Home Page Link Thaxted - under the present flightpath and threatened with quadrupled activity Takeley's 12th century parish church, close to proposed second runway Harcamlow Way, Bamber's Green - much of the long distance path and village would disappear under Runway 2 Clavering - typical of the Uttlesford villages threatened by urbanisation
Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport

image SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - April to June 2016


BBC News - 30 June 2016

A decision on airport expansion in south-eastern England is to be delayed until "at least October", Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said.

The move follows the UK's Brexit vote, which triggered a leadership contest in the Conservative government. Heathrow and Gatwick airports have been vying with each other over building an extra runway.

Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said expansion "must be a key building block in the government's Brexit plan". "It will allow British exporters to trade with all the growing markets of the world, strengthening Britain's position as one of the great trading nations," he said. "And at a time of uncertainty, a 16bn privately funded infrastructure investment will create jobs and growth across the UK."

'Pollution problem'
But Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said: "The enormous pollution [of] both noise and air quality that Heathrow inflicts on hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, it's this issue that politicians are going to have to grapple with. If you look at Gatwick, we have a tiny fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow, yet you get all of the same economic benefits, all of the same connections to short haul and long haul destinations, all at a cheaper price." Gatwick will press its case with the new leader of the Conservatives, he added.

Last July, the Airport Commission recommended Heathrow be expanded with a third runway - a 3,500m runway north of the two existing ones - at an estimated cost of 18.6bn. But in December, the government delayed its decision, saying further work on noise, pollution and compensation needed to be carried out. On Monday, Gatwick Airport said the Brexit vote showed it was "clearer than ever that only Gatwick can deliver the new runway Britain needs".

Analysis: Richard Westcott, BBC transport correspondent
Earlier today, the proposal to expand Heathrow took a major blow when the government deferred an airports decision to its next leader. Boris Johnson was a front runner for the job and he's very hostile to the scheme. But now he's stepped out of the race, things have become much less clear.

Theresa May and Michael Gove both have constituencies near Heathrow and they've both had to deal with a lot of noise complaints, especially when an experimental new flight path upset a lot of residents a couple of years ago. But neither has ever come out against building a third runway at the airport and it's not clear what they think now. And all of that's assuming one of them becomes leader.

It is almost exactly a year since the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, issued its report on expanding airport capacity in the UK, Three options were shortlisted - an extension of one of Heathrow's existing runways, a new runway at Gatwick, or a third runway at Heathrow. All three proposals remain on the table. However, the Davies Commission was unambiguous - it said that the best option was a third runway at Heathrow.

And although the government postponed its final decision, it was widely expected to follow the Commission's recommendation - until now.

'Serious setback'
Business campaign group London First said the deferral of the decision was "a huge shame". London First and Tesco chairman John Allan said the delay would be "a very serious setback, not just for London but for the whole country".

"There's clearly going to be a significant downturn in inward investment over the next few years until there's greater certainty," he told the BBC. "Carefully judged infrastructure investment would be one way of filling that gap, and also a way of making a statement that the UK is open for business. We do want connectivity with the rest of the world, so I think it's a great shame that politicians are putting party interests before the national interest," Mr Allan added.

Paul Wait, chief executive of travel management industry body the GTMC, said: "Current political instability is jeopardising economic growth in many ways. For uncertainty on airport expansion to also be caught up in the shifting sands is both short-sighted and dangerous. Regardless of political beliefs, every UK business is crying out for messages of confidence and room to find new growth, including outside of Europe. Without greater airport capacity, and soon, UK businesses will be collateral damage in the circus that is currently unfolding."

OUR COMMENT: Better still, it could allow an official rethink - does the UK need any more ringways?

Pat Dale


Boeing is encouraging regulators to create a strong policy
framework to advance sustainable aviation biofuels

Boeing in Europe Statement - 13 June 2016

2016 is Boeing's centennial year: in the past century we have united the world through more efficient air travel and pioneered the outer reaches of space. And yet we look forward, with great excitement, to our next century, and innovations to come.

We recognise that strong environmental performance is necessary to ensure a healthy planet and our long term business success. Boeing's goal is that the sustainable aviation biofuel supply will address at least 1 percent of global jet fuel demand in the near term.

Five types of biofuels have been approved and their technical performance has been proven in over 2,500 commercial flights: these fuels are in regular commercial service every day. Sustainable aviation biofuels cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 80% on a lifecycle basis compared to fossil fuel.

Boeing is involved in regional projects throughout the globe to support long-term sustainable growth for commercial aviation. Last December, Boeing and the Finnish energy company Neste announced their collaboration to gain approval for a high quality renewable fuel, which represents a promising "drop in" solution to be blended directly with traditional jet fuel and used without any changes to airplanes, engines or infrastructure. This is the first large-scale fuel available to aviation.

In Europe, Boeing is also part of biofuel initiatives including Sustainable Aviation in the UK, the Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation, the Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany, and a national roadmap process beginning in Italy.

