Category Archives: Press releases

A decision for a 3rd Runway would erode hard-won noise benefits for Prime Minister’s Constituency

Press Release

 2/8/16 for immediate use

  A decision for a 3rd Runway would erode hard-won noise benefits for Prime Minister’s Constituency

Campaign group HACAN has claimed that a green light for a third runway would erode the benefits that the abolition of the Cranford Agreement would bring to Prime Minister’s Maidenhead constituency.  The Government is expected to announce its intention to get rid of it very shortly.  If it went, the number of planes landing over much of the Windsor and Maidenhead area would be halved.

For many years one of the key aims of Windsor and Maidenhead Council, backed by local residents, has been to end the Cranford Agreement (1).  At present on the days when an east wind blows every single aircraft landing at Heathrow lands over the area.  This is because the Cranford Agreement presents planes from taking off over Hounslow on the northern runway.  If it was abolished planes landing over Berkshire could switch runways at 3pm allowing residents a half day’s break from the noise, as they currently do in West London.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “It is deeply ironic that at the very time that the Government abolishes the Cranford Agreement to give the residents a much-deserved break from the noise, the same Government might give the go-ahead for a third runway which would erode most of the benefits.”

If the Cranford Agreement goes, residents would get an 8 hour break from the noise each day.  But, if a third runway is built, that would be cut to 4 hours as the quiet period of relief would need to be shared between the runways instead of the current two.

The Government agreed to abolish the Cranford Agreement in 2008.  But it became bogged down in a Public Inquiry.  Hillingdon Council, the planning authority, refused Heathrow permission to build the new taxiways needed to allow planes to take-off from the northern runway.  Heathrow appealed to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who is expected to announce his decision shortly.  It would be a surprise if he refused permission.

Stewart said, “Theresa May needs to be very aware that a green light for a third runway would take away many of the noise benefits her constituents have fought for over many years.”



For further information: John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650




Archive material reveals the extent of new Prime Minister’s opposition to a 3rd Runway at Heathrow

Press Release

15/7/16 for immediate use

 Archive material reveals the extent of new Prime Minister’s opposition to a 3rd Runway at Heathrow


Campaign group HACAN has unearthed archive material which reveals that the new Prime Minister Theresa May has been a fierce opponent of a third runway at Heathrow.  The information comes from material posted on the Prime Minister’s old website (1).

In response to the decision by the Labour Government to give the go-ahead to a third runway in 2009, May said:

“I know from all the letters and emails I get that many local people will be devastated by the Government’s decision. A third runway will result in thousands of additional flights, increased noise and more pollution for thousands of people. The Government’s promises on the environmental impact of this are not worth the paper they are written on – there are no planes currently on the market that would allow them to meet their noise and carbon dioxide targets.  As I suspected all along, the Government paid no attention to the opinions expressed by members of the public and have decided to push ahead with expansion despite all the environmental warnings. We need a better Heathrow, not a bigger Heathrow.”

 The archives also show that May has consistently expressed concern about night flights.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “There must now be a real question mark over a third runway.  Heathrow will argue that its proposals now offer more to residents than the 2009 plan but these archives make very clear that we have a Prime Minister who has expressed strong opposition to Heathrow expansion.”

Notes for Editors:

 (1). The key links


Heathrow rules out 4th runway and gets tougher on night flights in effort to secure a 3rd runway

Heathrow Airport signalled its determination to get a third runway by accepting most of the conditions set out in the Airports Commission’s report last year.

It has agreed to a legally-binding agreement ruling out a fourth runway.  It is proposing to extend the length of time planes are banned during the night by one and a half hours.  And it has said the use of the new runway will be limited if problems with air pollution persist.

Last July the Airports Commission, set up by the Government to look at the future of aviation, recommended a third runway should be built at Heathrow.  But it made clear permission should be dependent on tough conditions being met.  Today in its long-awaited response to the report Heathrow has accepted most of the key conditions in full.

Here are the details:

Immediate comment from HACAN:

Heathrow has gone further than most people expected in largely accepting the conditions set out by the Airports Commission.  And, in some cases, it has gone further than the conditions.  It had probably little option but to do so if it was to convince the Government to give the green light to a 3rd runway later this year.   Not to have done so would have counted against it.

HACAN remains opposed to a 3rd runway.  Our supporters to want a tougher night noise regime (we’ve long called for a ban on night flights before 6am) and more respite during the day but they don’t want to wait 10 years for a third runway to be built to get them.

