Category Archives: Press releases

HACAN ClearSkies calls for Heathrow health study

Government should commission an independent study into the health effects of Heathrow

HACAN ClearSkies, which represents residents under the flight path to Heathrow, has called on the Government to commission an independent study into the health effects of Heathrow. The call follows three months of inaction since the national pressure group, Transport 2000, published its report highlighting the high levels of cancer around Chicago-Midway airport in America (1).

John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN ClearSkies, “The Government hasn’t a clue what the cancer risks are like around Heathrow. It has never carried out a study. This is the height of irresponsibility, particularly as it is about to make a decision on Heathrow Terminal Five. In the three months since Transport 2000 published its report highlighting the high levels of cancer around Chicago-Midway Airport, there has been a deafening silence from Government. It should commission an independent study immediately”.

HACAN ClearSkies spokesman Mike Riley, said, “The study co-ordinated by Spelthorne Council into the pollution levels in the four local authority areas nearest the airport showed that, after Central London, Heathrow is the most polluted area in the South East (2). But Spelthorne acknowledge that there needs to be a follow-up study to estimate how much of this pollution comes from aircraft. We need a Government study”.

Mike Riley added, “I am particularly concerned that David Wilshire, the MP for Spelthorne is not doing enough to put pressure on the Government to carry out an independent study. We would expect any decent MP to take it up in Parliament. But it appears Mr Wilshire turns a deaf ear to anything that could get in the way of his strong support for Terminal Five.”

Notes for Editors

  1. The Plane Truth: Aviation and the Environment, written by Professor John Whitelegg, was published by Transport 2000, and the Ashden Trust in January of this year. It highlighted research carried out by the US Environment Protection Agency which showed a “heightened incidence” of cancer in the vicinity of the Chicago-Midway Airport. It estimated that emissions from aircraft were responsible for 10.5% of cancers caused by air pollution in the Midway area. Heathrow is substantially larger than Midway; it is used by five times as many passengers and has 50% more landings and take-offs. There have also been studies at Chicago-O’Hare Airport and in Seattle which would appear to confirm the findings at Chicago-Midway Airport.

  2. The in-depth study, co-ordinated by Spelthorne, looked at pollution levels in Spelthorne, Hounslow, Hillingdon and Richmond. It found that, as pollution is cut across most of London (because cars are getting cleaner), Heathrow will remain polluted.

For further information contact:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or Mike Riley on 07775 838756.

Green MEP to address HACAN ClearSkies’ AGM

Green MEP, Champion of Environmental Charges and Tighter Aviation Noise Controls, to address HACAN ClearSkies’ AGM

Dr Caroline Lucas calls for aviation fuel to be taxed

Dr Caroline Lucas, Green MEP for South East England, who successfully steered measures to reduce the environmental impact of air travel through the European Parliament last year (1), will be the guest speaker at the AGM of HACAN Clear Skies, the world’s largest anti-noise group with 25,000 members, on 29th March (2).

Dr Lucas, who is a member of the European Transport & Environment Committee said, “Aviation is one of the most feather-bedded industries in the country — a million miles away from the lean machine image the industry likes to project. We need to end the subsidies it that receives. I am pressing Europe to introduce a kerosene tax. At present, aviation fuel costs just 18p a gallon. It defies logic to give tax breaks to an industry that is so harmful to the environment.”

John Stewart, Chair of HACAN ClearSkies, supporting Dr Lucas’s call for a tax on aviation fuel, said, “A million people under flight path to Heathrow are paying an awful price for cheap flights. We live under a sky of sound, with aircraft coming over our homes one every 90 seconds. It is plain daft that it can be cheaper to fly to Rome than take the train to Edinburgh. European government’s must cut the massive subsidies the aviation industry receives.”

Notes for Editors

  1. Caroline Lucas is the rapporteur to the European Parliament Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism Committee for the report on Air Transport and the Environment. In approving her paper on aviation last year, the European Parliament agreed to press for:

    • airports to give preferential flight times to aircraft with higher environmental performance;
    • aviation to be subject to the same 5% greenhouse gas emission reduction targets as other sectors under the Kyoto treaty;
    • a worldwide kerosene tax;
    • an environmental charge to be introduced on flights to and from EU airports;
    • new initiatives to reduce noise from aircraft based on World Health Organisation guidelines, and the designation of “noise sensitive” airports;
    • an urgent study of the economic impact of the present zero rating of VAT on air tickets, kerosene and aircraft purchase;
    • a study into the possibility of awarding environment performance certification marks for the industry.
  2. The HACAN ClearSkies AGM will take place at Sheen Lane Centre, Sheen Lane, East Sheen on Thursday 29th March at 7.30pm.

