| SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - October to December 2016
STANSTED AIRPORT UNVEILS PLANS FOR
£130MILLION DEDICATED ARRIVALS BUILDING
Robbie Bryson, Trainee Reporter - Braintree and Witham Times - 16 December 2016
STANSTED Airport has today unveiled plans for a new hi-tech £130million arrivals building. The building will be the latest phase in the multi-million pound transformation programme which in total is estimated to create an extra 10,000 jobs on-site in various capacities.
The proposed 34,000sq metre building will span three levels and would be delivered inside the existing footprint of the airport and will be located next to the current terminal. Both the immigration and baggage reclaim areas will be increased in size, new retail facilities will be provided and a massive new public forecourt will aim to create a relaxing environment for passengers.
The current terminal building will be reconfigured and dedicated entirely to departing passengers, creating more space at check-in, security and the departures lounge.
Andrew Cowan, Stansted Airport's CEO, said: "The planning application and concept design for the new £130 million arrivals building marks the latest phase in Stansted's transformation and enables us to support further growth over the next decade and give our passengers the facilities that they want."
"Since MAG acquired the airport in early 2013, we have turned Stansted into one of the UK's fastest growing airports. It has always been our vision to invest in its infrastructure to create the best experience for our growing number of passengers and airline customers and have already invested over £150 million to update our terminal and satellite facilities, created 1,000 more jobs, added over 40 new destinations and increased passenger numbers by nearly seven million."
"Stansted is thriving as a national asset, forming a key component of the UK's aviation infrastructure at a time when airport capacity in the country is at a premium. Our investment will boost competition and enable the airport to play a bigger role in supporting economic growth, jobs and international connectivity across the East of England and London."
"Subject to planning consent, the next stage will be to develop our concept designs in conjunction with our stakeholders and business partners ahead of awarding any contracts for the construction works."
Stansted is currently the busiest single terminal airport in the UK with up to 5,000 departing passengers passing through per hour during peak times and it is hoped that the new arrivals building will help the airport to continue to grow in line with forecasts. The building, which will utilise the latest sustainable technologies, will take three years to build and Stansted expects all improvements to be completed by 2022.
ROW OVER HEIGHT OF NOISY STANSTED AIRPORT PLANES
Martin Ford - Herts & Essex Observer - 8 December 2016
A teacher says low-flying planes are making her life a misery and the sound of aircraft rumbling over her house is "scary". Lisa Glithero, 36, lives in Hertford and said around a year ago she began noticing more noise from planes coming in to land at Stansted Airport, which lies around 17 miles from her home.
A spokesman for the airport insisted the flight paths had not changed and this was confirmed by NATS, which runs air traffic control.
"I was working outdoors a lot at the time and it was just increasingly loud," she said. "You notice it more when you're outdoors. You would be talking and you would actually have to raise your voice as a plane came over."
Miss Glithero then began conducting her own research and, using a flight tracker app, found evidence of planes flying at 2,000ft over Hertford, and 1,600ft over towns like Sawbridgeworth. This is significantly lower than Stansted Airport's regulations - which state planes should not be flying lower than 2,500ft over Sawbridgeworth and 4,000ft over Much Hadham.
A spokesman for the airport pointed out that the app used could be inaccurate by about 450 to 500ft.
But Miss Glithero said the impact the noise was having on her life is significant. "I will be sat watching TV and every few minutes I have to turn it up as a plane comes over," she said. "It sounds like a lorry driving over you. If you notice the noise it's really stressful because it's just there all around you."
She added: "I fly quite a lot so I'm not against flying, but I wouldn't want my flying to affect other people like it has affected me."
The primary school teacher also said she was concerned that the rise in popularity of remote-controlled drones could lead to near misses with the low-flying planes.
A spokesman for the airport said representatives had met with Miss Glithero several times and attempted to reassure her with data relating to the height of aircraft. He added: "They looked back at several years data for October and November and even went back to 2005 and picked some random days and confirmed the heights for aircraft remain consistent for those that were checked.
"The airport has been increasing passenger numbers over the last three years and is now serving 24 million passengers a year, back to the pre-recession peak of 2007, but achieving this total with fewer flights - 165,800 for the year ending October 2016 as against 193,700 in the year to October 2007.
"If residents wish to check the details of aircraft operating in and out of Stansted, they can do so by using WebTrak, available on the community section of stanstedairport.com"
EU CLAIM ACCUSES UK AIRLINES OF 'DIRTY TACTICS'
Phil Davies - Travel Weekly Online - 13 December 2016
Leading UK airlines have been accused of using "dirty tactics" to put passengers off making claims following flight delays or cancellations.