But Heathrow’s decision to move on night flights may have implications even without a third runway.  There has been stalemate on night flights for decades.  HACAN has long campaigned for a ban on flights before 6am.  The airlines have stoutly resisted it and some have called for more night flights.  It is possible  Heathrow’s proposals may prize open a door on night flights that has been firmly closed for 25 years, whether or nor not a third runway is given the green light.


Shock £17bn taxpayer bill for Heathrow expansion

Shock £17bn taxpayer’s bill for Heathrow expansion revealed

Press Release

Embargoed until 25th April

Shock £17bn taxpayer’s bill for Heathrow expansion revealed

(Hits the front page of the Financial Times 24316 billion black hole)

And the FT followed up the story the next day with more detailed figures: Follow up FT article

UK taxpayers could be asked to fork out a staggering £17 billion to cover the costs of transport links needed to deal with a massive traffic surge from Heathrow expansion, according to confidential estimates disclosed today.

Transport for London (TfL) documents released following an investigation by transport and environmental campaigners have revealed a multi-billion-pound gap in the official figures for the costs of road and rail improvements required by a third runway at Heathrow.

According to the agency in charge of the London transport system, the real price tag for boosting surface access to an expanded airport is nearly four times the figure put forward by the government-appointed Airport Commission [1].

The revelation will reignite the longstanding controversy over who will pay for the road and rail works needed to deal with the extra traffic from a new runway. The government has made it clear that it expects aviation expansion promoters to cover any surface access costs, but Heathrow bosses have said they are not willing to pay anything above £1.1 billion [2].

An analysis of the TfL figures released today shows this would leave a shortfall of at least £17 billion. The funding gap is large enough to throw into question both the financing and feasibility of a crucial part of the project [3].

The documents, released to Greenpeace following a Freedom of Information request, contain the first detailed comparison of the contrasting estimates by the Airport Commission and London’s transport agency. They show the figures published in the Commission’s report failed to take into account the costs of key rail schemes, extra buses, additional operational spending and road traffic management.

A third runway at Heathrow is expected to put an extra 30 million passengers on the London transport system every year by 2030, stretching the network’s capacity to breaking point.

In the documents TfL stresses that all transport upgrades included in its cost estimates will be essential to manage the increase in traffic. It also warns that, if surface access issues are not solved, there will be ‘serious implications’ for the government ability to meet its legal obligations on air pollution.

Environmental and transport campaigners from Greenpeace, Campaign for Better Transport and HACAN are calling on the Treasury to come clean over the real costs of expanding Heathrow and guarantee taxpayers won’t be left to pick up the bill.

Back in February, Andrew Tyrie, chair of the influential Commons Treasury select committee, wrote to George Osborne asking for more details about the calculations which led the Airport Commission to come down in favour of a third runway at Heathrow.

Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: “These figures reveal a gaping hole in the financing for Heathrow expansion. The UK public needs to be told the full truth. If the government picks up the tab for the extra costs, this would be a £17 billion taxpayer-funded subsidy in disguise. It makes no sense to waste billions on a project that jeopardises efforts to meet legally binding targets on air pollution and climate change. George Osborne should come clean with UK taxpayers on whether they’ll need to bail out this project before it has taken off.”

Campaign for Better Transport Chief Executive Stephen Joseph said: “Astonishingly, this cost is even greater than the Government’s hugely wasteful national road building programme. Spending this amount of money in London would worsen the North/South divide, whilst bringing little benefit to the capital. What London needs is investments in public transport to help people get around the city, ease congestion and tackle air pollution, rather than squandering limited funds on unnecessary airport expansion. While people elsewhere in England might well ask: What would the Northern Powerhouse be able to deliver with this level of investment?”

 HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “What makes these figures so compelling is that they have not been plucked out of the air. Transport for London has done its sums. All their figures are backed up by detailed, painstaking work. The Government ignores them at its peril when making up its mind about new runways.”

Both sets of estimates include the costs of major road schemes such as putting part of the M25 in a tunnel and widening sections of the M4. But, crucially, the Airport Commission’s estimates overlooked the cost of additional buses, road traffic management, and major rail improvements such as an upgraded Great Western Main Line, a new rail link through Staines, and an extension to Crossrail 2 running from Teddington to Heathrow.

The Government is expected to give the green light to a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick later this year after the EU referendum has taken place.


