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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.

Market pricing solution to pressure on Heathrow

Who owns the slots at Heathrow?

HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) today called upon both leading political parties to take up its constructive proposals for solving the problem of pressure from airlines to obtain access to Heathrow Airport. HACAN’s policy document, published today, proposes that market pricing for take-off and landing slots be introduced, either through slot auctions or by market-based airport charges set by a new independent regulator: OFAIR.

HACAN argues that when Heathrow and the other South East Airports were privatised the true value of Heathrow slots was not properly appreciated and the question of who owns the slots was not addressed. This vacuum has been filled by the airlines who assert that their so-called ëgrandfather rights’ give them property rights over the slots they are currently allocated. Robert Ayling, British Airways’ chief executive, recently said that for the airline to be required to give up any of its slots would be:

“wrong, irrational, unfair, potentially corrupt and against the public interest.” (FT 30th August 1996)

Slots are a public asset

HACAN argues that, on the contrary, Heathrow slots are a public asset and that the public interest requires that all airlines should pay a licence fee for both existing and any new slots of at least the price which they would command in an open market. This is how other valuable scarce national assets such as broadcasting frequencies are allocated.

In fact, under such a system, efficient and profitable airlines such as British Airways could expand their operations at Heathrow, by bidding for slots currently held by inefficient operators, without any negative environmental consequences. HACAN proposes that an environmental limit is set on available slots at Heathrow of 450,000 a year, the maximum capacity under current operating procedures, which will be reached by the year 2000.

HACAN estimates that market pricing at Heathrow would raise between £250m and £500m a year for the public purse. HACAN argues that the current system of cross-subsidy whereby part of the massive returns BAA makes from its monopoly retail operations are used to cross-subsidise airport charges for airlines is squandering substantial revenues which rightly belong to the public.

The subsidy to airport charges at Heathrow creates a destructive web of distortions including:

  • the perverse result that airlines pay half as much to use Heathrow Airport as they do to use smaller foreign airports, such as Frankfurt, or UK domestic airports, such as Newcastle (Heathrow charges are 60% of those at Manchester or Glasgow)

  • the economic lunacy of cutting charges to use Heathrow despite the fact that the airport is full to overflowing, while charges at underused alternatives such as Stansted are increased (the recent MMC review recommends charges should be cut at Heathrow annually by RPI-3 and increased at Stansted by RPI+1)

  • rather than airlines paying for the pollution they cause when using an airport which requires them to overfly the capital, they are incentivised to do so by large state sanctioned subsidies

Benefits of market pricing

Open market pricing at Heathrow would introduce numerous benefits:

  • the public would receive part of the economic benefit from the use of what are probably the most valuable landing slots in the world

  • the public would receive part of the economic benefit from the profits made from the country’s most valuable retail monopoly: BAA’s ownership of all retail space at Heathrow and the other London airports

  • market prices would bring supply and demand at Heathrow into balance, ending excess demand from airlines for slots

  • the price mechanism would do its correct job of ensuring valuable assets are used efficiently – those airlines which best met customers’ needs would successfully bid for slots, many of which are held historically by inefficient operators

  • the UK could lead the world in adopting ëopen skies’ policies and demonstrate its commitment to putting the needs of citizens ahead of airline ëproducer’ interests

Need for new independent regulator

As part of this new structure, HACAN is also calling for the regulatory system applied to Heathrow to be reformed and the 1986 Airports Act to be replaced. Currently Heathrow’s economic regulator, the CAA regulates the airport only to meet the interests of airlines and passengers, the majority of whom are foreign. By law, the CAA cannot consider the environmental interests of London and over half a million UK residents directly affected by the airport. (See letter from the Head of Regulation at the CAA, attached, confirming this.)

Airlines support market in Heathrow slots — on their own terms

British Airways and American Airlines are now publicly supporting open-market trading of Heathrow slots, as part of their bid for approval of their transatlantic alliance, but on terms that they keep the sale proceeds. This supports our case that there would be no serious practical problems with open market government slot auctions. In fact, a black market already exists in Heathrow slots, endorsed by the CAA, whereby airlines do sell some of the slots they are allocated at no charge and keep the proceeds. But when did the government hand over free of charge to British Airways and American Airlines, or Lufthansa, Air France and Iberia, and their shareholders, many of them foreign states, permanent property rights to land at the capital’s major airport?

Dermot Cox, HACAN Chairman, said:

“It is ten years since Heathrow Airport was privatised as the only monopoly utility without a policy to create competition and encourage market forces. We can now see the inevitable distortions which result from letting the state determine prices in a commercial market, combined

“with a regulator which is required to ignore the public interest. Both major political parties now profess their commitment to keeping out of industry and allowing markets to operate. But the substantial economic surplus from operating the world’s busiest international airport is being used to subsidise airlines instead of being channelled into the many far higher priority areas where public funding is required. At the same time the huge stimulus from subsidised airport charges is leading to pressure for expansion at the airport which is already destroying the quality of life in large parts of London.

“British Airways can afford to pay its way at Heathrow. So should the many foreign airlines which use the airport. Now is the time for the Government to assert its rights over Heathrow’s slots, value them properly and obtain a fair share of that value for the public.

“At the same time we need a new independent regulator, OFAIR, to handle the South East Airports. Heathrow Airport is the largest single source of pollution in London. It is scandalous that the airport is regulated solely to meet the needs of airlines and passengers. The airport must also be regulated to take into account the national interest and the interests of the UK residents whose lives it affects.”

For more information please contact:
Dermot Cox, HACAN Chairman, on: 0181 392 2996
or Gideon Nellen, co-author, on: 0171 499 8122