All posts by Aisling Lee

Heathrow Flight Numbers Reach BAA’s Terminal 5 Forecast 13 Years Early

BAA had greatly underestimated the number of planes that would use Heathrow.

Pressure Group, HACAN ClearSkies, presents abacus to BAA top management to help them with their sums

The pressure group, HACAN ClearSkies, which represents residents living under the flight path to Heathrow, presented BAA with an abacus to emphasise the extent to which they got their sums wrong over Terminal 5 (1). BAA have proved to be 13 years out-of-date with their forecasts regarding flight numbers at Heathrow. They told the Terminal 5 Inquiry in 1995 that by 2013, passenger flight numbers would reach 453,000 with Terminal 5 and that they would remain at that level. In fact, they reached that number in July of this year.

John Stewart, Chair HACAN ClearSkies, said, “BAA have been utterly discredited. The Inquiry Inspector, who is currently writing his report, must now look very carefully at all their figures. We have made an application to the Guinness Book of Records for the worst forecasting yet by a FTSE 100 Company. Residents fear that unless a cap is set on the number of flights landing at Heathrow the noise will become even more unbearable and safety problems will inevitably get worse.”

Notes for Editors

  1. A group of members of HACAN ClearSkies presented the Abacus, nicely mounted in marble, to BAA headquarters at 130 Wilton Road, London SW1 on Friday 25th August at 11am.

Follow-up: The press release received major coverage in both the local and national media.

October: HACAN ClearSkies launches an illustrated report on the way London’s parks are being blighted by aircraft noise.

Latest facts and figures on overwhelming opposition to T5

Democratic consultation reveals depth of public opposition to Terminal 5

The Public Inquiry into BAA plc’s controversial proposals to build a fifth terminal at Heathrow will be the longest planning inquiry this country has ever known, at an estimated two and a half years. It is also one of the most exhaustive exercises in democratic consultation ever undertaken into a major national policy decision.

This update gives the latest facts and figures on the near universal opposition to the Terminal 5 proposals which has already been revealed in the course of the Inquiry.

Terminal 5 is opposed by local authorities of all political parties

The ‘official’ opposition to Terminal 5 at the Public Inquiry is being organised by a consortium of ten local authorities (LAHT5) plus the two local authorities most directly affected. These councils and their political complexion are listed below.

LAHT5 Members

  • London Borough of Hounslow – Labour
  • London Borough of Richmond – Liberal Democrat
  • London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham – Labour
  • London Borough of Ealing – Labour
  • Surrey County Council – Liberal Democrat and Conservative
  • Buckinghamshire County Council – Conservative
  • Berkshire County Council – Liberal Democrat and Labour
  • Windsor and Maidenhead District Council – Liberal Democrat
  • South Buckinghamshire District Council – Conservative largest party
  • Elmbridge District Council – No overall control

Plus Planning authorities

  • London Borough of Hillingdon – Labour
  • London Borough of Spelthorne – Conservative

Plus other authorities which are not legally represented

  • London Borough of Wandsworth – Conservative

Terminal 5 is opposed by 94% of the 18,000 individuals and organisations making written representations to the Public Inquiry.

Terminal 5 is opposed by 84% of the 290 people speaking at local public sessions of the Inquiry

There have been 11 local sessions of the Inquiry so far, in July and September this year. Numbers speaking for and against are shown below.

Oppose Support

  1. Twickenham 9th July 1996 afternoon 22 5
  2. Twickenham 9th July evening 24 2
  3. Sheen 10th July 34 1
  4. Staines 11th July 23 6
  5. Feltham 11th September 19 5
  6. Sheen 12th September 30 0
  7. Heathrow 17th September evening 12 13
  8. Heathrow 18th September afternoon 18 5
  9. Hounslow 18th September evening 18 9
  10. Twickenham 19th September afternoon 19 1
  11. Twickenham 19th September evening 24 0

TOTAL 243 (84%) 47 (16%)

Terminal 5 is opposed by many local MPs and MEPs

The following MPs have given powerful personal speeches at the Inquiry opposing Terminal 5:

‘BAA: the neighbours from hell’

On 17th November 1995, Nirj Deva MP, Conservative MP for Brentford & Isleworth, addressed the Inquiry as follows:

“Thousands of people living in West London… are suffering a nightmare that never ends: aircraft noise. It is endless, uninterrupted, non-stop, unbroken and totally intolerable. There are not enough words to describe how merciless this problem is. Urgent action is needed and it is needed now. Building a fifth terminal will only make the problem worse, not better…

“The BAA who owns Heathrow Airport claim that they want to be good neighbours to the residents with whom they share West London. But in practice nothing could be further from reality. They are more like neighbours from hell…

“It is really very difficult, and I say this with some sadness, to trust what the BAA tells us…

“My view is clear, enough is enough, it must not be given the go-ahead. A fifth terminal at Heathrow is a wrong solution in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Note: Nirj Deva is the first MP to attack the Terminal 5 proposals on the Internet.

Toby Jessel MP, Conservative MP for Twickenham, addressed the Inquiry Inspector on 10th November 1995, saying:

“There are two areas in which I would ask you if you are willing to be particularly sceptical in the evidence that is placed before you. One has to do with the measurement of aircraft noise… The second area in which I would ask you to be sceptical is about the forecasts of the future numbers of flights, whether from BA or from the Airport Authority… The fact is that history shows that they have been miles out in the forecasts that they have in the past produced… Now we are told that if there is a fifth terminal it will increase the passenger capacity of Heathrow by nearly a half, up to 80 million, and there will not be a very large number of increases in the number of flights. I was brought up in the Royal Navy and I would say, ëTell that to the Marines’. I do not think I shall place any kind of credence on that forecast at all.”