The accusation comes from flight compensation firm EUclaim, listing Thomson Airways, British Airways, easyJet, Monarch, Jet2.com, Virgin Atlantic and Dublin-based Ryanair as culprits. Confusing language and complex legal jargon is one tactic used by airlines to confuse passengers.
EUclaim manager Tjitze Noorderhaven said: "The effort most of these airlines have put into confusing passengers about their rights and restricting them from having full access to claiming compensation, shows the type of companies we are up against. Having to wait eight weeks for a response; illegal charges and restrictions as part of the terms and conditions; buried website pages and legal gibberish - even by most consumer standards, these dirty tactics make a mockery of the legislation and highlight the real contempt with which airlines hold the rights of passengers."
Finding the relevant claim form on Thomson's website took three people an average of 13.21 minutes, according to EUclaim. So complex are the various 'notification of rights' and clauses that BA makes claimants read through, that "passengers better have a degree in law to understand the legal gibberish," claimed Noorderhaven.
Virgin Atlantic was almost as frustrating. It took three university graduates a total of 15:21 minutes to find the correct online form. Jet2.com caused "maximum frustration" with the EUcliam team giving up trying to search for the correct information after almost 25 minutes. A further 7.04 minute call to the customer service centre was needed before being informed that the only way to actually claim directly with the airline was to either email a complaint to the generic customer services email address or to write in.
Noorderhaven said: "From our experience, we know they will do all they can, to not have to pay out the compensation that is legally due if your flight is delayed three hours or more or cancelled."
A Thomson spokesman said: "We would like to reassure customers that we operate a fair and thorough process to deal with compensation claims in line with the EU delay claims regulation. We continue to do everything possible to minimise delays and remain committed to maintaining an excellent on-time performance across our flying programme."
"We also believe that any money due to customers should go in its entirety to them, therefore we will not process any claims submitted via unregulated third party delay claim management companies, who routinely take a large percentage of the payment as commission. In this situation we invite customers to submit their claim directly to us to be processed."
PM'S LOCAL COUNCIL COULD STOP
HEATHROW EXPANSION PLANS
BBC News Online - 8 December 2016
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has joined a "coalition" serving legal papers to the government for "unlawfully supporting the Heathrow expansion".
The Prime Minister's local council has formally requested a judicial review of the government's decision. If the request is successful, it hopes the case will be heard in the High Court early next year. The decision to proceed with the runway could be overturned if they win. Previously the council pledged £50,000 to challenge Heathrow expansion plans.
The coalition submitting the papers is made up of Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead councils, together with Greenpeace and a resident of Hillingdon.
Leader of The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council, Simon Dudley, said: "The Royal Borough has been very consistent in saying it will hold the government to account for its decision, and seek to protect our residents from the public health risks of an expanded Heathrow Airport."
MANCHESTER AIRPORT CLAIMS CARBON NEUTRAL STATUS
Manchester airport has become the first carbon offsets
Phil Davies - Travel Weekly Online - 8 December 2016
More than £7.5 million has been spent on energy efficiency projects, working with local and national businesses to develop innovative lighting solutions. This includes the installation of more than 25,000 low energy LED lights throughout the airport, including the first on any UK runway.
Levels 3 and 3-Plus, in addition to reducing airport emissions, also require that emissions from third party operations - including aircraft on the ground - are monitored. Airports must work with business partners to also reduce their emissions as well.
Airport chief executive Ken O'Toole said: "After a decade of hard work to reduce the amount of energy we use, I am pleased to be the first UK airport to be recognised by Airport Carbon Accreditation as carbon neutral. As an organisation we recognise that climate change is an important global challenge, with aviation contributing around 2% of international carbon emissions each year."
"This achievement demonstrates the lengths we go to ensuring we balance our role as economic generator, alongside caring for the environment, whilst working with our third parties to reduce the wider impact of our industry."
ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec said: "Becoming carbon neutral is no small feat and today actually serves as a timely reminder of how much work Manchester airport has put into achieving this goal."
OUR COMMENT: Congratulations are due, and hopefully MAG will extend the policy to Stansted airport. However, airports service aircraft that fly from country to country emitting more climate change emissions. So, will carbon neutral policies be extended into contracts with air transport companies and, even more important, will MAG join SSE in promoting our "No increase in the number of UK flights" policy - an essentiel part of a sensible climate change programme?