For more information contact:

John Stewart, 0207 737 6641 or 07957 385650
Caroline Lucas (London) 0207 407 6281; (m) 0802 721 996
Alan Francis Green Party MEPs Press Officer 0776 997 0691

Skies over London busiest in the world

New research shows London way ahead of its rivals

Research by HACAN ClearSkies, the organisation which represents residents under the Heathrow flight path, has revealed that over 100 million people used London’s five airports last year (1). The research showed that no other city in the world came close to matching London’s 112 million passengers (2). Chicago was second with 87 million. Third-placed Tokyo had 83 million. Paris, the other principal European destination, was back in fifth place with just over 73 million. The skies over London and the South East are the busiest in the world.

John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN ClearSkies, said, “These figures give the lie to the claim that Britain will lose out if Heathrow Terminal Five is not built. London has become the Michael Schumacher of the aviation world – so far ahead of the pack that no other city is in with a serious chance of overtaking it. It is way ahead of its so-called rivals in Europe, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.”

Stewart added, “In our research we deliberately compared like with like. We looked at the passenger numbers at all of London’s airports and compared them with all the airports in other cities. It is quite dishonest compare just Heathrow with other cities.”

Notes for Editors

  1. The figures are these: London Heathrow, 64 million; London Gatwick, 32 million; London Stansted,

    81/2 million; London Luton, 6 million; London City, 11/2 million.

  2. The top 12 world-wide:

    • London 112 million
    • Chicago 87 million
    • Tokyo 83 million
    • Atlanta 80 million
    • Paris 73 million
    • Los Angeles 68 million
    • Dallas 60 million
    • New York 57 million
    • Frankfurt 49 million
    • San Fancisco 41 million
    • Houston 41 million
    • Amsterdam 39 million

For more information contact John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957 385650.

London’s parks blighted by aircraft noise

New report to be launched by Darren Johnson, Mayor’s Environment Adviser

Darren Johnson, the Mayor’s Advisor on the Environment and Leader of the Green Group on the London Assembly, is set to launch a new report which highlights the way many of London’s most famous parks have become blighted by aircraft noise (1). The illustrated report, published by HACAN ClearSkies, which represents residents living under the flight path to Heathrow, will be launched at 11am on Monday 2nd October on Clapham Common (2).

John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN ClearSkies, said, “Since aircraft started making use of the extended flight paths in recent years, many of London’s best-known parks have become ruined by aircraft noise. From Hounslow Heath in the west to Greenwich in the east, aircraft noise has become a problem. London’s parks used to be oases of peace and quiet amongst the hustle and bustle of life in the Capital. Now many of them have become a plane spotter’s paradise.”

Darren Johnson said, “For far too long the social and environmental costs of increases in air traffic have been ignored. Aircraft noise is a nightmare for many Londoners, not only disturbing people’s sleep patterns in their own homes, but threatening the tranquillity of our open spaces, too. The Mayor must produce an Ambient Noise Strategy which finally gives us a real opportunity to start tackling this problem and I very much welcome HACAN’s report.”

Notes for Editors

  1. London’s Blighted Parks highlights what is happening to 10 of London’s best-known green spaces. There are. of course. many other areas affected by aircraft noise. HACAN ClearSkies used a normal camera to take the pictures, so as to avoid any accusation that planes were superimposed on the photographs. As a result some of the planes appear to be flying high enough not to be disturbing. That, of course, is not the case.

  2. The launch will take place on Clapham Common just after 11am. People will gather outside Clapham Common Underground Station at 11am and then make their way to the Common, just a few minutes walk away.

Many of London’s green spaces are being ruined by aircraft noise. Our report features ten of the most famous — Greenwich Park, Blackheath, Hilly Fields, Dulwich Park, Clapham Common, Battersea Park, Richmond Green, Kew Gardens, Osterley Park and Hounslow Heath.

