New : Heathrow to consult on flight path changes in the Autumn
Flights paths will change whether there is a 3rd runway or if Heathrow remains a 2 runway airport as part of a UK-wide change to airspace – scroll down for further info
Where the parties stand on a 3rd runway
Conservatives: Back a 3rd runway
Labour: Welcome the work of the Airports Commission that recommended the expansion of Heathrow in 2015, but stop short of explicitly agreeing with that recommendation. A 3rd runway would be need to meet 4 tests covering the environment and the economic benefit to the UK.
Liberal Democrats: Opposed to a 3rd runway and any ‘net increase’ in runways across the country.
UKIP: Opposed to a 3rd runway at Heathrow and a 2nd runway at Gatwick. Will work with local councils to use under-used airports, particularly Manston.
Green Party: Opposed to all new runways
Of course, while those are the official party positions, there are candidates in all parties who are firmly opposed to Heathrow expansion.
Here is a list of key candidates standing the constituencies where most HACAN members live. The Election gives you the opportunity to email candidates to tell them what it is like to live under the flight path and to seek their views on a third runway: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Election-candidates-contact-details-1.pdf
And here is a list of election ‘hustings’ meetings – which will be updated regularly: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/GE2017-Hustings-latest-update.pdf
For those of you in East or South East London affected by aircraft from London City and/or Heathrow planes, here is a list of key candidates you might want to email. Maybe particularly useful to get their support to get City Airport to look again at its decision to concentrate its flight paths: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/HACAN-East-General-Election-candidates-emails-1.pdf
Mayor of London Backing No Third Runway
On 13th May London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined the local Hammersmith & Fulham No Third Runway Group to emphasise his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.
Third Runway timetable
Autumn: The new Government will consider the responses to the consultation on the third runway which ended on 25th April and the views of the Transport Select Committee which will hold a hearing in to it in the Autumn. Heathrow will also start consulting on flight paths – scroll down for more information.
Early Next Year: Expect a vote on the 3rd runway in Parliament. If Parliament approves it, it becomes Government policy.
2018: Heathrow will consult on its detailed plans for a 3rd runway, including flight paths
2019: Heathrow puts its plans to a Planning Inquiry
2020/21: Earliest Heathrow could get planning permission for a 3rd runway
2024/5: 3rd runway would open
Of course, all this might not happen! Local authorities are expected to mount a legal challenge next year. There are big problems around air pollution and the cost of the road and rail infrastructure to be ironed out. And the opposition to it remains considerable.
See HACAN blog: Why a 3rd runway is not a done deal: http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=531
Heathrow announces timetable for flight path changes
Heathrow outlined its process for consultation on flight path changes to the Community Noise Forum on 24th May.
Even if Heathrow stays as a two-runway airport Heathrow will be re-jigging its flight paths ‘starting from a blank piece of paper’. This is because across the world Precision-Based Navigation (PBN) is being introduced. It enables planes to be guided more precisely saving the airlines fuel, cutting CO2 emissions, allowing air traffic control to run a slicker operation with fewer staff and giving airports more resilience (critical at a busy airport like Heathrow).
In practice, PBN involves concentrated flight paths. In America a lot of the airports simply use one long flight path for each runway, creating noise ghettos and generating a record number of complaints. London City has done the same. Heathrow is looking to introduce multiple flight paths wherever possible in order to give people relief – essential if local communities are also to get some benefits from the new system.
Heathrow, in consulting on its flight paths, has decided to assume a third runway will get the go-ahead. But the risk it is taking is minimal because the early consultation will be on the design principles behind flight paths which will be applicable whether or not Heathrow becomes a three runway airport.
Summer/Autumn 2017: There will be a 12 week consultation on the design principles people want to see flight paths based on. Do people want multi-flight paths etc? This will form the first stage of Heathrow’s airspace changes but it double up as the first step in the Development Consent Order (DSO) Process. As you know, the DCO is what Heathrow draws up if Parliament votes through the National Policy Statement. It is not doing anything wrong in consulting before its gets permission as it is a voluntary consultation and, indeed, the planning legislation encourages this sort of consultation. The consultation will include local events.
Summer/Autumn 2018: There will be a consultation on the design envelope for the new flight paths. (By this stage Heathrow are likely to know whether they are likely to be planning for a two or three runway airport). The envelopes will show the broad swathes within which there will be flight paths. They will not include at the exact alignment of the flight paths but those who will be outside the swathes will know they will not be under a flight path.