FEEDBACK FROM STANSTED AIRPORT DROP-IN SESSION
Felsted Parish Council Online - 16 November 2016
On Tuesday 15 November Stansted Airport, in partnership with the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), held a drop-in session in Felsted. The event was organised to give residents the opportunity to tell the airport, NATS and the CAA just how disruptive flightpath changes have been to their lives.
You can read the full story of the changes, and how your Parish Council has been fighting them, here.
The session was extremely well attended, so much so that the 100 comment cards provided by the airport ran out before the session was half way through.
The arguments we have presented are:
* The change was implemented despite 86% of respondees saying no, including Uttlesford District Council.
* This has doubled the number of planes using the Clacton route over Felsted Parish.
* We are not NIMBYS, we accept our share of flights, but not everyone else's share too.
* The change has resulted in an unacceptable increase in noise over rural communities, including Felsted.
* At the February 2017 review, the change should be reversed and actions taken to share the noise burden rather than focus it on the few.
At the meeting we learnt the following:
* Our complaints are being heard. They will form a very important input to the change review, due to take place in February 2017. This review will decide if the change should be reversed, modified or approved. It is vital that everyone continues to have their voice heard. If you are disturbed by a noisy plane, or want to complain about the overall noise increase from the change in flightpath usage, then please do so here.
* Current government guidance is to concentrate planes on fewer people, rather than share the noise disturbance. Meanwhile in America they follow principles of dispersal. New UK guidance is due to be released for public consultation in January/February. It is anticipated that this will follow the American model, proposing changes which would reduce acceptable noise levels and provide for dispersal of the noise burden. This consultation will likely be valuable to our cause, providing a mechanism to introduce the dispersal of flights and so share the noise burden.
* We will share news about this consultation through the website, so please register for news alerts using the email box below.
For more information please contact Cllr Andy Bennett.
WESTMINSTER WATCH: THE LONG VIEW ON AIRPORT CAPACITY
The ongoing runway debate brings to light what has so far been
a lesser-discussed area of airport expansion: Stansted.
Political lobbyist Gareth Morgan looks at this forgotten issue
Gareth Morgan - BuyingBusinessTravel Online - 10 November 2016
What happens after 2030? That is the date that Sir Howard Davies' Airports Commission's analysis showed one net additional runway was needed by. The UK government has finally set its 'direction of travel' with a third runway at Heathrow and we are now working through the politics and legality of that with a view to having a final policy in the winter of 2017-8.
Surely that means, bar the final swings of the various campaigns over the next year, the airports issue will be put to bed fairly soon? Not quite. The commission said that "... even with a third runway at Heathrow, there would be likely to be sufficient demand to justify a second additional runway by 2050 or, in some scenarios, earlier".
Now that the decision in favour of Heathrow expansion has been made, surely the government should now be beginning to think about this period? That is certainly the case Birmingham airport and Manchester Airport Group (the owners of Stansted) will be making. In fact, if there is anyone most frustrated by the latest delay it might well be them - they want to start talking about post-2030 seriously.
Take Stansted. It's in effect been squeezed out of the capacity debate after Davies made clear fairly early on that its case wasn't as strong as LHR/LGW for immediate expansion. Until the LHR/LGW decision is made, it will always find it hard to be heard on the prospects of its own expansion. #
There are absolutely MPs who are interested in the issue - for example, Sir Alan Haselhurst, the MP for Saffron Walden (which encompasses Stansted) is focused on preventing it, and there are Labour MPs on the Stansted Express route who see the economic good the airport could provide their communities - but it isn't yet a big issue. It will be their lobbyists' job to make sure it is eventually. So what does that lobbying look like?
Pros and cons
First, there will be the positive side. Expect reports in papers about the economic prospects of the areas around Stansted - such as Harlow in the south, and Cambridge and Peterborough in the north - and how they will be the export engines of the future. About how the hi-tech sectors in the region are driving higher growth than the UK as a whole, and how that region needs an easier way to connect to the world.
We'll see MPs forming groups to support the concept, major business groups picking up the idea and party conference events on the theme.
There will also be the negative side. The politics of airport expansion will mean that the relatively quiet Stop Stansted Expansion grouping will gather its strength again. But most interesting will be the extent that Stansted's owners try to stymie Gatwick. They know that if Gatwick is prohibited from expanding, then the prospects of Stansted expansion are stronger. Expect to see Stansted supporters backing anti-Gatwick groups and MPs. They'll want the fighting over the decision around LHR and LGW to be over... because then it's their turn.