All documents, including a summary table showing the contrasting estimates by TfL and the Airports Commission, can be found at

Notes for Editors:

  1. According to the TfL documents, the Airport Commission’s estimate for surface access costs adds up to £4.2 billion, but a figure of £5.7 billion has also been widely reported.
  2. Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye told the Environmental Audit Select Committee at its inquiry last year that Heathrow would only be prepared to pay £1.1 billion towards improved road and rail access.
  3. TfL estimates the overall bill for road and rail improvements to top £18.2bn. Taking out the £1.1 billion Heathrow bosses said they’re willing to pay, that would leave a funding gap of about £17 billion to be plugged.


Stefano Gelmini, Greenpeace UK press office,, m 07506 512442, t 020 7865 8255

Alice Ridley, Campaign for Better Transport Press Officer,, t 020 7566 6483

John Stewart, HACAN,, t 020 7737 6641, m 07957385650

Back Heathrow over-claimed support for 3rd runway

Advertising Standards Authority bans Back Heathrow Advert over its claim most local people back Heathrow expansion


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advert from Back Heathrow claiming that most local people back expansion at the airport. 

The lobby group, which was set up to push for a third runway and which receives funding from Heathrow Airport, was criticised for failing to provide polling data to back up its claim. 

Back Heathrow ran a regional press ad headlined “Rallying for the runway” which included with the line “Don’t believe the hype. Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion.”


The Advertising Standards Authority received five complaints that said the claim that the group had widespread local support was misleading.


Back Heathrow said in a footnote to the ad that the latest independent polling showed 60% of local residents had “expressed an opinion in support of expansion”.  The ASA found that to get to the statement of 60% in support, the Back Heathrow campaign had excluded 15% of those surveyed on the grounds they had not expressed any opinion, creating their own analysis of just for/against.


“Given that a significant number of respondents, who had expressed an opinion albeit a neutral one, had been excluded from the sample, we considered that this was not a suitable methodology by which to draw such a conclusion,” ruled the ASA. “We considered that the evidence held back by Back Heathrow demonstrated that only 50% of all those polled were in support of expansion.”


The ASA said that therefore Back Heathrow did not substantiate its claim that “most” people living in communities near Heathrow airports supported its expansion.  “Consequently, the ad breached the [advertising] code,” the ASA ruled. “We told Back Heathrow not to repeat the claims … unless it held robust substantiation for them.”


John Stewart, chair HACAN, the campaign group which opposes Heathrow expansion, “This ruling is a real blow to Back Heathrow as a cornerstone of its strategy has been to try to convince decision-makers that a majority of local people back a third runway.  These claims are now starting to unravel.”



Press Release

 14/3/16 for immediate use


 Heathrow may need to fork out nearly £2 billion on insulation of properties if a 3rd runway goes ahead.

Last year Heathrow announced that it was putting aside £700 million to insulate 160,000 homes if the Government gives a new runway the green light.  But research by campaign group HACAN, which opposes a third runway, suggests the figure could be much higher if the insulation is done properly

In consultation with UK Soundproofing Ltd of West Sussex and Tudor Windows of London, HACAN has revealed that the average semi detached house will cost about £11,800 to totally insulate a property against noise. The total coast of full insulation of 160,000 homes would be £1.8 billion.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “Heathrow are offering to insulate many more properties than they do today.  Our supporters welcome this but only if their homes will be fully insulated.  The cost of doing that would run into billions.”

Stewart added, “Admittedly, our estimates are based on costs for an individual home and there would be discounts if an order was placed, but it will still cost substantially more than the £700m originally put forward.”


Press Release

Monday 1st February for immediate use



Campaigners against Heathrow expansion today plastered George Osborne’s constituency with No Third Runway signs.  They put up the signs in the main street of Knutsford in the heart of the constituency, including one outside Conservative Party headquarters in the town.  The campaigners wanted to get across to the Chancellor, thought to back expansion at Heathrow, that a new runway would cost the taxpayer billions of pounds .

Peter Jones, one of the Londoners who went up to Knutsford, said, “We deliberately chose the day after people have had to get their tax returns in so as to emphaisise to George Osborne just how much public money will be needed to pay for the road and rail links for a third runway.”

The Airports Commission, which the Government set up to look at the need for new airports, put the cost at almost £6 billion.  Transport for London has put it even higher.  Heathrow has said it will pay no more than £1.1billion (1).

