CAA accepts Iteration 2 of the Airspace Change Masterplan

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published its decision to accept the latest iteration of the airspace change masterplan, developed by the Airspace Change Organising Group (ACOG), into its Airspace Modernisation Strategy (AMS). This is a significant milestone towards modernising the UKs airspace to deliver quicker, quieter, and cleaner journeys.

The purpose of the airspace change masterplan is to identify which UK airspace design changes need to be developed to achieve the benefits of airspace modernisation and then set out a single coordinated implementation plan to deliver those benefits. ACOG is taking an iterative approach to developing the masterplan and will be undertaking public engagement exercises this year. You can find out more about ACOG and its plans on its website at www.acog.aero.
 
This iteration of the masterplan identifies which airspace change proposals (ACPs) that are part of the masterplan will need to move forward together in a co-ordinated manner. It also describes the nature of potential interactions between those different ACPs. The masterplan does not contain the details of specific proposals or proposed flightpaths.
 
The airspace changes identified within the masterplan will have to be considered through the CAA’s separate evidence based and engagement led airspace change process, known as CAP 1616. The acceptance of the second iteration means that relevant airspace change sponsors can now progress towards a CAP1616 Stage 2 gateway assessment, where the CAA must be satisfied that sponsors have followed the process correctly before they can move to the next stage in the process.

MPs and Peers lament abolition of ICCAN

Following the announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport that ICCAN was to be abolished, a cross-party group of 13 MPs and Peers have written to Grant Shapps setting out the continued need for a strong independent voice to reflect community concerns about aviation noise.

You can read the letter in full here below.

A successful AGM

It was pleasure to welcome over 50 members to our in-person AGM this past Thursday.

We were delighted to be joined by Sarah Olney MP who provided an excellent speech highlighting her thoughts on the next steps in the campaign against Heathrow expansion, her recent Parliamentary activities on aviation and her commitment to ensuring that the Government take meaningful action on aircraft noise following the abolition of ICCAN.

It was also fitting for members to finally be able to say thank you to our former Chair John Stewart for his efforts over the previous 20 years.

Campaigners say UK airport expansion plans must be suspended amid new climate goals

HACAN has joined 15 national and community campaign groups calling on the Government to place a moratorium on airport expansion.

Together we have written to the Transport Secretary and the Communities, Housing and Local Government Secretary. You can see the letter in full here.

The letter has been picked up by the Guardian and HACAN have issued a press release here.

Covid Impact on Heathrow

Post-Covid Heathrow is in a very different place. It held its Community Noise Forum online yesterday. A useful report was given by the airport on the current state of play.  Below are the main points:

  • Heathrow passenger numbers are down 82% on where they were last year.
  • Heathrow is losing £5m a day (that is the amount its costs exceed the revenue coming in)
  • It doesn’t expect passenger numbers to be back to their 2019 levels until around 2025
  • Senior management staff levels have had to be reduced by a third (involving around 400 compulsory redundancies)
  • All expenditure, except for that needed to keep the airport operating, has been paused
  • Heathrow remains committed to community engagement but will review the form it will take in the light of its financial circumstances.
  • Its commitment to minimising the impact of noise has not changed.
  • The holding stacks are not required to be used just now because of the big fall in the number of flights
  • Some more direct routes are being used
  • As expected, with far fewer flights, the number of late-running planes (those arriving or taking off after 23.30) has been reduced significantly.

Noise levels fall dramatically during lockdown


21/05/20

Today’s Times carries a remarkably good article on noise:

One of the great compensations of lockdown is hearing less noise, at least of the external, ungovernable kind.  Everywhere people are marvelling at hearing the complexity of birdsong, the peacefulness of streets with so little traffic, the pleasure of walking in parks without aircraft rumbling overhead.

This is a remarkable, temporary liberation from one of the greatest and least considered sources of stress in our lives. Most of us are battered by noise every day.  The imposition of noise and the level of it has risen sharply over the past 40 years. 

It goes on to outline how noise can impact our health, well-being and productivity at work and ends with a rally call:

Let’s campaign for more bicycles, quieter road surfaces, lower speeds, fewer planes, minimal announcements, restrictions on the construction hours the government has just, mistakenly, extended. It’s what our hearts and minds not only want but cannot flourish without.

The full article can be found here:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/The_Times2020-05-21_page22-1.pdf

Court grants Heathrow leave to appeal on third runway

PRESS RELEASE

7/05/20 for immediate use

Campaign group HACAN, which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths, has said that today’s judgement (1), to grant Heathrow leave to appeal does not mean a third runway is back on track.

Heathrow was granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in its bid to overturn the verdict of the Court of Appeal, delivered in February, that the Government had failed to take account of the Paris Agreement on climate change in making its decision to allow Heathrow to start drawing up detailed plans for a third runway (1).

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “Today’s ruling was much as expected.  The surprise would have been if an appeal on an issue as big as this had not been allowed.  What it does not mean is that the third runway is back on track.  Heathrow remains very much on its own as the Government is not backing its appeal.”