'STANSTED AIRPORT DID NOT WARN US
ABOUT EVICTION', SAY TENANTS
The airport said the tenants had known of the plans
Sam Meadows - Herts & Essex Observer - 10 November 2016
Stansted Airport did not warn its tenants about the forthcoming property sales, some tenants have claimed. Eleven renters were served with two-month eviction notices by the airport, with others expecting there's at some point in the next few years.
Dawn Jones, 48, said she began renting her property two and a half years ago - a month after Manchester Airport Group completed its takeover - and was not warned. Fellow tenant Mandy Griffiths, who is yet to be served with an eviction notice, said she found out about the plan online. "You dread the postman coming because you think are we going to get a letter from the solicitor. You're just waiting every day for that letter to come through," said Mrs Griffiths, 54. "Most people have animals so you have to find a landlord who will accept at least one dog."
Miss Jones, who is a dog groomer, was served notice in September and is supposed to leave her home at the end of the month. She said: "When the house next door became vacant and they sold it, it set alarm bells ringing. I looked online and found a story about MAG selling off its property stock. That was back in June and I was thinking why didn't they write to us and tell us?"
She added: "I have a daughter at uni in Southampton. I hadn't told her anything about it but I got a text from her asking if we are being evicted."
A spokesman for the airport claimed all tenants were aware of the long-term plan to sell the properties.
STOP STANSTED EXPANSION ACCUSES AIRPORT OF
'SHAMEFUL BEHAVIOUR' OVER EVICTION NOTICES
Campaigners have hit back at the "shameful behaviour" of Stansted Airport
Sam Meadows - Herts & Essex Observer - 8 November 2016
News broke yesterday (November 7) that the airport had served 11 tenants living in properties it owns with two-month eviction notices. A spokesman for the airport claimed groups including Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) and local councillors had been calling for the sale of its property portfolio.
But Brian Ross, the deputy chairman of SSE, disputed this claim. "No-one will seriously believe Stansted Airport's claim that SSE and local councillors are to blame for the eviction notices that the airport is currently sending out to its tenants," he said. "It's a desperate attempt by Stansted Airport to avoid taking responsibility for its own shameful behaviour."
Brian Ross continued: "Last year the airport did not sell a single house out of the 268 houses that it owns. These houses were mainly bought by the airport in connection with its plans for a second runway. For years, any tenant who wanted to buy was met with a refusal. However, there has now been a complete change of policy. Stansted's owners, the Manchester Airport Group, have taken control of the airport-owned houses and suddenly now want to sell everything within the next two years."
The airport's spokesman told the Observer there was no timetable on the sale of the property portfolio. But in an interview with MAG Property earlier this year, the company's chief executive Lynda Shillaw said the houses were "non-core to the business" and could be sold over the next couple of years.
In a statement issued yesterday, the airport's spokesman said: "From the outset, MAG made clear it had no desire to be a long term residential landlord and would be looking to sell the properties back in to private or new ownership as soon as practically possible to do so. Since 2010 the airport has been regularly and constantly asked to sell the properties as quickly as possible, primarily by Stop Stansted Expansion and local councillors."
FAMILIES SERVED TWO-MONTH EVICTION NOTICE
BY STANSTED AIRPORT
Stansted Airport plans to sell off all its housing stock
Sam Meadows - Herts & Essex Observer - 7 November 2016
Tenants in properties owned by Stansted Airport have been given just two months' notice they will have to leave. The notices have been sent to 11 households in the area who will now have to leave their homes, but the airport is looking to jettison its entire property portfolio which comprises 268 homes.
Sandra Reed, who runs the Three Horseshoes pub, which lies on Stansted's doorstep in Molehill Green, said several of her regulars had received the letters. A spokesman for Stansted said since the facility was taken over by the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) in 2013 plans had been in place to sell the properties, and tenants had been aware.
Mrs Reed said: "People are now looking to move out of the area before they get kicked out. You have families with kids who don't know any different and they will have to find new schools away from friends. Families who own businesses in the area will have to find new homes. We have an 88-year-old man living nearby with dementia. He hasn't had the notice yet but he will soon, it's just immoral. Some of these people have lived in their houses for 30 years and they have just been given two months' notice."
Stansted has offered the tenants the opportunity to purchase their homes, but Mrs Reed claimed they had been given two weeks to make a decision - not enough time to secure a mortgage. The airport spokesman said following an independent review of the portfolio, it began releasing properties to the market in March. From the outset, MAG made clear it had no desire to be a long term residential landlord and would be looking to sell the properties back in to private or new ownership as soon as practically possible to do so," he added.