Sustainable aviation fuels are now a reality. However a strong policy framework to support further development and commercialization is needed. We encourage regulators to create a level playing field for aviation fuels with respect to road transport renewable fuels when accessing national incentives under the EU renewable energy legislation, while also stimulating the growth of this important industry.

We urge the European Commission to incentivise biofuels that have a low-risk of causing Indirect Land Use Change, driving technology for those fuels. The upcoming European Commission strategy on "Decarbonising the Transport Sector" should recognise the critical role that sustainable aviation biofuels play in addressing aviation emissions. Improving aviation's environmental performance is a team sport and Boeing stands ready to do its part.


Brian Ross, deputy chairman of SSE,
is calling for compensation for residents

Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 7 June 2016

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has been accused of making "grossly exaggerated claims" as it ramps up its campaign over compensation claims totalling "hundreds of millions of pounds". The pressure group claims the airport faces legal action on behalf of "thousands" of local residents still waiting for redress in respect of devaluation of their property caused by expansion.

SSE went public today (Tuesday) after accusing the airport of failing to meet a deadline to make a public statement agreeing to introduce a compensation scheme for householders "after years of prevarication".

Since 2002, Stansted has maintained that it has no legal obligation to pay compensation until it has completed everything listed in its 1999 Phase 2 planning consent. SSE says completion of a small part of these works, the Echo Cul-de-Sac, has been repeatedly postponed - most recently until the mid-2020s - and has thus been branded the 'golden rivet' loophole.

According to SSE, there is now legal backing for its view that the airport was wrong to use the argument as an excuse for not paying compensation and that Stansted's lawyers finally accepted this at a hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in March - but then put forward a new excuse for rejecting compensation claims, arguing they were now time-barred under the Limitation Act.

In its allegations today SSE says the judge remarked: "So, after years of telling people you can't claim until the works are complete, you're now saying tee-hee - you're too late."

Brian Ross, deputy chairman of SSE, who attended the hearing, commented: "It was clear from the expression on the judge's face that he could hardly believe what he was hearing, and nor could I. Accordingly, SSE immediately asked for an urgent meeting with the airport managing director. That meeting took six weeks to arrange and when we eventually met it was obvious Stansted Airport was stalling over the 'golden rivet' issue and over its use of the Limitation Act to reject claims."

SSE gave Stansted Airport an ultimatum of May 31 to make a public statement with a commitment to introduce a compensation scheme. Just before it expired, Manchester Airports Group (MAG) the owners of Stansted, contacted SSE offering a further meeting to discuss the matter, but this was declined. SSE says the issues should no longer be discussed behind closed doors and has revealed MAG made "some important concessions" but "still refused to make a public statement".

The group has called a press conference on Friday to reveal further details about its compensation campaign. SSE chairman Peter Sanders commented: "Compensation has never been part of SSE's natural territory, but in this case the airport's behaviour is so reprehensible that we cannot stand idly by. It beggars belief that a publicly quoted UK company could act in such a manner. Enough is enough."

A Stansted Airport spokesman said: "We recognise the need to clarify the status of compensation claims relating to development works carried out at the airport between 1999 and 2007. We intend to announce more details on the process for local residents shortly, including a specified period for lodging claims which will allow residents the time to take professional advice in relation to their own circumstances. We will also continue our engagement with the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee on this issue."

"Having recently provided independent campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion with clear assurances about our intention to deal with these issues, it is disappointing to read their comments and in particular the grossly exaggerated claims they refer to."


Public Announcement - Stansted Airport Limited - 9 June 2016

STAL recognises that there has been some uncertainty in recent years about the status of compensation claims relating to development works carried out at the airport in the 1999-2007 period.

Having reviewed the matter thoroughly, and in light of two recent legal decisions, STAL has decided to clarify the status of these claims to remove any uncertainty for local residents.

The relevant legislation is complex but, broadly, the owner of a residential property, at the time of the works, is entitled to compensation if they can show that the value of their house has been reduced as a direct result of those works and provided they bring their claim "in time".

STAL confirms it remains willing to consider claims from qualifying residents and will, for the time being, treat them as having been made "in time". This means that residents who believe they may be entitled to compensation can now submit a claim. Of course, residents will still have to show that their claims have legal merit.

STAL will announce more details on the process to be followed shortly, including the specified period for lodging claims which will be of sufficient duration to allow residents to take professional advice. STAL will also be discussing these issues with the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee.


The PM should stand by his views on airport expansion
and focus on improving the country's railways and roads

Simon Jenkins - Evening Standard - 7 June 2016

Forget Brexit, for a moment. London will survive and prosper, whichever way the referendum goes. I am not so sure about what is about to be decided on Heathrow. London's runway wars are rumoured to be coming to a head. Will David Cameron rat on his pledge of "no third Heathrow runway, no ifs, no buts"? Will he admit that HS2 was only backed because it was seen as an alternative to Heathrow, not an add-on? Is 2016 to be megaproject Armageddon?

