All posts by John Stewart

Latest news on flight paths; night flights; 3rd runway vote and Cranford Agreement

Flight Path Studies

Two separate studies will soon be underway looking at the impact of planes taking off more steeply from Heathrow.  Heathrow will soon commission work.  In parallel, the Civil Aviation Authority  will look at the climb rats at other UK and international airports and make recommendations in a report expected out in early 2018.

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?

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/update-on-the-airports-nps-and-a-decision-on-night-flights

Vote on Third Runway Next Year

Graying also announced that, while the Government was still committed to a third runway, there would now not be a vote in Parliament on it until the first half of next year.  The delay is because the General Election put things back by several months:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/update-on-the-airports-nps-and-a-decision-on-night-flights

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.

HEATHROW TO START CONSULTATION ON 3RD RUNWAY FLIGHT PATHS IN LATE SUMMER

PRESS RELEASE

 26/5/17 for immediate use

 HEATHROW TO START CONSULTATION ON 3RD RUNWAY FLIGHT PATHS IN LATE SUMMER

 Heathrow is to start consulting on flight paths for a third runway later this summer.  It told the Heathrow Community Forum (1) earlier this week that it will launch a 12 week consultation into the design principles people want to see the flight paths based on.  It will be seeking views on things like whether people want the flight paths concentrated on a few communities or prefer to see the introduction of multiple flight paths so the noise is shared around more equally.

Heathrow told the Community Noise Forum that it will be starting from ‘a blank piece of paper’ to put in place what would be the biggest change in flight paths since the airport opened in 1946.  Flight paths will be radically altered even it Heathrow fails in its attempt to build a third runway and remains a two runway airport. The changes are part of a world-wide programme to alter flight paths driven by new technology.  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, regarded critical at a busy airport like Heathrow.

The technology allows aircraft to be concentrated along narrow corridors.  This concentration has caused uproar in many America cities.  It also resulted in a four-fold rise in complaints at London City Airport when it was introduced last year.  Heathrow  favours multiple routes so as to give communities under the concentrated flight paths some relief from the noise.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the campaign group which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths said, “Whether or not they get permission for a third runway, Heathrow know they have got to get the flight path changes right.  With so many people affected by noise from the airport, if they get it wrong there could be major problems.  We will be pressing Heathrow to create as many flight paths as it can so that the noise is shared around as fairly as possible.  The alternative is noise ghettos.”

It will be summer 2018 before Heathrow provides a clearer idea of where the new flight paths will be when it will consult on noise envelopes.  These envelopes will show the broad swathes within which there will be flight paths.  They will not include 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.  There will be a further consultation on the detailed flight paths, probably late 2020, with a view to the new flight paths being in place by around 2025.

ENDS

 Notes for Editors:

 (1). The Community Noise Forum was set up by Heathrow a couple of years ago to discuss with community groups and local authorities all Heathrow noise-related issues and to involve the communities and local authorities in new initiatives at an early stage.

For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

 Survey reveals Hounslow as the most overflown London borough but……

Research carried out by the campaign group HACAN has revealed that Hounslow to be the most overflown borough in London.  Richmond is in second place but the surprise is that that only three of the top 12 most boroughs are in West London with Waltham Forest being the third most overflown.

Read the survey: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Most-overflown-boroughs-in-London-2016.pdf 

Environment Select Committee: Government not doing enough to mitigate impact of 3rd runway

Press Release

 22/2/17 strictly embargoed until 0.01am Thursday 23rd February 2017

 ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT COMMITTEE: GOVERNMENT NOT DOING ENOUGH TO MITIGATE IMPACTS OF THIRD RUNWAY

The influential Environmental Audit Committee in a report (1) issued today has said that the Government is still not doing enough to mitigate the environmental impacts of the planned new runway at Heathrow.

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said:  “If the Government wants to get Heathrow expansion off the ground it needs to show that a third runway can be built and run without exceeding legal limits on air pollution or breaching our carbon budgets.”  The report also found that the measures to tackle noise lacked ambition.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, the campaign group which opposes Heathrow expansion, said, “The Committee is saying in no uncertain terms that both the Government and Heathrow Airport have got to up their game big-time if they are to have any chance of getting a third runway.  They have got to prove they can deliver on noise, climate and air pollution, not just say they can.”

The report comes out just weeks after the Government launched a public consultation on a third runway at Heathrow.  The consultation ends on 25th May.  Later this year or early next year MPs are expected to be asked to vote on the runwayOnly if they vote in favour will a third runway become Government policy and Heathrow will be able to draw up detailed plans for it.

(1). The report: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvaud/840/84002.htm

ENDS

Briefing on Night Flight Consultation

No change proposed for night flight regime at Heathrow

The Government is proposing no change to the number of night flights at Heathrow.  The consultation document, released on 12/1/17 by the Department for Transport, argues that the current regime should continue for the next five years.  It will then be clearer whether a third runway will be underway.  Permission to build a third runway is expected to be conditional on a tougher night flight regime being introduced when it opens.

At present an average of 16 flights each night are allowed to land at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am.  There are no scheduled departures during this period.  The first flight lands at 4.30am.

The deadline for responding to the consultation is 28th February.

The consultation is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flight-restrictions-at-gatwick-heathrow-and-stansted

A HACAN Briefing on the consultation is available at  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Night-Flight-Consultation-2017-HACAN-Briefing-2.pdf

To read the HACAN Briefing if you want to just do a quick response: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Consultations-at-a-glance.pdf

Briefing on Airspace Policy Consultation

Consultation on Airspace Policy Launched

This is a hugely important national document which was launched on 2nd February, the same day as the National Policy Statement.  The two consultations run in parallel.  It covers key topics like airspace changes; respite; new metrics for measuring noise annoyance; and the setting up of an Independent Noise Authority.

In HACAN’s view this document contains a lot of positive proposals. Read our briefing: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Airspace-Policy-Consultation-Briefing.pdf

To read the HACAN Briefing if you want to just do a quick response: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Consultations-at-a-glance.pdf