"Since 2010 the airport has been regularly and constantly asked to sell the properties as quickly as possible, primarily by Stop Stansted Expansion and local councillors. Stansted's intention has always been to sell the properties in a sensitive manner over an extended period whilst maintaining the stability of the local housing market and recognising our responsibility to the local community."
He continued: "In line with this approach, notice has been served on a small number of tenants to vacate properties in accordance with agreed contractual terms. We have also engaged with many tenants to explore their interest in purchasing the property they rent. STAL fully understand and appreciate this process may cause some tenants a certain amount of concern and anxiety, and that is of course regrettable, however it is unavoidable in the circumstances if we are to achieve the wider aim of releasing all properties from airport ownership."
Mrs Reed said she also feared for the future of the pub, which is owned by the airport, although the lease has two and a half years left to run. Her and husband Mick are exploring ways to purchase the pub.
A public forum on the issue will take place at Broxted Village Hall at 7pm on Tuesday, November 15.
INCREASE IN STANSTED PLANES OVER
ESSEX TOWNS AND VILLAGES IS 'A DISASTER'
Michael Steward - Dunmow Broadcast - 31 October 2016
Residents in parts of Uttlesford have been left angered by changes to Stansted Airport's flight path which has resulted in a vast increase of planes passing over their heads during the day.
Noise from the rerouting of flights taking off from Stansted, introduced in February, has affected many towns and villages, including Dunmow, Felsted, Stebbing, Hatfield Heath and the Easters. Residents have reported up to 240 flights a day flying overhead every two or three minutes between 6.10am to 11pm and say the increased air traffic is "turning a peaceful part of Essex into a disaster".
NATS implemented the transfer of outgoing daytime flights from the Dover route to the Clacton route earlier this year after a 12-week consultation in 2014, and campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) claimed its objections to the changes were ignored. SSE is now calling on residents who have been adversely affected by the changes to make their views known in advance of a post-implementation review, which is legally required and will take place next year.
Simon Denham, 55, who lives in Church End, said: "As soon as one plane disappears, another one appears about half a minute later. I don't see how they've been allowed to do this. I've lived here for six years and never was the flightpath brought up in solicitor's checks as an issue when I was buying the house."
"I understand there was a consultation but many residents had no idea that the Clacton route affected them. I think it's very disingenuous of the airport to promote these changes in such a way. My neighbours are very angry about the whole thing, it is turning a peacful part of Essex into a disaster."
Peter Sanders, from SSE, said: "The transfer of Stansted daytime flights from the Dover to Clacton route has resulted in the doubling of planes flying over residents in affected areas and they are understandably very upset about it."
In a feedback report, following the consultation in 2014, NATS said the changes would cut delays for Stansted and neighbouring airports as well as reducing the number of people who are regularly overflown during the day.
A NATS spokesman said: "This airspace change proposal, approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and implemented in February 2016, is part of the first stage of a wider airspace modernisation programme across the whole of the UK. In this particular case the change of use of the routes means fewer people being overflown, in line with government policy. The CAA will undertake a post-implementation review in 2017 to consider whether the change is performing as expected."
A roadshow explaining the changes, as part of Stansted Airport's community engagement programme, was held in Hatfield Heath last week (Oct 20) and two more are going ahead next month.
Heathrow welcomes the Government's decision though Parliament will have to approve and planning permission is needed
GOVERNMENT'S CHOICE FOR HEATHROW EXPANSION
WILL HELP DELIVER THE PRIME MINISTER'S VISION
OF A STRONGER, FAIRER UK
Media Centre Heathrow - 25 October 2016
Heathrow today welcomed Government's decision to support its expansion and confirmed it will begin work to deliver the new runway that will connect all of Britain to the world, bringing new jobs and economic growth to every nation and region of the UK.
The decision declares Britain "open for business". Expanding Heathrow will keep Britain growing at the heart of the global economy, do more than any other infrastructure project to share economic growth all around the UK and deliver more competition and choice for passengers.
Independent polling in June 2016 showed that almost 70% of MPs polled support expansion. Since then the Scottish Government has endorsed a third runway at Heathrow as having the biggest jobs and growth benefits for Scotland.
Expansion of Heathrow is also supported by business, trade unions and airlines as the best solution to Britain's aviation capacity crunch. Supporters include the CBI, BCC, chambers of commerce across the country, Unite, the GMB, 37 British airports and airlines such as easyJet and Flybe, which plan to operate from an expanded Heathrow. In constituencies close to the airport polling has shown there is more backing than opposition.