We need constantly to remember a crucial fact about London's airports. They have next to nothing to do with "business and industry" and the much-vaunted UK plc. They are about leisure and tourism. Some 80 per cent of air travellers in and out of London are not classed as "businessmen", and even those who claim this elevated title are probably on freebie jaunts.

Heathrow's lobbyists know tourism is not politically sexy, and so they present their customers as high-powered IT salesmen, widget manufacturers and entrepreneurs. They do not like to admit that the overwhelming bulk of air travel is optional, and for pleasure. We should also remember that we have been here before, and have the bloodstained T-shirts to prove it. The last great battles over London runway capacity, in the Seventies and Eighties, supposedly resolved it "for all time". The greatest brains in Whitehall, economists, geographers and planners, put their heads together and made a decision. It was that London's third airport should be preferably east or north of city, and more distant from the centre.

No civilised city would have a vast airport over a populated area, as is Heathrow. The decision was Stansted. It was built. The airlines initially hated it because they all wanted to be together at Heathrow. No one built a high-speed rail link to it, so Stansted is now half empty. But it still makes planning sense. It is ideally located for the reviving economy of east London and the London-Cambridge corridor. As recently as 2008, the then owner, the British Airports Authority, planned for it to grow bigger than Heathrow. It was the future, the question answered.

Only when Gordon Brown absurdly decided to sell Stansted to Manchester airport, "to promote competition" - he was the last true Thatcherite - did a furious BAA revert to lobbying for Heathrow. It came up against a fierce alliance of Gatwick and west London constituency MPs. This led to Cameron's 2010 "no ifs, no buts" pledge to relieve Heathrow of further doubt. But when the Airports Commission was set up, Heathrow hurled the kitchen sink of lobbying at it, and won the day.

Heathrow still has serious enemies. The first is the airport's old ally, British Airways, which now realises that the landing charges required for a third runway are going to soar by 50 per cent. Willie Walsh, chairman of International Airlines Group, BA's parent company, has clearly fallen out of love with Heathrow expansion. He has said bluntly: "We didn't ask for it and we're not going to pay for it."

Meanwhile, pollution levels in the west London/Heathrow area have become an issue. They are not just killing people: worse, they are embarrassing ministers. No one can show how an extra burst of airplane and associated vehicle exhausts can be anything but illegal under global clean-air regulations. A third runway would make Volkswagen's fiddles look like minor misdemeanours.

Heathrow is full or, as the planners put it, "at capacity". But then so is Waterloo, so is Victoria, so is the M25, so is every London hospital, school and prison. Big, booming cities are always at capacity. That is why resources must be planned sensibly. Roads, railways, hospitals and schools are more crucial to the prosperity and welfare of the capital than the convenience of tourists, important though they may be.

And why should Heathrow claim precedence? The days of "predict and provide" are over. If demand for infrastructure were to dictate its supply, the sky would be the limit. We would all be paying the Government 80 per cent income tax and builders would be laughing the way to the bank. Cameron has dithered and delayed. He clearly does not regard the pressure on Heathrow as being critical to the economy. He is right. There is no overriding reason for London to have a giant "hub" airport.

In the age of the internet, speed of business travel is not a core economic lubricant. Leisure passengers may find Stansted, Gatwick, Luton and elsewhere inconvenient. If so, they can use coaches, cars, trains or lesser point-to-point airports. Or they can stay at home. None of these options will cripple the economy. If Cameron really wants to help the British economy with mega-infrastructure, every survey shows that the best value for money is from improving commuter railways and building better roads.

There is no great cost in Cameron continuing to delay his decision - certainly as long as no one has any solution to London pollution. But if he feels he must do something he can honour his pledge to Heathrow's residents. He can end their pain. He can give Gatwick, overwhelmingly a tourist airport, its runway. He can spend a fraction of the cost of Heathrow on a better rail link for Stansted. Beyond that he can tell the airlines to make do with the capacity they have been given, and let higher prices and provincial airports take the pressure of further demand. It is not a difficult decision.


Heathrow airport has tried to smooth the take-off for plans for a third runway by giving up its opposition to a longer ban on night flights. The project has been mired in controversy for years, so will it ever be built? Is there still any point in pursuing it? The Financial Times' commentators debate whether expanding Heathrow remains viable.

Martin Wolf - The Financial Times - 14 May 2016

London needs a large hub airport. Two medium-sized airports are not the same thing. Heathrow is in the best place, though its transport connections remain woeful. The failure to integrate it into the rail network remains astonishing, yet some estimates of the costs associated with a new runway are staggering. While an additional runway would indeed seem desirable, it would not be worth paying such exorbitant costs. Why such projects are so expensive and so difficult to implement in the UK is, to me, the big puzzle. It cannot just be because southern England is densely populated. So is north Holland, where Schiphol, with far more runways than Heathrow, is located.

Philip Stephens
We have become obsessed with the supposed need to build a third runway at Heathrow. It has become the prisoner of a conventional wisdom trapped in the past. The reasons not to expand London's biggest airport are legion: the vast bill, appalling geography, the wretched management record of the airport's owners and the promised environment degradation among them. The project's supporters have also missed the blindingly obvious reality that the whole concept is now out of date - predicated as it is on a model of air travel that has gone out of fashion with the jumbo jet.