Stewart added the post-virus situation adds to the unlikelihood of a third runway ever being built: “There is real uncertainty about future demand as the country emerges from lockdown.  Investors will want to make sure they will get a real return on their money before agreeing to the £14 billion needed for a third runway which could easily rise by the time it goes ahead.”

The court did not give a date when the appeal would be heard

The Government has said it will abide by the decision on the Supreme Court.  If Heathrow wins it will be able to resume drawing up its plans for a third runway to be presented to a Public Inquiry,

probably within the next two years.  The Government, though, would have the final say as it would need to endorse or overrule the recommendation of the planning inspectors.

ENDS

Notes for editors

(1). https://www.supremecourt.uk/news/permission-to-appeal-decisions-07-may-2020.html

(2). On 28th February the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government’s policy on a third runway at Heathrow was illegal. It found that the Department for Transport should have taken the climate change implications of the Paris Agreement into account when drawing up the National Policy Statement which outlined its plans for a third runway. The court invited the Government to review the climate section of the National Policy Statement (NPS).  The NPS, drawn up by the Department for Transport, put forward the case for a third runway at Heathrow.  In June 2018 the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted in favour of the NPS by 415 votes to 119.

That gave Heathrow the green light to draw up detailed plans for the new runway.  Those plans would need to be put to be put to a Public Inquiry but the principle of a third runway had been agreed by Parliament.  What the Court of Appeal found was that the NPS was unlawful because it had not taken into consideration the Paris Agreement and the commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Court did not rule against a third runway and invited the Government to reconsider and amend what the NPS about the third runway in order to take account of the Paris Agreement.  In normal circumstances that it what a Government would do so that the project would be delayed rather than abandoned.  But it is widely assumed that the Prime Minister Boris Johnston, a long-standing opponent of Heathrow, will amend the NPS to kill off a third runway.  The Government decided not to appeal.

For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650 

Court rules Government policy on 3rd Runway illegal

28/2/20

The Court of Appeal  ruled that the Government’s policy on a third runway at Heathrow was illegal. It found that the Department for Transport should have taken the climate change implications of the Paris Agreement into account when drawing up the National Policy Statement which outlined its plans for a third runway. The court invited the Government to review the climate section of the National Policy Statement.

What the court ruling means

(This is a longer piece than we normally put on our home page but we feel the potential importance of the decision justifies it – if you want to send this story as link, use https://hacan.org.uk/?p=5971

The National Policy Statement on Airports (NPS), drawn up by the Department for Transport, put forward the case for a third runway at Heathrow.

In June 2018 the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted in favour of the NPS by 415 votes to 119.

That gave Heathrow the green light to draw up detailed plans for the new runway.  Those plans would need to be put to be put to a Public Inquiry but the principle of a third runway had been agreed by Parliament.

What the Court of Appeal found was that the NPS was unlawful because it had not taken into consideration the Paris Agreement and the commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Here is the key paragraph of the judgement:

” Our decision should be properly understood. We have not decided, and could not decide, that there will be no third runway at Heathrow. We have not found that a national policy statement supporting this project is necessarily incompatible with the United Kingdom’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change under the Paris Agreement, or with any other policy the Government may adopt or international obligation it may undertake. The consequence of our decision is that the Government will now have the opportunity to reconsider the ANPS in accordance with the clear statutory requirements that Parliament has imposed (paragraph 285).”

The Court has not said there will be no third runway but is inviting the Government to reconsider and amend what the NPS about the third runway in order to take account of the Paris Agreement.

In normal circumstances that it what a Government would do so that the project would be delayed rather than abandoned.  But it is widely assumed that the Prime Minister Boris Johnston, a long-standing opponent of Heathrow, will amend the NPS to kill off a third runway.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a statement to Parliament yesterday, said: “The court’s judgment is complex and requires careful consideration. We will set out our next steps in due course”.

The NPS, for example, could be amended to allow expansion at other airports instead of the third runway at Heathrow.  That is what Grant Shapps hinted at in his statement.

“We fully recognise the importance of the aviation sector for the whole of the UK economy. The UK’s airports support connections to over 370 overseas destinations in more than 100 countries facilitating trade, investment and tourism. It facilitates £95.2 billion of UK’s non-EU trade exports; contributes at least £14 billion directly to GDP; supports over half a million jobs and underpins the competitiveness and global reach of our national and our regional economies. Under our wider “making best use” policy, airports across the UK are already coming forward with ambitious proposals to invest in their infrastructure”.

The Government has said that it will not appeal to the Supreme Court to get yesterday’s decision overturned.

Heathrow will appeal to the Supreme Court but might struggle to overturn yesterday’s decision without Government backing.

It is expected that Heathrow will continue to draw up, and consult on, its detailed plans for a third runway while the appeal is being taken to the Supreme Court.

Except for the ruling on climate change, the Court found all other aspects of the NPS – on noise, air pollution etc – were lawful.