Middle of 2019: Heathrow expects to submit its Development Consent Order (covering all aspects of a third runway; not just flight paths) to a Planning Inquiry.
Middle of 2020: Heathrow expects to get a decision from the Planning Inquiry on whether it can proceed with a third runway.
Late 2020/early 2021: The detailed flight paths options will be consulted upon.
Where to find current and past flight paths
You can find maps of flight paths on Heathrow’s website: http://www.heathrow.com/noise/facts,-stats-and-reports/operational-data/annual-flight-maps
You can also track flights as they land and take-off: http://webtrak5.bksv.com/lhr4
And you can see what the flight pattern was like over your house during the past six years: http://xplane.bksv.com/xplane/
Big concerns about flight paths, noise and new runway in Teddington
A packed public meeting in Teddington on Friday 28th April, organised by Teddington Action Group (TAG) and chaired by the local MP Tania Mathias, heard repeated calls for the planes over the area to fly higher and be less concentrated. There were also real fears about the impact of a third runway. TAG provided people with very practical steps they could take to make their views known about the third runway.
Overwhelming call for respite at Stockwell Meeting
A Public Meeting held in Stockwell on 25th April heard repeated calls for some respite from the noise. Stockwell, 18 miles from Heathrow, gets overflown by Heathrow and London City aircraft. It is under the concentrated City flight paths when an east wind is blowing and gets Heathrow planes throughout the day, sometimes between 30 and 40 an hour, when there is a west wind. The unanimous call of the meeting was for predicable periods of relief from the noise.
No 3rd Runway Coalition Launched
On March 21st a new coalition was launched to oppose a third runway at Heathrow. The No 3rd Runway Coalition consists of 18 organisations and is backed by MPs, peers and local authorities: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/antiheathrow-expansion-campaigners-plan-to-step-up-third-runway-opposition-a3494941.html
For details of the key groups, including local groups you may want to join: http://hacan.org.uk/links-to-key-organisations/
New Brentford/Hounslow Group Launched
Bash Runway 3, a new Brentford/Hounslow group opposing a 3rd runway, was launched at a packed Public Meeting in March. Details of the group can be found at https://twitter.com/bashrunway
Our Flickr page has great photos of pictures of recent campaigning events – check it out to see the range of protests that have been taking place
Third Runway Related Reports and Briefings
On 23rd February the influential Environmental Audit Committee released a report saying the Government has failed to convince it that it can deliver it promises on noise, air pollution and climate change re: a 3rd runway. Read more: http://hacan.org.uk/environment-select-committee-government-not-doing-enough-to-mitigate-impact-of-3rd-runway/
HACAN has produced a dramatic new briefing which shows the Government has significantly downgraded the economic benefits of a 3rd runway. Read the impact that will have on the regions: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/The-Economic-Benefits-of-a-Third-Runway-Reassessed.pdf (pdf)
HACAN has published three more new briefings:
What a 3rd runway will cost the taxpayer: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Briefing-What-a-third-runway-at-Heathrow-will-cost-the-taxpayer.pdf (pdf)
Just how many new destinations will a 3rd runway serve? http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Briefing-Just-how-much-new-connectivity-will-a-third-runway-at-Heathrow-really-provide.pdf (pdf)
Will a 3rd runway ever be built or will we just waste another 10 years? http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Briefing-Another-10-wasted-years.pdf (pdf)
Scroll to the foot of the page to find more arguments against a 3rd runway at Heathrow
Noise and Flight Paths News
Noise remains a huge problem for a lot of residents under the Heathrow flight paths. This short paper provides a brief overview of some of the key pieces of work which Heathrow Airport has done, often in conjunction with community and campaign groups, over the last few years to assess, manage and reduce the noise. It also looks forward to what is in the pipeline. A big opportunity to tackle noise will come when future airspace changes are introduced. These will take place whether of not a third runway is built. But since these new flight paths are unlikely to be in place much before 2014, it is essential that Heathrow does as much as it can to cut noise over the next few years. Read the paper: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Heathrow-noise.pdf
Heathrow’s latest Blueprint for Noise Reduction contains welcome measures in the battle to cut noise: http://www.heathrow.com/file_source/HeathrowNoise/Static/Heathrow_Blueprint_for_Noise_Reduction_2.pdf
The final results of the much anticipated respite report which Heathrow has commissioned from Anderson Acoustics will be available early Autumn. The purpose of the report is to find out if people valued respite and, if so, what does meaningful respite look like. The early headline findings are that there is strong support for respite; that, overwhelmingly, the type of respite people want, when given the choice, is a plane every couple of minutes followed by a complete break from the noise for a period of hours rather than planes spread across all flight paths all day long giving fewer aircraft at any one time but without any break. The research is the first of its type done anywhere in the world.