The supposedly independent Airports Commission report recommending a third runway was badly flawed. Its arithmetic was more than dodgy and its concern for the environment at best cursory. London, the argument ran, needed a bigger "hub". This was at a time when the direction of the industry is firmly established as one of more point-to-point journeys in slimmed-down aircraft flying between smaller airports. It is no accident that Airbus's giant A380 aircraft is proving to be its least successful.

Thankfully, politics has come to the rescue. It is now obvious that a third runway - with its heavy costs for taxpayers and environmental threats to London residents - will not command sufficient political support. The government's majority is simply not big enough to carry it through against the opposition of local MPs and the capital's newly elected mayor. For once, common sense and political arithmetic are on the same side. The priority now should be to improve surface connections to London's other airports, particularly Stansted and Gatwick. It is not at all self-evident that more runway capacity is needed but if that proves to be so, a second runway at Gatwick - much cheaper and more environmentally friendly than Heathrow - would do the trick.

Chris Giles
If all you care about is the ability of people in South London, Surrey and Sussex to find it easier to fly on holiday, Gatwick is the sensible choice for a new runway in the south-east of England. For everything else, it is a woeful choice. It provides no decent surface links for most of the rest of the population, unless they were built at exorbitant cost, nothing for the rest of the UK, who will find Amsterdam a better choice for a hub airport, and nothing for freight, which trades almost exclusively out of Heathrow.

Rather than being in the wrong place, Heathrow is well-connected and London's only chance of building a global network of direct flights to serve business and people from across the UK with a wide choice of international routes. The politics is difficult, but Heathrow expansion has majority support in most of its surrounding boroughs. Local air pollution has also been falling, not rising. This is one of those moments where politicians need a bit of courage and are likely to find the outcome of a decision to build a third runway at Heathrow better than feared.

Jonathan Ford
The case for a third runway is generally built on the idea that we need this extra capacity to serve unmet demand for long-haul flights to emerging markets and fifth-tier Chinese cities whose names no one in Britain can pronounce. Otherwise the beastly Dutch, Germans and French will seize all these glittering opportunities first. Buy into it and the runways of Schiphol, Frankfurt and Charles de Gaulle seem like daggers pointing at the heart of the British economy.

Hmm, maybe. The reality, however, could be more mundane. If these new routes were so valuable, one might imagine airlines would find a way of squeezing them into the existing system. But of the 12 new routes British Airways launched from Heathrow between 2013 and 2015 (using slots it acquired with the acquisition of BMI), just two were to emerging markets and 10 to leisure destinations. The unmissable implication is that it is not capacity constraints that hinder the development of these supposedly economically imperative destinations, but simple commercial logic. Most airlines would still prefer to fly to Bari or Magaluf rather than Shenyang - even on a wet September afternoon.

New capacity is needed. But hugely expensive runway schemes will simply push up the cost of air travel, making the economic case for marginal routes harder. BA's Willie Walsh has already called Heathrow's 16bn expansion an "outrageous vanity project". We need to remember that most air travel is for leisure, and that airline routes follow economic activity not create it. Pursue the logic and it is surely better to find the cheapest and quickest option. Whatever else the mighty Heathrow scheme offers, it is not that.

Michael Skapinker
In a crowded country, any airport expansion causes uproar. No one wants the congestion and noise near them. Every proposal provokes a counterproposal, which is as furiously opposed as the original. This is why London has not built a new full-length runway since the 1940s. The Airport Commission was an attempt to provide some objectivity. What solution was best for London and Britain? The answer was clear: a third Heathrow runway. People will not agree. (I don't; I favoured Boris Johnson's east-of-London hub option.) But there we are. The government should have grasped the moment and pushed ahead with the Davies verdict. Instead, it decided not to spoil Zac Goldsmith's bid for the London mayoralty. A great success that was. Can the government get a third Heathrow runway through parliament now? Possibly not, and perhaps it never could have, which leaves London hoping its other attractions can compensate for its inadequate airports.

Sarah Provan
If expansion at Stansted meant that the rail links between Cambridge, one of the most successful local economies in the UK, and the City of London were modernised I would definitely be in favour. Commuters who take the rail line to Liverpool Street station, which includes the connection to Stansted airport, most weeks have to put up with delays and cancellations due to problems such as overhead lines, faulty trains, signal and points failures, and a lack of drivers. This week I returned home in the dark in a hot carriage due to a faulty train that went out of service halfway into its journey north. The train was several decades old and had undergone no modern refurbishment.

Arguments in favour of Stansted airport expansion include its being a more cost-effective location for a four-runway hub, capable of dealing with up to 160m passengers a year, and fewer people being affected by noise at the Essex airport.The area around Stansted, the third-largest airport in the south-east, has a lower population density compared not only with Heathrow but also Gatwick, Luton and London City. According to March 2013 figures, the single-runway airport handled 17.5m passengers a year. Cambridge is expanding. Why not Stansted?

