charges, or through incentives and penalties. The consultation just closed was on the principles the CAA will apply to regulation.
The RHC has also submitted comments to the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee which is looking at the Government’s preferred solution for expansion of aviation capacity – Heathrow – in the Airports National Policy Statement now out for consultation. The RHC will also be responding directly to the Government on the Airports National Policy Statement and other consultations in the coming weeks and months.
The RHC is also part of the newly formed No 3rd Runway coalition led by Zac Goldsmith which brings together the resources of the various groups that have sprung up to fight Heathrow expansion.
Heathrow Night Noise and expansion proposals
The Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC), to which we belong, has made a detailed response to the Government’s consultation on night flights. You can see the response together with the consultation document and guidance on how you can add your voice.here: http://www.richmondheathrowcampaign.org/.
If you have not already had your say, please do so now before the deadline of 28 February. The proposed new regime would run for 5 years until 2022 after the current regime ends in October 2017. The RHC argue the case for a ban on night flights between 23.00 and 07.00.
The Department for Transport is also holding events on the expansion of Heathrow. Our nearest one is on Friday 10th March at the Richmond Adult and Community Centre, Parkshot, TW9 2RE from 11.00 to 20.00. Brieifing is available on Richmond Council’s website:http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/heathrow/heathrow_consultations.htm
Heathrow Expansion proposals
Clearly it is very disappointing news that the Government’s decision is for Heathrow expansion despite all the evidence against the proposal. The Richmond Heathrow Campaign have issued a statement which you can see here:
We will continue to work with the Campaign to challenge this decision.
Some of you will have seen the press release from Richmond Council on the preparations they are making with other Councils to mount a legal challenge against Heathrow expansion on environmental grounds should the plans be supported by the Government:
This is one of the areas the Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) has focused on in assembling its evidence against Heathrow expansion. You can see the evidence on environmental and other issues here:http://rhcfacts.org/air/
No doubt you will have heard in the news the Government’s announcement of a delay in its decision on Heathrow until the summer whilst more work is done on environmental concerns – carbon emissions, air quality and noise. You can see the full announcement here.
The report of the House of Common Environmental Audit Committee is also available here: EAC Final Report Nov 2015 (1). The report refers to evidence from the Richmond Heathrow Campaign and makes a number of points we have also focussed on which you can see summarised here, including the need to adopt World Health Organisation guidelines on noise measurement.
We are continuing our work with the Richmond Heathrow Campaign to oppose Heathrow expansion on environmental and other grounds.
If you are following the evidence closely on the debate over Heathrow expansion you may like to take a look at the broadcast of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee on 14 October, including evidence from Lord True, leader of Richmond Council.Environmental Audit Committee public hearing
The Committee is examining the impact on carbon emissions, air quality and noise should the Government accept the Airport’s Commission recommendation for a third runway at Heathrow. The terms of reference of the Committee and a transcript of the broadcast are also available here.
The hearing covers many of the points we have been making as part of the Richmond Heathrow Campaign.
You may also like to read the summary evidence against Heathrow expansion prepared by 4 local Councils and sent to all MPs 2M group evidence
Thank you to those who came to the Richmond Society Forum event on Thursday, which focussed on Heathrow, and to the demonstration yesterday in Parliament Square.
At the forum event, the Richmond Heathrow Campaign, including the Kew Society, presented the evidence against expansion covering economic issues, carbon, air pollution and noise. You can see more in the summary fact sheets here and at the Richmond Heathrow Campaign website here.
The Campaign is continuing to lobby and seek media attention to get the evidence looked at again. The remarkable fact is that all the evidence is contained in the Airport Commission’s own Final report and does not support the recommendation made to Government. If you have media contacts please use them to get the evidence properly into the public eye or contact the Richmond Heathrow Campaign.
The Government is expected to make its decision on the Commission’s recommendation by the end of this year. If, despite the evidence, the decision is for Heathrow expansion, there is then a long process for planning approval which will be hotly disputed, not least because of the effects on air pollution. A number of organisations are already gearing up for legal challenges because of the UK’s continuing breach of air quality standards. Take a look for example at the legal opinion obtained by Clean Air in London here.
You might also like to see the current Government consultation on how it will address its current non-compliance with EU air quality standards. Greater London has the worst breaches of standards in the UK and will take the longest to comply, even without the impact of Heathrow expansion.See the consultation here.
The draft plan is the Government’s response to a High Court ruling won by Client Earth earlier this year which required the Government to come up with a plan by the end of this year to show how it will comply with air quality standards as soon as possible.
