Big majority of MPs back 3rd Runway
The Government got a majority of 296 after the debate in Parliament last night (25th June) on a third runway. It now officially becomes Government policy.
In total 415 MPs backed it; 119 opposed. 119 Labour MPs backed it; 94 opposed (Labour MPs were given a free vote). The Conservatives imposed a 3 line whip: 8 MPs defied the whip and voted against: Justine Greening, Greg Hands, Adam Afriyie, Sir David Amess, Bob Blackman, Zac Goldsmith, Matthew Offord and Theresa Villiers. The SNP abstained on the grounds that the guarantees of more flights to Scotland weren’t firm enough.
What happens now:
The local authorities, backed by the Mayor of London and Greenpeace, are preparing a legal challenge. They have six weeks to submit it. Heathrow Hub will also mount a legal challenge. The courts would be expected to hear the cases in the autumn.
Heathrow will start drawing up its detailed plans for the new runway. This is part of the DCO (Development Consent Order) process. These plans will be consulted next year with a view to going before a Planning Inquiry in 2020. Heathrow would be looking to get final permission in 2021, with a view to opening the new runway in 2025.
HACAN initial reaction:
- The majority was a little higher than expected. We had been expecting majority of around 250.
- With a majority of 296 the Government will feel they have a strong mandate to build the runway.
- There has been little change in the position of MPs over the last two years. In 2016 (in advance of the Government’s autumn 2016 announcement of its preferred runway option) HACAN spent £10,000 lobbying MPs. The indications then were that just over 300 MPs would back a third runway.
- Heathrow will be relieved that more Labour MPs backed a third runway than opposed, lessening their fears that a Corbyn Government would be able to overturn the decision
- The SNP played it very cleverly. They knew it would be safe to abstain as the third runway, which they back, would go through but by abstaining retained their position of never having voted with the Conservatives since 1979 (important for public consumption in Scotland) and put pressure on the Government to firm up the guarantees to Scotland on flight numbers.
- The Government and Heathrow will be under pressure to deliver on the conditions (such as a tougher night flight ban; respite for more communities) which may be made more stringent during the DCO process. This was repeatedly mentioned by MPs both for and against a third runway in the debate and the lack of firmer guarantees was the reason why Lilian Greenwood, the respected chair of the Transport Select Committee, voted against the Government.
- There remain doubts if Heathrow can overcome sheer logistics involved building the new runway
Cabinet backs 3rd Runway
On 5th June the Cabinet backed a 3rd runway at Heathrow. Parliament will now vote on the Airports National Policy Statement, which contains the plans for a third runway, with 21 days. If it supports the new runway, it becomes Government policy, though some local authorities are expected to challenge the decision in the courts.
Link to the full NPS:
Chris Grayling’s Statement to Parliament:
On the same day, the Government published its detailed response to the Transport Select Committee’s report on the NPS: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/713654/government-response-to-the-transport-committee-report-on-the-revised-draft-airports-nps-web-version.pdf
HACAN, along with Campaign for Better Transport, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, produced this short report arguing that the 3rd runway doesn’t meet Labour’s four tests: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Labours-four-tests.pdf
Scroll down for more information on 3rd Runway
Campaigners Flight Path Conference
A selection of campaigners who came from airports across the UK to discuss flight paths and flight path changes in York on 16th June 2018.
Heathrow Noise Action Plan
Heathrow’s noise action plan for the years 2019 – 2023 is currently out for consultation. Details https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/NAP/
The essence of successful campaigning is to shape the future. There will be a number of opportunities for aviation campaigners to do that in 2018.
2018 will be the year when crucial decisions will be made and pivotal policy positions set in train. Read about HACAN’s plans: http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=560
Read our 2017 Annual Report: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/HACAN-Annual-Report.pdf
HACAN – lobbying on your behalf
In addition to our more visible campaign activities, HACAN is an increasingly influential voice on a number of bodies set up by Heathrow or the Government. We sit on Heathrow’s Strategic Noise Forum and its Community Noise Forum. We have a seat on the new Community Engagement Board (CEB)* which will hold Heathrow to account on the running of the airport (including key matters like noise and flight paths) as well as oversee Heathrow consultation process if it gets permission for a new runway. We sit on ANEG, the Airspace and Noise Engagement Board recently set up by the Department for Transport: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/airspace-and-noise-engagement-group Our chair is a member of the European Commission’s Noise Expert Group and HACAN is a member of UECNA, the Europe-wide body which represents community groups around the key European airports: http://www.uecna.eu/
- Rachel Cerfontyne has been appointed as the first chair of the new Community Engagement Board. She spent her early years in Feltham, started life as a social worker and has over twenty years’ experience in leading public sector and charitable organizations. Her most recent role was as Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, where she oversaw their two largest investigations: the Hillsborough Disaster and the Rotherham Child Sexual Abuse scandal.
