10 key players

1.  The Department for Transport (DFT) is the Government Department responsible for aviation.

The Secretary of State for Transport is in overall charge but usually one of the junior ministers has specific responsibility for aviation. The DfT decides how many flights are allowed to use Heathrow, sets the night flights limit and, in conjunction with the rest of the Cabinet, will have the final say on big decisions like whether or not to build a third runway.

2. DEFRA (the Environment Department) leads on noise and air pollution.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change sets overall climate change targets.

In practice, though, when it comes to aviation the DfT is likely to be the strongest voice on noise, air pollution and climate change policy. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is a semi-independent quango, largely funded by the aviation industry, which advises Government on more technical aviation matters, particularly around safety.

3.  National Air Traffic Control (NATS) is responsible for guiding aircraft when they are in flight and when they are landing and taking off.

Flight paths are their area. But they are just responsible for the day-to-day operations. Policy matters, such as whether flight paths can be concentrated or dispersed, remain with the DfT.

4.  Heathrow Airport owns the airport.

It is a private company which used to be known as BAA.  Before it was privatized in the late 1980s it was called the British Airports Authority. It runs the airport. It also has more contact with the local authorities and the community than other players as the Government has given it the responsibility of dealing with complaints and liaising with local people.

5.  The European Union requires member states to draw up noise maps and noise action plans every 5 years.

It also can agree Directives which are binding on member states. The Air Pollution Directive is the toughest because it sets legal standards which must be met. The Noise Directive does not contain targets so lacks teeth. There was also a specific Airports Directive but in 2012 it was replaced in 2012 by a much weaker system of rules ad regulations.

6.  Local authorities, the London Assembly and the Mayor don’t have any power over Heathrow as it has been designated of national importance.

The current Mayor and the London Assembly are opposed to further expansion of Heathrow. Most, though not all, of the local authorities are also opposed.

7.  HACAN is the main organisation representing residents under the Heathrow flight paths.

There are local groups in Ealing and Richmond with whom we work closely. During the last third runway campaign NoTRAG (No Third Runway Action Group) represented residents whose communities were under threat.

8. Environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace, were very active in the third runway campaign and would expect to get involved in any future one.

Local environmental groups, such as West London Friends of the Earth, continue to be involved as does the Aviation Environment Federation.

9. The Parliamentary Group, convened by HACAN, consists of MPs, peers, local authority representatives and campaign groups opposed to expansion of Heathrow.

10.  AirportWatch is the national umbrella organisation of airport campaign groups and environmental NGOs –  www.airportwatch.org.uk.

HACAN is a member. We do not seek growth of airports elsewhere. We also work closely with airport campaign groups in the rest of Europe.

Playing Together

The bodies opposed to the expansion of Heathrow liaise closely, having worked together for many years.

HACAN has started to work together with the aviation industry on areas where there is potential agreement. We put to one side our big differences on expansion and night flights and work on specific projects, such as respite periods, which will benefit residents under the flight paths.