All posts by John Stewart

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

Briefing on 3rd Runway Consultation

Consultation on 3rd Runway Launched

On 2nd February 2017 the Department launched its consultation on a third runway at Heathrow.  It comes in the form of a National Policy Statement.  It will be a 16 week consultation.  In the paper the Government stresses its belief that a third runway is required to improve connectivity to countries across the world but it has outlined a series of challenging measures that Heathrow will need to take if it is to get the go-ahead.

At the end of the year or early next year Parliament will vote on the National Policy Statement.  Only if Parliament approves it will a 3rd runway officially become Government policy.

After that Heathrow will need to submit detailed plans to a Planning Inquiry.  It does not expect to get approval until at least 2020.

To read the DfT’s media briefing outlining the key features of the consultation paper:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DfT-consultation-press-release.pdf

To read HACAN’s press release: http://wp.me/p5NPQ9-YP

To read the HACAN Briefing to assist you respond the the consultation: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/National-Policy-Statement-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

Ministers must be bold enough to reject 3rd runway if consultation reveals real problems

PRESS RELEASE

 2/2/17 for immediate use

 MINISTERS MUST BE BOLD ENOUGH TO REJECT THIRD RUNWAY IF CONSULTATION REVEALS REAL PROBLEMS

Campaign group HACAN has urged ministers to be bold enough to reject a third runway if the National Policy Statement consultation, issued today, reveals real problems with the proposal.  As expected, transport secretary Chris Grayling when launching the consultation highlighted the importance of a new runway to the post-Brexit economy but HACAN, which gives a voice to residents under the flight paths, argues that the downsides of a new runway are also considerable.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “There is no way that a quarter of a million extra planes a year cannot but have a severe impact on many people’s lives.  A third runway will also mean the demolition of many homes and could add to London’s air pollution problems.  The Government must be even-handed in assessing the consultation and reject a third runway if, as we believe, its downsides are simply too high.”

Stewart added: “Heathrow still has considerable hurdles to overcome before a third runway can see the light of day.  The Government has for the first time made permission for a new runway conditional on it serving unfashionable UK destinations for which there is a limited market and on Heathrow ensuring there will be no increase in airport related road traffic if the runway is built.  These are very big asks indeed.”

The consultation will last for 16 weeks.  After that the proposals will be considered by the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee.  Parliament will vote on the National Policy Statement late 2017/early 2018.  Only if it is approved will a third runway become Government policy.

If it is approved, next year Heathrow will need to draw up detailed plans for the new runway which are expected to go to a planning inquiry in 2019.  Heathrow does not expect to get final approval for the third runway until 2020 or 2021.

The Government also launched a national consultation today on its future airspace strategy.  It will asking for views on the principles which it should use in making airspace changes – for example, if people prefer concentrated flight paths or a more dispersed approach.  But it will not deal with detailed flight paths.  It will be at least another 18 months before it becomes clearer where Heathrow’s new flight paths will be if a third runway is given the go-ahead.

 ENDS

 Department for Transport media briefing: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DfT-consultation-press-release.pdf

For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650