The Government's decision follows the unanimous and unambiguous recommendation of the Airports Commission last summer after a two and a half year, £20m study. The Commission confirmed that expanding Heathrow would have the biggest economic benefits for the UK and can be done while reducing noise for local communities and in accordance with EU air quality law.
When it opens in 2025, new airport hub capacity will allow up to 40 more long haul destinations, such as Wuhan, Osaka and Quito, making Britain the best connected country in the world. It will increase the number of domestic routes served, ensuring every region and nation of the UK can get to global markets and increase cargo capacity, supporting Britain's exporters.
Heathrow is one of the most experienced infrastructure delivery companies in the UK having spent £11bn over a decade to transform into the best hub airport in Europe. This included a new Terminal 2 and Terminal 5, the latter of which has been voted by passengers as the best in the world four years in a row.
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport said: "Today, the team at Heathrow start the important work to deliver the vital new runway that the UK needs to compete in the world. A new runway will open trade routes and create jobs up and down the UK. Heathrow will play a key role in making our country stronger and fairer for everyone. We look forward to working with Government, businesses, airlines, the CAA and our local communities to deliver an airport that is fair, affordable and secures the benefits of expansion for the whole of the UK."
A full CGI video of Heathrow's plans can be downloaded here alongside more information on Heathrow's plans here.
'WE FEEL BETRAYED': HARMONDSWORTH RESIDENTS
FURIOUS AT HEATHROW DECISION
Six years after Cameron vowed no third runway, people in village set for
part-demolition angry that government now backs airport's expansion
Esther Addly - The Guardian - 26 October 2016
In Harmondsworth, one of the villages scheduled to be partly or wholly demolished to make way for Heathrow's third runway, there was little shock but considerable distress and anger when the government's decision was confirmed. Neil Keveren, whose house will face the boundary fence of the new runway, said residents felt "betrayed" six years after David Cameron's "no ifs, no buts" commitment that there would be no third runway at Heathrow.
Kveren said: "We received a promise. We all made life choices based on that, which we believed. Some people decided to lay their loved ones to rest here because of it. I invested in my home. I thought we were safe and and we had a reasonable expectation that we were. I feel we have been have been betrayed by Theresa May."
Under the plans, half of the ancient village is to be flattened, including a number of listed buildings and a small housing estate. While the Norman church and a Grade I listed medieval barn owned by English Heritage will be spared, residents say they expect the bits of the village that remain to become uninhabitable once the thunderous noise of the runway starts.
"I'm very disappointed, and I feel betrayed, and also worried," said Lesley O'Brien, whose house in Cambridge Close - where she has lived for 46 years and raised her three children - is scheduled to be bulldozed. "Where can I go? They keep on about the money, but it's not about the money. They can keep their money. I want to stay here."
Like many in the village, Dave Durston said he had local roots; having grown up and gone to school a few miles away, he moved to Harmondsworth in 1983. What angered him, he said, was "the fact that people who live nowhere near the place, without coming to see what's going to be destroyed, can decide that it's got to go".
Several dozen crammed into a timber-beamed room to watch Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, confirm the decision in the Commons. Some wept, others were defiant. There were shouts of "liar" and "what about the residents?", and when he mentioned the compensation packages that would be offered to those to lose their homes, one local shouted: "Not enough".
Armelle Thomas has lived in Harmondsworth since the late 1960s, when she and her late husband, Tommy, met working at Heathrow and "fell in love" with the village. Her house is also marked for demolition, but Thomas said she would never agree to move. "My house is not for sale at any price," she said. "I was with my husband here for 46 years and I have my memories."
Fighting back tears, she said the stress of the fight against the runway - and particularly a letter sent by Heathrow authorities last year after a commission recommended it should expand - had contributed to her husband's death. His six medals for wartime service in the RAF were in her hand, along with a large photograph of him. "Nobody is talking about 10,500 people being made homeless by a government that is supposed to be compassionate," she said. "I'm a Conservative and I have always been, but they will never get my vote again."
While some of Harmondsworth will be spared, nearby Longford is due to disappear altogether. It will become a car park at the end of the new runway. One Longford resident, who asked not to be named because he works at Heathrow, said his 80-year-old neighbour had been in tears when he spoke to him on Tuesday morning. The man said his neighbour needed kidney dialysis at a local hospital every other day, adding: "Where is he going to move to? He's not going to find another house, another village. He has lived there since before Heathrow, he was born there. He will never have people supporting him like they do in the village when he is sick. This is totally unfair on people like him."