OUR COMMENT: No suggestions that additional runways are not needed! No thoughts as to how the essential climate change reductions in engine emissions can be achieved by increasing the number of flights.

Pat Dale


Patrick Streeter was awarded the sum in 1999 after he successfully argued that the value of his home had halved as a result of the nearby airport's expansion

Oliver Protchard - The Mirror - 11 May 2016

A frustrated farm owner who won 1million in compensation from Stansted Airport in 1999 is yet to see a penny of it due to a cynical 'legal loophole'.

Patrick Streeter successfully argued that the value of his 2m Grade II listed home had halved as a result of the airport's expansion in Essex. He's accused airport chiefs of exploiting a loophole to deny him the money. Since 1999, passenger movement at the airport has increased from just over nine million to a staggering 26 million expected this year.

But 17 years later, he still hasn't had a penny because of a loophole which says it only has to be paid when all the work on the airport is finished. Patrick says bosses told him that because white lines have not been painted on a strip of apron and a fuel pump not installed, he is not entitled to his payout. "One of their clever lawyers saw a loophole and realised that if the work isn't finished they don't have to pay out."

"Originally they agreed to pay my family 1million because of the impact. It's a big house and if it was in an area where there are no planes it would be worth 2million. But because of the noise and fumes it has halved in value. They owe us this money but their evasive actions have meant we haven't had a penny."

Patrick's family home, a 13th century seven-bedroom farmhouse, is just 1,500 metres from the end of Stansted runway. It shakes so badly when planes take off that roof tiles are often dislodged. He claims the constant buzz of planes makes the place unbearable to live in, and believes it would be almost impossible to sell.

The working farm is operated by Patrick's twin nephews Tom and Will, both 41, who mainly farm rapeseed and corn over its 1,000 acres. Tom is the farm's manager and lives in the historic building with his wife Emma, 41, and their two daughters Eloise, 10, and Gracie, eight. The airport is legally obliged to pay people living around it compensation because of the detrimental impact the planes have on their lives.

Patrick Streeter was awarded the sum in 1999 after he successfully argued that the value of his home had halved as a result of the nearby airport's expansion. A Stansted Airport spokesman said: "We are aware of Mr Streeter's application and the matter is being consulted by MAG (the airport's owner)."


BBC News Online - 11 May 2016

The pledge comes ahead of a government decision expected this summer on whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick. Last year, the Davies Commission recommended expanding Heathrow, but with strict environmental restrictions. But, Gatwick Airport is still fighting, saying it remained the "only expansion plan that could deliver for the UK".

Heathrow said it will allow a longer quiet period overnight, with flights not allowed to land between 11pm and 5:30am, from their current 11.30pm finish and 4.30am start.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive at Heathrow Airport Holdings, said they would bring in the new times in six and half years time if they were granted the right to expand. The offer differs from the recommendations made by Sir Howard Davies' inquiry, which wanted a ban on night flights between 11.30pm and 6.00am.

The airport is promising to meet his calls for limits to overall noise and guarantees that local pollution would not get worse. Heathrow supported the introduction of an independent noise authority and pledged not to add new capacity unless the airport complied with EU air quality limits.

No guarantee
John Stewart, chair of the anti-noise group HACAN ClearSkies, accepted Heathrow was offering a concession on nights flights but said it was disappointing it would not be extended to 6.00am. He also questioned whether Heathrow was in a position to reduce air pollution. "The bigger problem with air pollution is most of it comes from traffic and it's out of Heathrow's control to deal with air pollution from traffic. They can't really guarantee that air pollution levels can be brought down to EU legal limits," he added.

'Cleaner, quieter'
Mr Holland-Kaye said the airport was going beyond the recommendations of the Davies Commission and he was confident they could create a "cleaner, quieter Heathrow delivering more for the UK economy and that clears the way for the prime minister to make the right choice to expand Heathrow and deliver a stronger economy".

He said more investment in public transport and the use of electric and hybrid cars in the future would limit the impact from traffic pollution. Mr Holland-Kaye blamed diesel vehicles for air pollution and said he was writing to the new London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, to request that he extended the ultra-low emission zone to the M25. Mr Khan's manifesto stated that he would oppose a third runway at Heathrow and he favoured Gatwick as the more viable option.

The airport has pledged to create an ultra-low emissions zone for airport vehicles by 2025 and develop an emissions charging scheme for all vehicles accessing the airport.

But Mary Creagh, chair of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, said Heathrow had to go "much further, much faster" in tackling air pollution. "Promises on future rail links and air pollution charges are seven to 10 years away. People living near the airport need action on air quality much sooner and one quick win would be slashing fares on the Heathrow Express to encourage more people to use it."