A letter to Tony Blair

HACAN ClearSkies wrote to the Prime Minister and the press released the letter.

Rt. Hon Tony Blair MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street

21st September 2000

Dear Mr. Blair

I am writing to urge you to reverse a trend that is undermining London’s reputation as a world-class city, adversely affecting the lives of its inhabitants, and steadily increasing the risk of a major disaster in the heart of London.

You said recently that direct action was not the way to influence public policy in a parliamentary democracy. I would like to prove you right.

Nearly half a million aircraft now land in Heathrow every year. Almost all of them fly over London. One million people now live under the Heathrow flight path. In July, the number of aircraft over flying London exceeded the figure BAA had forecast for 2013 only five years ago. That means homes as far east as Lewisham and New Cross now have aircraft flying low overhead every 60-90 seconds from 6am to 11.30pm: incredibly, sometimes nearly 1000 planes a day. There is also increasing concern about the pollutants they emit and the effect they may be having on the health of Londoners.

In a global economy where quality of life indexes increasingly make the difference in decisions to locate corporate headquarters, this is bad business. The City’s competitiveness depends crucially on London continuing to attract such investment. In a country where environmental considerations are becoming increasingly important in the way people vote, I believe you will agree that this is also bad politics. But perhaps most importantly, following the recent tragedy outside Paris, none of us — politicians and Londoners alike — can be complacent about the possibility of a major air disaster striking the very heart of London. Unlike Paris, where air traffic controllers divert aircraft away from built up areas, a similar disaster in London could kill literally thousands of people on the ground.

This is not scaremongering. With nearly half a million now flying over London every year and rising, the chance of such an accident is no longer negligible. In 1999 there were 76 near-misses in the UK, the vast majority of them over London and the South East. I hope it will not take such a disaster to reverse this dangerous and unsustainable rise in aircraft over London.

You and your ministers have the power to reverse this trend and make London a safer and better place in which to live. I urge you to consider your responsibilities as you examine the Inspector’s report on the Terminal 5 inquiry, and prepare to publish the Government’s consultation document on aviation policy.

In particular, I urge you to consider the following options; options that would both lessen the number and annoyance of aircraft over flying London without restricting the increasing consumer and business demand for air travel:

Use your power over flight paths to divert aircraft away from built up areas, and to spread them out as much as possible

Develop the principle of burden-sharing between London’s major airports to take the unsustainable pressure off Heathrow (including the improvement of transport infrastructure to speed links in to central London)

Impose noise limits on aircraft landing at Heathrow (noise limits currently only apply to aircraft taking off from the airport)

Work with other countries in the EU and with the US to encourage airlines to switch to larger, quieter aircraft, and so reduce the number of flights

I very much hope you will be able to support us. We will be informing our 25,000 members and affiliated members of your response, as well as the hundreds of thousands of Londoners who feel strongly about this issue.

Yours sincerely,
John Stewart

Reply from the Prime Minister still awaited.

Heathrow Flight Numbers Reach BAA’s Terminal 5 Forecast 13 Years Early

BAA had greatly underestimated the number of planes that would use Heathrow.

Pressure Group, HACAN ClearSkies, presents abacus to BAA top management to help them with their sums

The pressure group, HACAN ClearSkies, which represents residents living under the flight path to Heathrow, presented BAA with an abacus to emphasise the extent to which they got their sums wrong over Terminal 5 (1). BAA have proved to be 13 years out-of-date with their forecasts regarding flight numbers at Heathrow. They told the Terminal 5 Inquiry in 1995 that by 2013, passenger flight numbers would reach 453,000 with Terminal 5 and that they would remain at that level. In fact, they reached that number in July of this year.

John Stewart, Chair HACAN ClearSkies, said, “BAA have been utterly discredited. The Inquiry Inspector, who is currently writing his report, must now look very carefully at all their figures. We have made an application to the Guinness Book of Records for the worst forecasting yet by a FTSE 100 Company. Residents fear that unless a cap is set on the number of flights landing at Heathrow the noise will become even more unbearable and safety problems will inevitably get worse.”

Notes for Editors

  1. A group of members of HACAN ClearSkies presented the Abacus, nicely mounted in marble, to BAA headquarters at 130 Wilton Road, London SW1 on Friday 25th August at 11am.