The demonstration in London had on the platform all the London Mayoral candidates, local MPs, the leader of Richmond Council, Lord True, Environmental groups and a local resident who has been campaigning to save her village and home for 40 years.
If you want to fight against Heathrow expansion here are 2 dates for your diary:
The Richmond Society’s Forum meeting on Thursday 8th October, 19.45 at the Duke Street Church, Richmond will focus on Heathrow. Come and here the latest from the Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) and ask questions. It’s £2.00 on the door for non-members of the Richmond Society.
And on Saturday 10th October at 11.00 at Parliament Square there is a demonstration organised by the newly formed Coalition against Heathrow expansion, including the Richmond Heathrow Campaign.
Please try to come to both events to make your voice heard.
We are continuing to work hard within the Richmond Heathrow Campaign to provide the evidence against expansion, much of which is taken from detailed analysis of the Airports Commission own published data. The RHC has now submitted its evidence to Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into “the implications of the recommendation for Government’s commitment on carbon emissions, air quality and noise should the recommendation of a third runway at Heathrow be adopted.” We are also working with the RHC on evidence to go to the new Cabinet sub-committee chaired by the Prime Minister which will decide on how aviation capacity should be expanded.
The Airports Commission published its final report today recommending expansion at Heathrow with a new North West runway. There are a number of caveats, including the need to comply with legally binding air quality standards which are currently not being met. You can see the report here: Airports Commission Final Report and the Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) response here: Richmond Heathrow Campaign Press Release. We continue to work with the RHC against this recommendation.
Any day now the Airports Commission will publish its recommendation on whether there should be a new runway at Heathrow or at Gatwick. We have worked hard with the Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) to condense 10,000 pages from the Commission’s consultations into a 2 page summary of the key issues. The summary is backed up by a set of 8 Fact Sheets covering each topic from the economy to the environment to safety issues. Take a look Richmond Heathrow Campaign Facts.
Do you or your family or friends tweet? Please use any channels you have to get these facts looked at so that the final decision is taken in full knowledge of the issues.
A letter from the RHC has gone to all MPs drawing their attention to the summary and the web site which enables the decision makers to drill down to the supporting evidence so they can make an informed decision.
Heathrow Expansion proposals
A very full response has been submitted to the Davies Commission by the Richmond Heathrow Campaign. You can see the reports here. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Heathrow and the Wider Economy has also submitted its evidence which you can see here.
There is some important evidence in the submissions, including the surprising fact that, based on the Commission’s figures, a third runway at Heathrow has no overall positive impact on the growth of the UK aviation market. For the UK as a whole, a third runway at Heathrow does not increase the total number of UK passengers or the economically important sectors of business travel and tourists from overseas. There is no additional growth in the number of UK flights or the number of destinations or overall frequency of flights and hence UK connectivity. Instead, the additional passengers using a third runway at Heathrow are matched by a reduction in growth at other airports, particularly in the UK regions. This is in spite of 60% of regional runway capacity remaining unused. Do visit the websites to read the reports.
All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report on noise
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) examining the proposals to expand Heathrow yesterday published its first report, focusing on noise.
Heathrow is the largest noise polluter in Europe, currently affecting 760,000 people. The report calls for a number of actions by Government, the Airports Commission and Heathrow Airport Ltd, including providing more information so that people can understand the effect that expansion at Heathrow could have on their lives.
This is the first in a series of reports which the APPG, chaired by Zac Goldsmith MP, will be publishing. Other areas it is examining are the increases in surface transport to and from the airport if it were to expand, the effects on air pollution, and the economic case for change.
The Kew Society is working to support the analysis of information the APPG is examining.
Kew Society work with the Richmond Heathrow Campaign
The Airports Commission held a public discussion session on expansion of Heathrow on 3 December which we attended as part of the Richmond Heathrow Campaign. Scheme promoters for the 2 Heathrow options – Heathrow Airport Limited and Heathrow Hub Ltd presented their proposals. Local Members of Parliament including Zac Goldsmith MP, Local Community Groups (HACAN, Back Heathrow, and Stop Heathrow Expansion), Local Authority Leaders, including Lord True for Richmond, and Business representatives all made their case for or against the proposals and the public were invited to raise questions. A similar event was also held for Gatwick. Zac Goldsmith and Lord True both spoke strongly against further expansion of Heathrow.
The Airports Commission has today published its latest report for consultation on the 3 options it is still considering for capacity expansion – two at Heathrow and 1 at Gatwick.