David Mellor MP, Conservative MP for Putney, addressed the Inquiry Inspector on 10th November 1995 and said:

“Your task, Sir, is not made any easier by the fact that there is a climate of suspicion that surrounds us because of the inability of anyone in this whole wretched business of the development of Airports Policy to maintain a consistent course and be capable of not contradicting themselves either in thought, word or deed, within a year, or sometimes less…

“The essence of the matter is to determine why is it that it is wished to improve the facilities at Heathrow? Is it merely that Heathrow should be offering state of the art facilities with all the associated retail… is it merely to ensure that Heathrow can remain a flagship world class airport? Or is it to try and concentrate more and more of the aircraft movements into Heathrow? If it is the latter I would have to suggest to you, Sir, with respect, that that is an impossible thing for you to agree with, if you have any respect whatsoever to the basic right of millions of people. We are not talking now of just a small number of people whose interests could be lightly pushed aside in pursuit of the national interest. I am talking about millions of people here, because we have a very funny thing, do we not? Here is this airport, the biggest in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world… and there it is lying to the west of a great city. So every aircraft, or many of the aircraft which have to land, have to pass over the heads of millions of people in order to get there.”

The following MPs have declared their opposition to Terminal 5:

  • Matthew Carrington, Fulham Conservative
  • Harry Greenway, Ealing North Conservative
  • Jeremy Hanley, Richmond Conservative
  • Kate Hoey, Vauxhall Labour
  • Tessa Jowell, Dulwich Labour
  • Andrew Mackinlay, Thurrock Labour
  • Clive Soley, Hammersmith Labour

The following MEPs have spoken at the Terminal 5 Inquiry, expressing their opposition:

  • Michael Elliott, London West Labour
  • Anita Pollack, London South West Labour

Terminal 5 is opposed by most local community and residents associations

The following associations are just some of those which have officially registered their opposition to Terminal 5 at the Inquiry:

  • Association of North Thames Amenity Societies
  • Barnes Community Association
  • Bedford Park Society
  • Boston Manor Residents Association
  • Brentford Community Council
  • Brook Green Residents Association
  • Chelsea Society
  • Chiltern Society
  • Chiswick Protection Group
  • Colnbrook Residents Association
  • Council for the Protection of Rural England
  • East Twickenham and Riverside Residents Association
  • Egham Residents Association
  • Friends of Old Deer Park
  • Fulham Society
  • Hampton Hill Association
  • Hampton Residents Association
  • Harlington Village Association
  • Heathrow & Hayes Villages & Local Residents
  • Heston Residents Association
  • Hillingdon Community Health Council
  • Hillingdon Federation of Residents and Tenants Associations
  • Horton Parish Council
  • Hurlingham District Residents Association
  • Ickenham Residents Association
  • The Isleworth Society
  • Kew Society
  • Molesey Residents Association
  • Mortlake with East Sheen Society
  • National Trust
  • Old Chiswick Protection Society
  • Old Windsor Parish Council
  • Olde Hanwell Residents Association
  • Osterley and Wyke Green Residents Association
  • Ottershaw Society
  • Perry Oaks Residents Association
  • Poyle Residents Association
  • Putney Common Association
  • Putney Society
  • Richings Park Residents Association and Iver Parish Council
  • Richmond Society
  • River Thames Society
  • Selborne Society
  • Staines Town Society
  • Stanwell Moor Action Group
  • Strand on the Green Association
  • Strawberry Hill Residents Association
  • Teddington Society
  • Town & Country Planning Association
  • Twickenham Park Residents Association
  • Twickenham Society

Terminal 5 does have a small number of supporters, but closer inspection reveals they often have financial or other links to BAA or British Airways.

Terminal 5 is supported by Jack Aspinwall, Conservative MP for Wansdyke (and one time Liberal Candidate).

BAA plc pay Mr Aspinwall between £15,000 and £20,000 a year.

Terminal 5 is supported by the Confederation of British Industry

The President of the CBI is Sir Colin Marshall.

Sir Colin Marshall is Chairman of British Airways.

Terminal 5 is supported by the West London Chamber of Commerce.

The West London Chamber of Commerce has been set up since the Terminal 5 Inquiry began.

Core financial sponsorship of the West London Chamber of Commerce is paid by BAA Heathrow.

The West London Chamber of Commerce claims that 5% of businesses in the West London area are members.

Following its sponsorship of the West London Chamber of Commerce, BAA plc was honoured with the services of the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Sir George Young Bt, MP as a supporting speaker to Mr Mike Roberts, Managing Director of BAA Heathrow, at the Chamber’s inaugural dinner on 1st October 1996 at the Heathrow Hilton.

Unfortunately, Sir George Young is so busy sharing platforms with BAA executives that he refuses point blank to meet Professor Walter Holland, HACAN’s President, and distinguished public health expert, who has written to him voicing his concerns about the health effects of the Department of Transport’s policy of allowing aircraft to overfly London throughout the night. Even the less than high profile Minister for Aviation, the Viscount Goschen, is unable to spare the time to discuss the Department of Transport’s policy on night flights with Professor Holland.