Follow-up: The press release received major coverage in both the local and national media.

October: HACAN ClearSkies launches an illustrated report on the way London’s parks are being blighted by aircraft noise.

BAA’s Magic Solution to Airport Pollution Shown to be an Illusion

The world’s first airport without any planes

BAA’s Terminal 5 case is based upon the claim that an additional 30 million passengers per year can be accommodated at Heathrow with negligible environmental harm. To achieve this, BAA has discovered the magic solution to airport pollution: the world’s first airport without any planes. According to BAA, this massive addition of capacity, equivalent to building an airport the size of Charles de Gaulle in Paris or Amsterdam Schiphol on top of the existing Heathrow, will generate hardly any additional flights. Since flights barely increase there will be no noticeable increase in noise pollution.

This theory was first outlined in detail in BAA’s first official submission in relation to its Terminal 5 planning application, its Environmental Statement published in February 1993. This explained how the advent of larger aircraft would create the miracle of pollution-free airport expansion:

The proposed development would increase the passenger handling capacity of Heathrow in 2016 from 50 million passengers per annum (mppa) to 80 mppa. This would be achieved on the current pattern of the existing runways, and by a marginally greater number of passenger air transport movements (patms). The forecast annual number of patms with Terminal 5 is 420,000. This exceeds the 400,000 patms forecast without Terminal 5 by 5%. The greater numbers of larger aircraft in the with Terminal 5 case allow a similar number of movements to carry a significantly larger number of passengers. (BAA Environmental Statement para 2.48, page 17)

The easy way to do environmentally friendly forecasting

This forecast has been superseded (see analysis below) but it is instructive to examine it for the light it sheds on the reliability of BAA’s forecasting. The chart below shows this forecast in graph form. The actual figures for flight numbers at Heathrow for the ten years prior to 1993 are also shown.

You do not need a PhD in airport economics to find this forecast wildly implausible. BAA stated that over a 24 year period during which Europe’s third largest airport would be built at Heathrow, flights would increase by about 40,000. In the preceding ten years, with no addition of terminal capacity, flights had increased by approximately 140,000.

Having made this forecast, the impressive looking 700 page, two volume Environmental Statement examined the consequences of building Terminal 5 and, amazingly enough, found that the proposed terminal would have little environmental impact. BAA offered the tempting prospect of having the environmental cake of no additional pollution, while eating the economic cake of expanding the airport.

Dramatic failure of BAA’s forecasts

Unfortunately, this fairy tale has already been proved to be an illusion. The chart below shows the actual figures for flight numbers since 1993.

Instead of taking 23 years and a fifth terminal for flight numbers to reach 420,000, they reached this level in August 1996, taking three years with no new terminal in sight. As the chart shows, flight numbers have simply continued their previous trend rate of increase. The miracle of larger aircraft failed to take place as planned. It is a certainty that, if a fifth terminal was built, flight numbers would be well in excess of those on which the Environmental Statement is based. Therefore, most of the Environmental Statement and its claims of minimal environmental impact are worthless.

Forecasts produced to order rather than to fit reality

This episode raises the important question of how much credibility can be given to BAA’s forecasts in relation to Terminal 5. There are two possible explanations for the dramatic errors in BAA’s Environmental Statement. The first is that BAA’s forecasting team are hopelessly incompetent. We find this an unlikely explanation. The Environmental Statement forecast defies the accumulated knowledge of how Heathrow operates. Although it is true that the history of forecasts of flight numbers at Heathrow is one of consistent underestimates, we find it hard to believe that BAA’s forecasting team are unaware of this record, particularly given the fact that the team’s members made many of the earlier inaccurate forecasts. The second possible explanation is that BAA’s forecasters were given a brief by their superiors to produce a set of numbers which, although they bore no relation to reality, would support the company’s application for the highly profitable expansion of Heathrow by suggesting that this could happen without environmental damage. This appears to us the only credible explanation. It should be remembered that BAA expected the Public Inquiry to have been completed some time ago so that its forecasts would not be subject to test in the light of experience. In practice, the start of the Inquiry was later than expected and it is famously taking longer than expected to complete.