We will be working with the Richmond Heathrow Campaign on a response.
The Airports Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies is due to announce its proposals on UK airport capacity this Autumn. The period of consultation leading up to decisions by Government next year will be very important for Kew. To help everyone understand the debate and its implications for Kew more easily, we have prepare a “glossary of terms” often used in the debate and a table showing “A Day in the Life of Heathrow Noise” for Kew, under the noise controls that apply currently.
We are very grateful to the CAA for their help in checking the accuracy of both documents. Any remaining errors are down to us.
The Richmond Heathrow Camapign (RHC), on which the Kew Society is represented, has been very busy over the last few months responding to the Airports Commission requests for input to discussion papers and proposals on the future of aviation in the UK. Proposals, including those of the RHC, have now been published by the Airports Commission. The Commission will be short listing options for further analysis in the next phase of their work.
The last of the discussion papers is on noise. Responses to the Commission are invited by 6 September. Individuals as well as groups can respond. If you would like to do so, providing your own experience of noise around Heathrow, an easy-to-read guide has been produced by the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN)
It briefly summarises the Commission’s call for comments and helps you to submit a short, non-technical response. We hope you will be able to find the time to do so.
The Government have now announced their decision on night noise and other short term proposals from the Airports Commission. You can see a copy of the Government’s response to the consultation on night noise is here:
The decision means no changes to the current night flying regime at least until October 2017, nor to early morning flights.
The All Party Parliamentary Group chaired by Zac Goldsmith has now held its first meeting, looking at noise issues. They now have a new web site where you can follow their progress at Heathrow APPG
The Airports Commission visited Hounslow on 17 June to engage with local authorities in West London and meet community groups, including visiting local schools under the flight paths. After discussions in Hounslow the Commission visited Kew Gardens, unfortunately on a day of easterly winds so that Kew was unusually quiet but that at least had the advantage of easy conversation. Caroline Brock was invited, under the umbrella of the Richmond Heathrow Campiagn and was able, together with Councillor Speak, now responsible for transport on Richmond Council, and local Kew Ward Councillor Monica Horner to raise concerns and ask a number of questions of Sir Howard Davies and other Commissioners.
The Government are due to make their response to the Commission’s Interim Report any day now and the Richmond Heathrow Campaign will be looking at it very closely.
A new All Party Parliamentary Group convened by Zac Goldsmith MP has now had its first meeting. The Group will be able to invite expert witnesses to give evidence. It is likely to focus on noise, surface transport infrastructure and the economics of the proposals for Heathrow.
Zac Goldsmith also hosted a competition event at Richmond Theatre organised by HACAN for short films against Heathrow expansion. Over 800 people attended and were able to vote on 3 of the films shown, short listed by 3 judges – Holly Willoughby, Rachel Johnson and Hugh Grant – and presented by Gyles Brandreth. You can see the films in the link below.
As most of you will know, the Davies Commission on airport capacity delivered its interim report in December. It confirmed the need for runway expansion and said that the need was for one new runway in the South East by 2030 with the possibility of another, also in the South East, by 2050. Options for Regional expansion were ruled out. The Commission will say, in the next stage of its report, whether there is a need for a second runway by 2050 or not.
The Commission did reduce the assessment of UK demand by 2050 from 480 million passengers a year to around 450 million passengers per year. It accepted that there could be an increase in passenger loads – one of the key arguments in the Richmond Heathrow Campaign’s (RHC) case for no new runways. The RHC maintains that, based on the extensive research and data collection it has undertaken, there is no need for new runways. Increased demand can be met by improved efficiency in runway use and other measures.
The Commission is now considering 3 specific proposals – 2 for Heathrow and 1 for Gatwick – and is still evaluating the Thames estuary proposals from the Mayor of London.
The next 9 months will be critical in pressing the case for an evidenced based assessment of demand and runway capacity and for noise, pollution, financial viability, surface access and other issues to be addressed. The RHC continues to argue that noise and pollution need to be addressed now, not just in terms of any increased runway capacity, and is working closely with opinion formers, the Council and our local MP to get the right outcome.
The Commission’s interim report made proposals for the short term which include a trial to smooth out early morning flights which would mean an increase in flights between 5 and 6 in the morning in return for more respite later in the day. This is unlikely to be acceptable to people under flight paths.
There is also a current consultation from the Department for Transport on which comments need to be made by Friday 31 January on a new night-time flights regime to start from October this year. Check out the Richmond Heathrow Campaign website for the RHC response on this. You may want to comment yourselves using the link provided on the RHC web site.