The importance of respite
Many people are in despair about the constant noise over their heads. 95% of the emails HACAN gets that contain a complaint are from areas which get no respite from the noise. Read more here: http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=477
Respite could bring real relief to many communities.
Read why HACAN backs respite: http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=486
And why ‘respite plus’ may be needed for people living in ‘hotspots: http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=489
Night Noise Research
The Civil Aviation Authority will soon be publishing research into the levels at which people start to get annoyed by planes at night. It is similar to the work they did on daytime noise which led the Government to recognise that people can become disturbed at much lower levels than previously accepted.
Study into SteeperClimb Rates
Heathrow is continuing with its study looking at how possible it is to get planes to take off more steeply and the implications of that for local communities (the greater thrust required to take off more steeply might result in more noise over certain communities). This work will be done over the next year or so.
Joint call for Independent Noise Authority
HACAN has joined with Heathrow Airport to call for an Independent Noise Authority to be set up. The unlikely allies have produced a joint report with suggestions of how an Authority could work in advance of a Department of Transport consultation on the subject, expected in January. The two groups have also sent a joint letter to the Transport Secretary.
Read the press release: http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Corporate-operational-24/8054
Check out our flight paths button for up-to-date developments: http://hacan.org.uk/flight-paths-explained/
Aircraft Noise and Mental Health
HACAN, in conjunction with the Aviation Environment Federation, staged a successful seminar on aircraft noise and mental health on 4th July in Parliament. It was chaired by Tanya Mathis MP. The speakers included Dirk Schreckenberg, one of the authors of the ground-breaking NORAH Study, and Matt Gorman, Director of Sustainability at Heathrow Airport.
Read latest blog on what could be done to ease the situation for people with mental issues living under the flight paths: http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=489
Here is the link to a powerful blog I put on the impact of concentrated flight paths on one man’s mental health http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=501 .
More on the 3rd Runway
The Government gave the green light to a third runway on 25th October.
Here is the official statement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-decides-on-new-runway-at-heathrow
The fact Government gave the green light to a 3rd runway doesn’t mean it will ever be built. The opposition is huge: residents, activists, local authorities, politicians from all parties. The earliest it will get final planning permission is 2020. There will be a lot of turbulence before it takes off, if it ever does.
In the short term we can expect a legal challenge from key local authorities, plus Greenpeace. Teddington Action Group has said it will mount a challenge in the courts.
In an unprecedented step, cabinet ministers who have been long-standing opponents of it – people like Justine Greening or Boris Johnson – can opt out of the decision.
What happens next:
In late January 2017 the Government will consult on
- Its wider National Policy Statement on Airports. In essence this is a consultation on its proposal for a 3rd runway. It will ask for views on the need for a third runway as well as on its local impacts. The consultation is expected to last 3/4 months. During that time the Department for Transport will hold consultation events in a fair number of boroughs.
- Its draft Airspace Strategy (but not individual flight paths). This will be wider that airspace and will, in effect, be a consultation on aviation noise policy.
In late spring/early summer the National Policy Statement (NPS) will be examined by Parliament’s Transport Select Committee
This will lead to a vote in Parliament to approve the NPS during winter 2017/18. Even that is not the end of the process. Heathrow will then need to consult on and lay its detailed plans before a planning inquiry. It does not expect final planning permission before 2020/1 and aims to built the runway by 204/5.
Theresa May has fiercely opposed Heathrow expansion in the past. For details see: http://wp.me/p5NPQ9-Wg
Short video on why a 3rd runway could curtail growth a airports outside London and the South East.
Why a 3rd runway is undeliverable
7 easy-to-read briefing sheets spelling out the 7 reasons why a 3rd runway cannot be delivered
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