BAA’s second attempt

Given the delayed start to the Inquiry, it had become obvious to BAA when it came to prepare its formal Statement of Case 20 months later in December 1994 that its Environmental Statement forecasts would be ridiculed. Therefore it increased its forecast. It is a familiar pattern at Heathrow that forecasts follow on limping behind reality, rather than predicting the future. The new forecast, which still stands, is as follows:

The forecast number of patms at 80 mppa with Terminal 5 is 453,000, exceeding the forecast number of patms at 50 mppa without Terminal 5 by 36,000, or 8.6%. Greater numbers of larger aircraft with Terminal 5 allow a significantly larger number of passengers to be carried on a larger number of movements without any extension of the operating day or pressure otherwise to increase movements in the night hours or to abandon the present operating regime. (BAA Statement of Case para 10.7, p. 76)

Readers will notice that although the numbers have changed, the story remains the same. Within a period of 20 months, the forecast flight numbers for Heathrow with Terminal 5 had increased by 33,000. However, reality is already running ahead of this revised forecast, a further 20 months later. Flight numbers at Heathrow reached 422,000 in October 1996. Therefore BAA is predicting that over the next 20 years, with a massive fifth terminal, there will only be an additional 31,000 flights a year, a smaller margin than the increase in their forecast within 20 months. HACAN has predicted that on current trends, flight numbers at Heathrow will reach 453,000 by the year 2000, before a fifth terminal had even opened. This forecast has been supported at the Inquiry by the forecasting witness for the CAA, who forecast 456,000 flights by 2000.

More passengers means more flights means more noise

The reality, as those half a million of us who live under the Heathrow flightpaths are painfully aware, is very simple: more passengers means more flights which means more noise and other pollution. The relationship follows as night follows day.

If the reality is that Heathrow will reach the flight numbers BAA forecasts for Terminal 5 even before the terminal was built, then adding capacity for 30 million passengers can only mean a massive increase in flights. HACAN estimates that flight numbers with a fifth terminal would be between 550,000 and 600,000. In itself this obviously means more noise. But as we all know, Heathrow is already operating at the full capacity of its runways under current operating procedures.

Therefore more flights can only be accommodated by providing additional runway capacity. This can only be achieved by the following three mechanisms, and most likely by all three simultaneously:

  • additional night flights;
  • ending runway alternation;
  • a third runway.

Time to stop wasting public money chasing illusions

Sir John Egan of BAA chooses to avoid appreciating what is happening on the ground at Heathrow. He recently repeated a well-worn line in a speech to the Aviation Club of Great Britain:

“Unless we build an additional terminal by the year 2013 runway capacity will outstrip terminal capacity at Heathrow to the point where we would be wasting capacity for 30 million additional passengers.” (Sir John Egan, 16 October 1996)

Perhaps Sir John Egan actually believes the figures his staff are required to produce. If so, he is living in a fantasy world. There is no spare runway capacity at Heathrow and a fifth terminal could only mean another turn of the cycle of expansion to create the runway capacity to service the new terminal.

However, while BAA has millions to spend on its Terminal 5 application, it is costing substantial amounts of money and time for hard-pressed local authorities and anxiety for local residents. The application is clearly flawed throughout. The possibility of a fifth terminal was exhaustively examined at a Public Inquiry from 1981 to 1983 and rejected. There is something seriously wrong with a planning process which allows a company to place such a burden on the public by taking a hopeless gamble that a thoroughly unworkable and indefensible application will get through the system.

The leading Plc which has lost all credibility

Dermot Cox, HACAN’s Chairman, commented:

“I have never before seen a leading FTSE 100 Plc which has so completely lost the trust of the people of London. BAA persists in trying to force through its Terminal 5 proposals in the face of the nearly unanimous opposition of the people, as expressed through the democratic procedures of the Public Inquiry, their local councillors, MPs and residents groups. BAA plc is a young company, having been established for only ten years. You would never find more mature and responsible companies which operate ëdirty industries’, such as ICI or BP, behaving in this arrogant and confrontational manner. They know that long-term business success is dependent upon working with the community rather than attacking it head on.

“Now we can also prove the implausibility of the claims on which BAA has based its Terminal 5 proposals. Their underestimates of the environmental impact of building what would be Europe’s third largest airport on top of the existing Heathrow would be laughable were not the threat to our quality of life so deadly serious.”

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