Appeal Court’s summary of its Judgement:  https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Heathrow-summary-of-judgments-26-February-2020-online-version.pdf

Full Judgement:-  https://www.judiciary.uk/judgments/r-friends-of-the-earth-v-secretary-of-state-for-transport-and-others/

What will the Government do if it drops a third runway? It is clear from Shapps statement to Parliament that it will encourage expansion to take place at other airports.  I suspect, too, that Heathrow will come back with plans to increase the number of flights using the airport by abandoning/reducing the half day’s runway alternation enjoyed by communities in West London.  There might also be a push from the airlines for more night flights.

The re-organisation of Heathrow’s flight paths will continue as it has been driven by new technology not by the third runway.

The ruling could have implications for other large projects.  The Court has ruled that projects must be assessed to ensure they adhere to the Paris Agreement and ate compatible with achieving a zero-carbon target by 2050. There are being questions raised today over the Government’s £28bn road building programme.   And, although the Paris Agreement regulations are carried out on a national basis, other countries will be looking with interest at this judgement. 

Court rules Government policy on 3rd Runway illegal

28/2/20

The Court of Appeal  ruled that the Government’s policy on a third runway at Heathrow was illegal. It found that the Department for Transport should have taken the climate change implications of the Paris Agreement into account when drawing up the National Policy Statement which outlined its plans for a third runway. The court invited the Government to review the climate section of the National Policy Statement.

What the court ruling means

(This is a longer piece than we normally put up but we feel the potential importance of the decision justifies it – if you want to send this story as a link, use https://hacan.org.uk/?p=5971 )

The National Policy Statement on Airports (NPS), drawn up by the Department for Transport, put forward the case for a third runway at Heathrow.

In June 2018 the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted in favour of the NPS by 415 votes to 119.

That gave Heathrow the green light to draw up detailed plans for the new runway.  Those plans would need to be put to be put to a Public Inquiry but the principle of a third runway had been agreed by Parliament.

What the Court of Appeal found was that the NPS was unlawful because it had not taken into consideration the Paris Agreement and the commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Here is the key paragraph of the judgement:

” Our decision should be properly understood. We have not decided, and could not decide, that there will be no third runway at Heathrow. We have not found that a national policy statement supporting this project is necessarily incompatible with the United Kingdom’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change under the Paris Agreement, or with any other policy the Government may adopt or international obligation it may undertake. The consequence of our decision is that the Government will now have the opportunity to reconsider the ANPS in accordance with the clear statutory requirements that Parliament has imposed (paragraph 285).”

The Court has not said there will be no third runway but is inviting the Government to reconsider and amend what the NPS about the third runway in order to take account of the Paris Agreement.

In normal circumstances that it what a Government would do so that the project would be delayed rather than abandoned.  But it is widely assumed that the Prime Minister Boris Johnston, a long-standing opponent of Heathrow, will amend the NPS to kill off a third runway. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a statement to Parliament yesterday, said: “The court’s judgment is complex and requires careful consideration. We will set out our next steps in due course”.

The NPS, for example, could be amended to allow expansion at other airports instead of the third runway at Heathrow.  That is what Grant Shapps hinted at in his statement.

“We fully recognise the importance of the aviation sector for the whole of the UK economy. The UK’s airports support connections to over 370 overseas destinations in more than 100 countries facilitating trade, investment and tourism. It facilitates £95.2 billion of UK’s non-EU trade exports; contributes at least £14 billion directly to GDP; supports over half a million jobs and underpins the competitiveness and global reach of our national and our regional economies. Under our wider “making best use” policy, airports across the UK are already coming forward with ambitious proposals to invest in their infrastructure”.

The Government has said that it will not appeal to the Supreme Court to get yesterday’s decision overturned.

Heathrow will appeal to the Supreme Court but might struggle to overturn yesterday’s decision without Government backing.

It is expected that Heathrow will continue to draw up, and consult on, its detailed plans for a third runway while the appeal is being taken to the Supreme Court.

Except for the ruling on climate change, the Court found all other aspects of the NPS – on noise, air pollution etc – were lawful.

Appeal Court’s summary of its Judgement:  https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Heathrow-summary-of-judgments-26-February-2020-online-version.pdf

Full Judgement:-  https://www.judiciary.uk/judgments/r-friends-of-the-earth-v-secretary-of-state-for-transport-and-others/

What will the Government do if it drops a third runway? It is clear from Shapps statement to Parliament that it will encourage expansion to take place at other airports.  I suspect, too, that Heathrow will come back with plans to increase the number of flights using the airport by abandoning/reducing the half day’s runway alternation enjoyed by communities in West London.  There might also be a push from the airlines for more night flights.

The re-organisation of Heathrow’s flight paths will continue as it has been driven by new technology not by the third runway.

The ruling could have implications for other large projects.  The Court has ruled that projects must be assessed to ensure they adhere to the Paris Agreement and ate compatible with achieving a zero-carbon target by 2050. There are being questions raised today over the Government’s £28bn road building programme.   And, although the Paris Agreement regulations are carried out on a national basis, other countries will be looking with interest at this judgement.