Analysis by BBC transport correspondent Richard Westcott:

Heathrow's just played its ace
The airport's gone further than many people expected in this latest bid to convince MPs, the government, and locals, that it should have a third runway. In the past, Conservative Zac Goldsmith has said he'd resign as an MP if ministers went with Heathrow. Other cabinet members are known to oppose the scheme. It's not clear yet whether these concessions are enough to sway any of their opinions.

Then there's the locals, who always tell me that Heathrow has a habit of breaking promises. Twenty years ago the airport vowed it would permanently rule out a third runway if only it could build terminal five. That vow soon went out of the window.

Gatwick's bid
Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, described Wednesday's announcement by Heathrow's owners as a "desperate last throw from a project that has repeatedly failed". He said Heathrow Airport's air quality plans failed "the most basic credibility test" and they could not promise traffic wouldn't increase with a third runway.

"An expanded Heathrow will newly impact hundreds of thousands of people currently not affected by aircraft noise - an expanded Gatwick would impact less than 3% of this number," he added.

The Commons' Transport Select Committee published a report last week which urged ministers to set out a clear timetable for airport expansion.

Heathrow's plans
The plan involves building a new 3,500m runway about two miles north of the two runways Heathrow already has at an estimated cost of 18.6bn. is built. Heathrow welcomed the report's "unequivocal" conclusions, saying it confirmed that road vehicles were the principal contributors of air pollution around the airport.

The airport's Director of Sustainability, Matt Gorman, said: "This report adds to the evidence presented by the Airports Commission that road traffic is the main contributor to poor air quality and it is a national problem which needs government action. Heathrow has worked to maintain airport-related traffic broadly static since the 1990's and is taking action to reduce emissions further by switching to electric vehicles and increasing public transport options for passengers and colleagues."

The AC has recommended building a new runway at Heathrow rather than providing a second runway at Gatwick. But it did not completely rule out another runway at Gatwick or doubling an existing runway at Heathrow. The government has said more work needs to be done on the environmental impact and his delayed its decision to the summer at the earliest.


Ministers today indicated that a decision on Heathrow
expansion will not be swayed by the election of opponent
Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London

Joe Murphy - Evening Standard - 9 May 2016

In a blow to anti-runway campaigners, they said his victory cannot be seen as a mandate from voters against the West London airport because both of the frontrunners were opposed.

"Bearing in mind that both the candidates had the same policy on Heathrow, I don't think that is going to alter our thinking very much," said a senior Government figure. "I don't think we can read anything into airport expansion from the election. It is always controversial and would have been whoever was elected as mayor."

At the same time, Mr Khan shocked environmental campaigners after his victory by signalling that he plans to appoint former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis to run transport in the capital. The Labour peer, who heads the government's National Infrastructure Commission, was a leading champion of a third runway.

Mr Khan originally backed a third runway when he was a transport minister and changed sides when he ran for mayor. However, he supports a second runway at Gatwick to increase capacity.

David Cameron last year postponed the long-delayed decision on Heathrow until July, partly to avoid a clash between the Government and Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith. Mr Goldsmith, the Richmond Park MP, has repeatedly made clear he will carry out his 2008 pledge to resign his seat and force a by-election if Mr Cameron gives the go-ahead to an extra runway, which he says would breach a "no ifs, no buts" pledge given by the Tory leader to voters in the area.

However, No 10 does not think it should be influenced by a by-election threat when it comes to a major national infrastructure decision. Whitehall insiders think the decision on Heathrow faces yet another delay because of a "logjam" caused by the EU referendum. There is only a one-month window between the vote on June 23 and the summer parliamentary recess, meaning it could slip back to September or later.


BBC News Online - 4 May 2016

The government must stop putting off the "difficult" decision to expand Heathrow Airport rather than Gatwick, a Commons select committee has said.

The arguments over increasing aviation capacity in South East England have "changed little in a quarter of a century", said the Transport Committee. It urged ministers to end "years of political dithering" and to set out a clear timetable. The government said it was important to get the decision right.

In December the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed that the Airport Commission's shortlisted options - new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick, or extension of an existing runway at Heathrow - were "viable". It also announced further work on noise, pollution and compensation would be carried out before it made a decision on which project to support. It expects this will be completed by the summer.

But the Transport Select Committee said government indecision had created "uncertainty" that would ultimately lead to "lost growth and jobs". Labour MP Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the committee, said: "The government must make up its mind. The decision on location is not the end of the process, it is the start of one."

"Real progress cannot begin until the location is declared. Work on environmental issues can run in parallel with other pre-construction work."

She said more than 50 new runways were being planned around the world and "the months ticking by constitute time wasted for the UK's economic prosperity".

A DfT spokesman said: "The case for aviation expansion is clear, but it's vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come."

OUR COMMENT: The case for aviation expansion is NOT clear! Read SSE's evidence to the Airports Commission.

Pat Dale


ENDS Europe DAILY - 15 April 2016

A cross-party group of MEPs has urged EU ministers to include aviation and shipping under EU and international goals to reduce CO2 emissions.