Commenting on her appointment, Rachel Cerfontyne said:
“My highest priority is getting out and about, meeting people in the local communities and hearing their views. I am keen to listen and learn and to ensure that the membership and activities of the HCEB are shaped by the key stakeholders, especially Heathrow’s closest neighbours. I’ve already started meeting with local community representatives and over the coming weeks and months look forward to engaging formally and informally from all who have a view on and a relationship with the airport.”
Government’s Developing Aviation Strategy: Next Steps
On 7th April the Government published a substantial document outlining the next steps in the development of its aviation strategy. It also includes the responses to the earlier consultation on the first stage of the strategy. Here’s the press release https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-puts-consumers-at-heart-of-the-aviation-industry and here’s the full report: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/697994/next-steps-towards-an-aviation-strategy.pdf
What happens next:
The Government will hold roundtables and workshops leading to putting out a Green Paper in the Autumn for consultation with as new Aviation Strategy published in 2019.
The Green Paper will ask for views on its six key themes:
- help the aviation industry work for its customers
- ensure a safe and secure way to travel
- build a global and connected Britain
- encourage competitive markets
- support growth while tackling environmental impacts
- develop innovation, technology and skill
On noise today’s document says on page 66:
Policy options that the government intends to explore include setting noise targets and aviation specific air quality targets; strengthening noise controls and enforcement of these controls; strengthening incentives to bring forward production and operation of quieter aircraft; enhancing compensation for those exposed to significantly increased levels of aviation noise in the airspace change process, and the use of other types of mitigation where noise reduction is not possible.
HACAN launches major new study
Today (3rd April) HACAN has launched a major new study which reveals the extent of the aircraft noise problem in South East London. Corridors of Concentration, published in conjunction with Plane Hell Action, a local group based in SE London, has revealed a dramatic increase in the number of flights over many areas of South East London in recent years. It also found that flight paths have become more concentrated.
Over a dozen areas from Clapham Common in the west to Greenwich in the east were surveyed. The number of aircraft audible from each location was recorded. Key counts were verified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The overall number of flights is much the same as when we last surveyed the area 10 years ago but this masks significant changes in certain places. Particularly dramatic was the increase in the number of flights in the far east of the region has increased dramatically: daily flights in the Brockley corridor grew by 135 between 2011 and 2017; Greenwich saw an increase of 165 a day.
The study concluded many more planes are joining their final approach corridors further east than before and are more concentrated within those corridors.
When people get annoyed by noise
The findings of the new HACAN study are supported by SONA, a study the Government commissioned from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA): Survey of Noise Attitudes 2014. SONA found that people start to get annoyed by aircraft noise at lower levels than previously officially recognised. This is reflected now in the Government’s Airspace Strategy which recognised that people can get annoyed by aircraft noise when it averages out over a 16 hour day at 54 decibels. Previously government argued it was 57 decibels. Some people get annoyed at even lower levels.
The chart above, taken from the study, compares the results of the Government sponsored 1982 ANIS Study with the new SONA study. SONA found 9% of people are highly annoyed when the average is 54 decibels. In geographical terms around Heathrow that goes as far as about Clapham to the east and about 16 miles to the west: about 65,000 people in total. The lower average of 51% extends about as far as Peckham.
The full study http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%201506%20FEB17.pdf
Not just a West London problem – people relate their experiences on video of living with aircraft noise.
Click here to look at the videos: http://map.hacan.org.uk/
Transport Select Committee backs 3rd Runway but with challenging conditions
The Transport Select Committee Report into the National Policy Statement (NPS) on Airports (essentially, the 3rd runway at Heathrow) has been published today (23rd March). The report backs a third runway at Heathrow but has come up with some challenging conditions including tougher air pollution targets and a 7 hour night flight ban. The Government will respond to the Committee in a few weeks time. It doesn’t need to accept the conditions but the Committee warns that unless it does it could leave the NPS open to a legal challenge. A Parliamentary vote is still expected in the summer. If Parliament backs a 3rd runway, it becomes official Government policy. Heathrow then has the task of drawing up and consulting on the detailed plans before presenting them to a planning inquiry.