The man said the compensation was unlikely to cover what he paid eight years ago for his home in Longford. He added: "I'm not moving, and a lot of us feel the same. There's no point in me moving. Where can I afford to go?"
Sandeep Chopra, who has run the Harmondsworth village shop for six years, said the third runway would destroy his life: "I will lose everything - my business, my house. It's not easy going somewhere and starting again." He said he had a large family that included his wife and three children, his parents, brother and sister, who received no benefits from the government. "We all depend on this shop," he added.
Harmondsworth was a "proper village", Chopra said, with little trouble and friendly neighbours. "It's a residents' shop," he said of his business. "People love the community, and they support us."
Keveren - who was born in nearby Sipson and whose grandparents had worked the land before Heathrow was built - said giving up was not an option for the villagers. "I have faith in the legal challenges that a number of councils are going to make. And if the legal challenge fails, then in the end all we have left is direct action," he said.
THE GUARDIAN'S VIEW ON HEATHROW'S THIRD RUNWAY.
CLIMATE LOSES OUT TO GROWTH.
Leader - The Guardian - 26 October 2016
It is a sign of the British political world's current priorities that Theresa May has finally made the decision to opt for a third runway at Heathrow. She promised it was a decision for "jobs and growth", both of which may be scarcer in the post-Brexit era in which the new runway will come into service. Pumping hope into the economy is now considered worth alienating every Conservative council and MP whose voters live under the flightpath of planes using the new runway, including Mrs May's own Maidenhead constituents.
It is worth at least one backbench resignation (and maybe a lost byelection) and a novel reinterpretation of the convention about cabinet responsibility in order to accommodate public dissent from at least two ministers. It is worth what will probably be millions of pounds fighting legal challenges over air and noise pollution. Most of all, the decision puts old-fashioned economics firmly ahead of tackling climate change, which turned out not to be worth a single mention in transport secretary Chris Grayling's opening statement to MPs.
The decision, which has now to be incorporated into a national policy statement on aviation that MPs will vote on some time in the next 18 months, comes heavily gilded with incentives to local residents to take the money and keep quiet. About 750 homes will be subject to compulsory purchase: £1.5bn has been set aside to pay compensation at the market rate for the unblighted value of each home and for the resettlement costs of the residents.
At least another £1bn will be paid out for noise insulation in schools and improvements in public facilities. There will be a new community resource fund. Mr Grayling promised MPs that there would be a 50% increase in travellers arriving at Heathrow by public transport, and the cost of improving road access would fall not to the taxpayer but to the developers. The £17bn bill for development is to be picked up by the developers and not passed on to air passengers. A senior retired judge has been appointed to oversee the consultation period. "This is not expansion at any cost, but the right scheme at the right price," Mr Grayling declared.
There are many flaws in the government case which a determined opposition will unpick between now and the next general election in 2020. Campaigners, including the foreign secretary Boris Johnson, already plan to make it a central issue. This is the decision of a government that is not prepared to think boldly about the implications of its commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80% over the next 35 years. Instead, a huge investment will be made in promoting leisure travel (which already accounts for almost two-thirds of journeys in and out of Heathrow) in the name of facilitating business connections.
Thousands of jobs will be created - but they will mainly be for baggage handlers and baristas. Mr Grayling made a commitment to at least six new domestic destinations to enhance UK-wide connectivity, a questionable decision if the government review of HS2, the high speed train that will one day link Glasgow and Edinburgh to London, gives the project the go-ahead. If, on the other hand, HS2 is vetoed, the pressure for more highly polluting short-haul flights will only grow. Expanding air travel will make it harder than ever to cut carbon emissions to meet the targets set out in the newly ratified Paris agreement. Air pollution has an even more immediate effect on the health of the local population. The area around Heathrow already regularly breaches safe levels of nitrogen dioxide and, with expansion, will continue to do so up until 2030. Local councils are threatening a legal challenge on those grounds alone. The lobbying organisation ClientEarth has just taken the government back to court for failing to obey an earlier injunction to produce a national plan for tackling pollution.
The scale of an opposition that has been years in preparation may be enough to stall plans altogether. Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park who has resigned over the go-ahead, warned Mr Grayling that his plan was doomed. He ought to be right. This is a short-sighted investment that may provide a boost to the economy - a mere £60bn over 60 years - at the cost of long-term harm to globally critical climate change objectives. This is no way to run an economy that works for everyone: more flights and greater connectivity will benefit only those who can afford to travel. Those who can't will gain nothing, not so much as a single airline meal.