In a letter, MEPs called on EU transport and environment ministers to redouble efforts to reduce emissions from these sectors as they met to discuss targets post-COP21. Currently shipping and aviation are exempt from the Paris Agreement with responsibility for cutting emissions falling to the sector of the bodies the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

But MEPs urged the European Council and Commission to increase pressure on the IMO and ICAO to increase their targets in line with climate goals agreed in Paris. The letter said emissions from aviation could be tackled via EU instruments such as the Emission Trading System (ETS), which aims to incentivise organisations to reduce emissions by trading carbon allowances. Airlines flying within the European Economic Area have been covered by the ETS since 2012, although journeys to and from external countries are excluded.

However, MEPs argued that the contribution aviation and shipping make to ETS is "very moderate", with "only 15%" of its allowances secured via auctions, suggesting it could be more effective.

IMO has already faced criticism for failing to propose an emissions reduction target for the shipping industry. The organisation has also faced calls to set out tighter fuel efficiency rules and treat the sector like a country in terms of CO2 reductions. The ICAO has also come under fire for its proposed market-based-measure to curb emissions, with experts suggesting the association should work alongside the UN's climate body UNFCCC.


Michael Steward - Dunmow Broadcast - 12 April 2016

Stansted Airport enjoyed its busiest ever March as more than 1.89 million passengers passed through the Essex hub during the month.

The record breaking numbers also helped the airport to achieve its best ever winter season, with 8.65 million passengers using Stansted in the five-month period ending March 2016. The airport's annual passenger total also topped 23 million for the first time since 2008.

Andrew Cowan, Stansted's CEO, said: "Stansted's passenger traffic continues to grow at a rapid pace as we experienced our busiest ever March and served the highest number of passengers during a winter flying season in the airport's history. This is further proof that thousands more people each and every month are choosing Stansted when deciding which airport to fly from. This is thanks to the value and choice provided by our extensive and growing route network, and the on-going investment programme to improve passengers services and facilities."


CLIT Industry News - 8 April 2016

Thousands of extra seats daily - National Express is making it easier than ever to travel to Stansted Airport with brand new routes adding almost 5,000 extra seats a day - an annual equivalent to more than ten times the population of Brighton.

The new services, which launch on Monday, April 11, will for the first time see the UK's largest coach operator serve Stansted from new stops at Paddington, Waterloo and Southwark. The news is likely to be particularly welcomed by travellers journeying to Stansted from areas south of the River Thames - which have traditionally faced a lack of direct public transport links to the airport.

Additionally, stops at Golders Green, Marble Arch, Baker Street and Victoria Coach Station will also all benefit from increased frequency services with some journey times slashed by up to twenty minutes. The move, which takes the number of locations directly serving to Stansted to 18, significantly strengthens National Express' presence at Stansted Airport and underlines its position as the leader in affordable airport travel.

It is being welcomed as a boost for enhanced customer choice, convenience and connectivity - enabling as people to take advantage of additional tube and rail interchange options. Andrew Cowan, Stansted's Divisional CEO said: "We're delighted National Express is launching new routes to Paddington and Waterloo stations as well as now serving Southwark, building on its long and successful relationship with Stansted. These services provide passengers with even more affordable and convenient options for accessing the airport, especially those travelling from areas that traditionally haven't been well served and cements Stansted's position as the number one major UK airport for public transport".

Tom Stables, Managing Director, National Express UK Coach said: "Getting to and from the airport needn't be a hassle - we're delighted to be making it even easier for people to get to Stansted with the addition of five thousand straight-to-the-terminal seats daily". Fares start at 5 one-way.


Simon Roach - ENDS Europe DAILY - 4 April 2016

A new mechanism to limit aviation emissions beyond 2020 has been attacked over the environmental credibility of using international forestry offsets.

NGOs criticised the market-based measure (MBM), currently being brokered by the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), as ICAO members including Germany, Italy and Poland met in Utrecht today.

More than 80 NGOs sent a joint letter to negotiators arguing that ICAO's own sustainability criteria precludes many international carbon offsets, forestry included. Experience with the world's largest voluntary carbon market, the Clean Development Mechanism, has proven that issues like double counting are unlikely to be resolved by many offsets, the letter argues.

The MBM was announced in 2013 and is set to be agreed at the ICAO general assembly in September. ICAO has not confirmed whether the MBM will be entirely offset-based, what types of offsets will be used, or whether the MBM will also involve allowance auctioning. But a member state official told ENDS that forestry offsets through UN mechanisms such as REDD+ are a highly likely candidate.

Emissions reductions for aviation and shipping were left in the hands of ICAO and the International Maritime Organisation following international transport's last minute exclusion from December's Paris climate deal at the UN's climate agency, the UNFCCC.

ENDS understands that there is growing concern between national negotiators within the UNFCCC process that an environmentally dubious MBM could undermine the integrity of the Paris deal. Forestry offsets may lead to double counting as many countries have included them in their climate pledges for separate CO2 reduction efforts under Paris.