Jones said, “That leaves the taxpayer to find around £5 billion.”

Campaign group HACAN calculated that everybody in the country would each need to fork out £80 to pay for the road and rail links a third runway would need (2).

HACAN also unearthed evidence that £5bn could buy 83,000new social homes or 835,000 hip replacements (3).

HACAN Chair John Stewart, said, “The billions of pounds of Government money that would be needed for 3rd runway road and rail schemes might even make the Chancellor, George Osborne, think twice about backing it.”


 Notes for Editors:

 (1). Heathrow would pay for the runway itself but not all of the associated road and rail costs.

(2). If the cost is £5 billion and the UK population is 63,182,000 (2011 census), that’s £79 each.


HACAN Launches Major Report on Aircraft Noise and Health

Press Release

 8/1/16, embargoed until 6am on 12th January, 2016

New Report: Health of over a million people at risk from aircraft noise

Launch: Tuesday 12th January, 2 – 3pm, Committee Room 19, House of Commons; Hosted by Tania Mathias MP; Key Speakers:Tim Johnson, Director of AEF, Professor Stephen Stansfeld, Professor of Psychiatry, Queen Mary University of London

A major new report published today has found that the health of over one million people in the UK is at risk from aircraft noise.   The report, Aircraft Noise and Public Health: The Evidence is Loud and Clear, commissioned by campaign group HACAN and produced by the Aviation Environment Federation, has called on the Government to undertake a complete review of all its polices to ensure that they take full account of the health impacts of aircraft noise.

Here is the report: Aircraft Noise and Public Health the evidence is loud and clear final reportONLINE

And here is the summary: AEF_aircraft noise and health_FINAL3

Key findings:

  • People exposed to high levels of aircraft noise around Heathrow have a 24% higher chance of stroke, 21% higher chance of heart disease, and 14% higher chance of cardiovascular diseases compared to people exposed to low levels of aircraft noise
  • Over 460 schools around Heathrow are exposed to aircraft noise levels that may impair learning and memory
  • In the UK close to 600,000 people are exposed to night-time aircraft noise levels far above WHO recommendations

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “These findings are shocking but not surprising.  Aircraft noise is having a major impact on people’s health.  HACAN is calling on the Government to postpone any decision on new runways until a full health assessment has been carried out on each proposal.  Today HACAN is setting up the Heathrow Health Alliance to monitor progress.”




Campaigners post pre-Xmas thank-you letters to PM for refusing to give green light to 3rd runway….so far

Press Release

 18/12/15 for immediate use

 Anti-3rd Runway Campaigners post pre-Xmas thank-you letters to PM


Post box 2

Over the past week hundreds of people campaigning against Heathrow expansion wrote pre-Christmas letters to David Cameron thanking him for keeping his promise not to build a third runway and urging him not to break it next year when a decision on runway capacity is expected to be announced.  This morning three representatives of the campaigners posted letters through a post box in the heart of Westminster.

Last week the Government announced that it would postpone a decision on new runways until at least the middle of 2016.  It made clear that Heathrow and Gatwick were still in the frame.

In 2009 David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, pledged in a speech in Richmond, “No ifs, no buts; there will be no third runway at Heathrow.”

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, one of the groups opposed to expansion, said, “These letters are yet another indication of how strongly people feel about a third runway.  We urge David Cameron to keep his promise in 2016.”


Government postpones decision on new runway for at least 6 months

At 7pm on Friday 11th December the Government announced that it is delaying any final decision on new runways until at least the middle of next year.  It wants to do further work in assessing particularly the environmental impacts of a 3rd runway at Heathrow, the Heathrow Hub proposal for an extended runway and a 2nd runway at Gatwick.

The full Government statement is here:

HACAN Comment: 

This delay shows once again just how difficult it will be to build a third runway at Heathrow.  The last Labour Government tried and failed.  And now this Government has run into real obstacles.  Heathrow would require almost 1,000 homes to be demolished and part of the M25 to be moved and put in a tunnel.  It would mean a quarter of a million more planes flying over the city with the biggest aircraft noise problem in Europe and could cause air pollution to exceed the EU legal limits.  Many of these problems won’t go away however long the final decision is delayed.  The Government should face up to the reality that a third runway is unlikely ever to see the light of day. Although there are party political reasons for this delay, these should not obscure the fact that the real problem with a third runway is its impact on the area London and its people.