STANSTED AIRPORT RESPONDS TO
GOVERNMENT RUNWAY ANNOUNCEMENT
Stansted will be able to handle twice as much as it does today
Jenny Chapman - Cambridge News - 25 October 2016
"Today's announcement highlights the important role that aviation plays in connecting Britain to the world," said Stansted Airport's CEO Andrew Cowan.
"Airports such as London Stansted are critical in supporting economic growth and increasing the UK's global competitiveness and we have been clear that making the most of existing capacity at Stansted over the next 10-15 years is our priority and a vital precursor to the building of new capacity in the south-east."
"With the decision on Heathrow now made, Government must commit to developing a new aviation policy and we urge them to work closely with us to make the most of the opportunities that already exist at Stansted by investing in the rail access to the airport. In addition, by relaxing current planning constraints, Stansted will be able to serve up to an extra 20 million passengers from its single runway, almost twice as many as it does today."
"Making use of Stansted's spare capacity will benefit not only the dynamic and fast growing East of England region we serve but also the UK as a whole and has the potential to generate an extra 10,000 on-site jobs and £4.6 billion in additional economic activity."
"Competition between London's airports over the last few years has shown just how much consumers stand to benefit from a market-driven approach. We must learn the lessons from the Airports Commission process and develop a new aviation policy that will provide a clear framework for airports to compete with each other on a level playing field and meet future passenger demand in the most sustainable, economic and efficient way possible."
OUR COMMENT: Relaxing current planning constraints? Local residents had better be consulted!
IF GATWICK AND HEATHROW BOTH BUILD NEW RUNWAYS,
IT COULD MEAN THE UK BECOMES FUTURE-PROOFED
It would upset many people living under flight paths
but for the rest of us it would be a relief
The Independent - 9 October 2016
Pity the passenger inbound to Heathrow or Gatwick, and the residents living some thousands of feet below the circling aircraft. The world's busiest two-runway and single-runway airports are, in a sense, the most efficient aviation assets in the world. They set out to handle implausible amounts of traffic, and most of the time just about get away with it - with travellers and householders growing accustomed to the time-devouring, noise-intensifying delays to landing and take off. Who'd choose to use such overstretched resources? Well, millions of passengers every week.
London has become the world capital of aviation, on target to handle 150 million arriving and departing travellers this year, despite itself. Stansted, Luton and plucky Southend are soaking up some of the excess demand that Heathrow and Gatwick can't accommodate, with London City carving out a niche for time-sensitive business travellers. Yet a decade from now, London and the rest of the nation may have something approaching sensible infrastructure. We wait 70 years for another full-length runway in south-east England to get the go-ahead, and then two come along at once - or at least they might if the Government gives the green light to Heathrow.
The prevarication that has characterised airport planning for decades may finally end this week or next. As The Independent revealed on Sunday, Gatwick bosses believe the airport's growth trajectory demands another runway regardless of the Transport Secretary's announcement, which is expected as early as Tuesday.
For the past 15 months, Heathrow has been hoping that the Davies Commission recommendation for a third runway will be rubber-stamped. Assuming the vote goes against Gatwick, the Sussex airport has now indicated it will flout the referee's decision and hire the bulldozers anyway. Gatwick's rebellious attitude may prove to be yet another distraction to a process that has dragged on as long as Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. Or it could mean that the UK, for the first time in aviation history, becomes future-proofed - with Stansted waiting in the wings in Essex for the next round of expansion.
Patrons of the Five Bells in Harmondsworth and the Gatwick Manor Inn may feel aggrieved that their historic drinking dens are under threat from expansion at either airport. But many of the rest of us will feel relieved: householders whose property has been blighted for decades, young people whose employment prospects are uncertain, and passengers who feel they've been going around in circles forever, just like the great airport debate.
NEVER MIND A NEW AIRPORT RUNWAY,
THERE'S NO ROOM LEFT IN THE SKY
Letter to The Telegraph - 8 October 2016
SIR - As a former deputy chairman of the Australian air traffic system, now back in England, I have been increasingly concerned by the arguments over the expansion of airports in south-east England. All the reports, including the Davies report, take insufficient notice of the effect of extra runways on an already overcrowded airspace.
Andrew Haines, the head of the Civil Aviation Authority, summed it up when he said that expanding Heathrow or Gatwick without modernising airspace would be "like building a car park and forgetting the access road".
The talk lately has been about the effect of pollution. This must take into account the effect of extra low-level flight in a holding pattern that will occur as a result of a completely overcrowded airspace.
OUR COMMENT: Good advice, and, no more pollution as well!
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