Read the Report:
https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmtrans/548/54804.htm conclusions and recommendations
And a summary of key points HACAN has put together: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Transport-Select-Committee-NPS-Report-Key-Points.pdf
Heathrow consultations finished on March 28th
Heathrow Airpor held two key consultations. One set out options for construction around a third runway in the more immediate area of the airport including a possible shorter runway, moving part of the M25, changes to the local road lay-out and compensation for the Heathrow villages.
The other set out options for the principles which inform the design of the extensive flight path changes, driven by new technology, which will be brought in whether or not a third runway is built.
Read the official HACAN response to the airspace consultation: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/HACAN-Response-to-Heathrow-Airspace-Consultation.pdf
Read the official HACAN response to the expansion consultation: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/HACAN-response-Heathrow-consultation-expansion.pdf
Read the response from HACAN East: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/HACAN-East-response-to-Heathrows-Airspace-Consultation.pdf
Heathrow: timetable for flight path changes
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.
Early 2018: There was 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.
Summer/Autumn 2019: 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/
Check out our flight paths button for up-to-date developments: http://hacan.org.uk/flight-paths-explained/
Respite Report launched
Heathrow published its long-awaited respite report commissioned from Anderson Acoustics on 16th February. It is the first of its kind to be done. HACAN was part of the steering group. Summary video: https://youtu.be/7Z5mt7rKJgA . Where to find the reports: https://www.heathrow.com/noise/making-heathrow-quieter/respite-research
The importance of respite: scroll down
The impact of a Third Runway
A new runway at Heathrow would mean just over 700 extra flights each day. A total of 760,000 planes would use the airport. Currently there is an annual cap on flight numbers of 480,000.
West London will lose some of its alternation
If a 3rd runway is built almost certainly people in West London under the existing flight paths will lose part of the half day’s break from the noise they currently enjoy. Some of the extra 700 planes using the airport will be on the existing runway.
Can a three runway Heathrow, with 700 more planes a day, be quieter than the airport is today? Check out the HACAN blog: http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=542
Scroll down for more information on the 3rd runway.
Third Runway campaigning
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.
Not all trade unions back a 3rd runway
UNITE and the GMB unions back a 3rd runway at Heathrow and like to give the impression union backing for it is universal. That is simply not the case. Above, Tahir Latif from PCS Union explaining why his union opposes a 3rd runway, speaking at a public meeting organised by BASH in Hounslow on 26th October.
Here the transcript of his speech: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/heathrow-third-runway-speech-@-BASH-mtg-26-10-17.pdf
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)
Why a 3rd runway is undeliverable
7 easy-to-read briefing sheets spelling out the 7 reasons why a 3rd runway cannot be delivered
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
Theresa May has fiercely opposed Heathrow expansion in the past. For details see: http://wp.me/p5NPQ9-Wg
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
24th October: Government published its Airspace Policy
There is much to be welcomed in it and contains some measures – such as the establishment of an independent noise authority and improved noise metrics – that HACAN has been campaigning for for many, many years. We’ll have more on it in due course but here is our summary of the key measures: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Airspace-Policy.pdf
CAA to carry out work on steeper departures
There has been a consistent call from residents for aircraft to take-off more steeply. The Civil Aviation Authority is about to undertake a major study to see what can be done, including the wider implications of steeper departures: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/CAA_Departure_noise_update_Sep_2017.pdf
Night Flights – No Change
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced on 13th July that the night flight regime at Heathrow would remain substantially unchanged for the next five years: Hope you’re well… Not sure if you’re around or if you could pass this on to a colleague but wondered how significant this was, and your reaction?
HACAN has commissioned an independent report which suggested that – in the event of a third runway being built – an eight hour night flight regime could become the norm: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/AvGen-study-v1.1.pdf
End of Cranford Agreement Postponed
The Government abolished the Cranford Agreement in 2009. This was the 50 year old understanding that planes did not take off from the northern runway over Cranford, at the Hounslow end of the runway. It meant that, when an east wind blows, all planes must land over Windsor on the northern runway so that they can take off from the southern runway. This has denied Windsor the half day’s break from the noise which West London enjoys.
Heathrow needed to do work on its taxiways to allow planes to take off from the northern runway. It got permission to this at a public inquiry but now wants to do further work on the taxiways so they fit in with any third runway. It is therefore planning to roll this further work into its more general detailed work on a third runway. If things go according to plan, it will not get planning permission for this until 2020/2021 after which the Cranford Agreement could become operational.
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.
Help us by joining our cause and helping the campaign here.
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 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
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 .