In a draft of the MBM proposal, ICAO outlined eight criteria for MBM offsets, including that the CO2 reductions generated are 'additional' to those already agreed and 'represent permanent emissions reductions'.

"ICAO's own standards rule forests and land offsets out from the start, because they need to be permanent emissions reductions, which is impossible to prove for forests since they arereversible. ICAO needs to come up with a serious plan and stop tinkering at the edges," said Hannah Mowat, campaigner at forestry NGO FERN.

Forestry offsets face further criticism for their impact on local communities, meaning the NGO letter has additional support from social justice and human rights groups. Another MBM criteria from ICAO is that the offsets should 'do no harm', the letter notes.

In place of offsets, the NGOs recommend a global aviation CO2 tax on airline operators, the revenues of which would go toward the Green Climate Fund or the Adaptation Fund. Offsetting is widely discredited as a suitable climate solution as it does not lead to absolute emissions reductions, FERN added in a policy report.

The debate around offsets is polarised, however. A separate coalition of conservation NGOs released a statement today arguing that REDD+ is essential for curbing aviation emissions.


Simon Roach - ENDS Europe DAILY - 11 April 2016

The EU may have to compromise on how responsibility is split between rich and poor countries in a landmark UN plan to limit aviation CO2 emissions, due to be agreed at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) later this year.

As the Global Aviation Dialogues closed in Utrecht on Friday, where a range of member state, industry and NGO stakeholders discussed a market-based measure (MBM) to limit emissions, observers noted that discussions over differentiated responsibility have made little progress.

Rich and poor countries are split on whether individual airlines should only pay for their own emissions offsets within the MBM, called the 'individual' approach, or whether airlines should pay according to average sector growth in the region where they are registered, called the 'sectoral' approach.

Developed countries are understood to favour an individual approach as their industries are expected to grow less after 2020 than those in developing countries - meaning large, established airlines would not pay for the offsets of their fast growing competitors.

Developing countries would prefer a sectoral approach so that offset costs are shared more widely, ENDS understands, while the US is expected to push for a compromise deal.

The latest MBM draft has been criticised by NGOs. The text suggests that a number of exemptions will be made in the years following the introduction of the MBM in 2020, for example the least developed countries may have until 2026 to fully comply.

Such exemptions are controversial. As it stands, the draft MBM text "doesn't even achieve" ICAO's goal of achieving carbon neutral growth beyond 2020, as nearly 40% of the emissions concerned could be excluded in the scheme's early years, WWF said in a joint statement of six NGOs.

The draft MBM also lacks "strict criteria and clear safeguards" against double-counting, where the same offsets are included in separate climate policies, such as countries' carbon reduction commitments under the UNFCCC, NGOs said.

The quality of offsets used in the MBM, particularly international forestry credits such as REDD+, has also been questioned. While discussions to agree 'guidance' on offset quality are ongoing, NGO observers are calling for binding rules. They highlight the need, for example, for a 'negative list' which would exclude offset types that do not meet specific quality requirements.

"Offset quality criteria are only effective if they are binding. Without mandatory rules and a negative list that bans the known offsetting activities with harmful impacts, airlines could inadvertently buy credits with adverse climate impacts, creating a completely dysfunctional MBM," NGO Carbon Market Watch said.

All 191 ICAO member states are invited to attend a further round of negotiations in May, ahead of a final decision on theMBM at the triennial general assembly, from 27 September to 7 October. An updated draft of the MBM is expected to be circulated in the month ahead.


Valerie Flynn - ENDS Europe DAILY - 7 April 2016

Noise limits should not be set at EU level, the railway industry has said. But NGOs are in favour of the introduction of such limits through an update to the Environmental Noise Directive.

Noise is a "local issue by definition" so the principle of subsidiarity means it would not be appropriate to set limits at EU level, railway association CER told a recent EU consultation on the review of the 2002 Environmental Noise Directive.

But environmental group EEB said EU air quality legislation has shown that EU limits incentivise national action.

EU noise limits "could provide a strong incentive to seriously tackle noise sources and develop effective measures in action plans, e.g. quiet road surfaces, quieter rail wagons and equipment, more regular railway maintenance, cycling and traffic management policies", EEB said.

Binding limits should be based on the latest recommendations from the World Health Organization and "should be developed so as to limit noise from specific sources such as traffic, aviation and railway noise", EEB said.

In general, the directive does not contain enough in the way of specific measures for reducing noises at source, particularly transport noise. And many of its definitions, including those for quiet areas, agglomerations and airports, should be tightened, EEB added.

The directive defines agglomerations as having 100,000 residents and airports as having 50,000 movements per year.

CER said the rail sector was upgrading freight infrastructure to reduce noise but "the objective of noise reduction must be reconciled with maintaining the competitiveness of the railways".

It called for quiet areas to be implemented "in a reasonable way", that would not hamper the future resuming of railway traffic on lines that have been out of service. It noted that the directive did not provide additional funding for noise-reduction, including sound insulation in housing.

UK NGO Aviation Environment Federation said the protection of rural quiet areas should be made a stronger priority.

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