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AirportWatch latest news bulletin
The AirportWatch news bulletin for January is now at  AirportWatch Bulletin for January 2015 

As the Airports Commission consultation ends on 3rd February, this bulletin contains some information on how to respond. There is guidance from HACAN for Heathrow, and from GACC for Gatwick.  Many other local groups have put out information for their members, reflecting their particular concerns.

There are serious issues relating to the carbon emissions implications of a new runway. The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) has been working on briefings about this, as has AirportWatch.  Final details will soon be completed - and this information will follow shortly.

The battle between Heathrow and Gatwick has continued over the past 7 weeks or so, since the last bulletin. There have been large public meetings held by the Airports Commission, on the two airports. The day on Heathrow was on 3rd December, and the day on Gatwick was 16th December. Both allowed MPs, councillors, local community representatives and the general public to express clearly their opposition to the runway plans. The transcript for the Heathrow day is Heathrow transcript   and the transcript of the Gatwick day is Gatwick transcript

Local councils have been much in the news, in relation to Heathrow and Gatwick, in the past two months. While John Holland-Kaye has claimed:

‘Historically the five closest boroughs to us have opposed our plans. Now all are either neutral or support us and only Hillingdon opposes our plans now” several council leaders have made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that they are implacably opposed.  

Kent County Council has withdrawn its support for a 2nd Gatwick runway. Tunbridge Wells Council has voted almost unanimously against a new Gatwick runway. West Sussex County Council has a meeting on Monday 19th January to consider their earlier backing for a runway.  Horsham District Council is likely to reject the runway plans. There will be a key council debate on Monday 26th January about their position on Gatwick, with strong opposition from many councillors. And so it continues with other councils.  It is the councils that have to deal with the housing, the infrastructure, the disruption and all the other impacts of a runway.

Noise and flight paths remain absolutely key to the debate about new runway capacity. Though trials at Heathrow and Gatwick have ended, the failure of either airport to communicate properly with those affected by its flight paths have caused not only upset, distress and anger - but perhaps a permanent loss of trust in the airports. Heathrow is now setting up a "Community Noise Forum"   in the hope that will defuse some of the bad feeling and opposition.  

After Gatwick denied, to people living to the east of the airport, that there had been any changes to flight paths, it now emerges (from the CAA) that there were indeed changes. The misinformation has not helped Gatwick's aim of winning friends .... so much so that Gatwick staff avoid meetings with local people, aware of the degree of hostility. Recently Gatwick sent staff to a meeting in Colnbrook (a community seriously scared by the threat of destruction by a Heathrow runway), but they avoid attending local meetings. Gatwick staff have also refused to meet the group of local MPs in Parliament. 


AirportWatch Bulletin for January 2015 

The January Bulletin contents:


Page 1
- Responding to the Airports Commission consultation. Deadline 3rd February.

Page 2
- MPs identify serious concerns about noise implications of Heathrow expansion
- Council leaders tell Mr Holland-Kaye  he is wrong to presume Councils don’t oppose his runway plans
- Heathrow Airport to set up a new Community Noise Forum

Page 3
- Post boxes appearing in Heathrow’s terminals … for pro-Heathrow consultation forms
- Expansion of Heathrow could ‘destroy Windsor’ according to councillors

Page 4
- New briefing “Gatwick Unwrapped” by GACC provides comprehensive detail for Commission consultation responses
- SHE (Stop Heathrow Expansion) suggested basic response to Airports Commission consultation
- Heathrow hopes to overcome community opposition to 3rd runway with more extensive house purchase plans

Page 5
- Unknown cost to taxpayer of tunnelling M25 could equal several years total flood defence spending
- Revealed that “Back Heathrow” is funded by Heathrow, rather than being a true community campaign
- Complaint to Airports Commission that £ multi-million Gatwick & Heathrow ads & PR blitz are ‘subverting democracy’

Page 6
- EU ruling on air pollution compliance is a ‘major blow’ for Heathrow Airport expansion plans
- Airports Commission consultation shows air quality problems with new runways, but no adequate data yet
- Briefing by AEF asks whether a new runway would breach legal limits for air quality

Page 7
- Near miss of drone with plane landing at Heathrow in July  – unregulated drones a potential safety hazard
- Charlie Cornish says Stansted might press for a 2nd runway by the mid-2020s

Page 8
- Stewart Wingate and senior Gatwick staff refuse to appear before group of local area MPs in Parliament
- New GACC paper questioning extent of benefits to local businesses from 2nd Gatwick runway
- New Moody’s report shows Gatwick vulnerable to either its own, or a Heathrow, runway

Page 9
- Update from Luton – no sign of work yet on the airport expansion - Heathrow gets award as “Green Business of the Year” from a West London group that it sponsors
- Air Passenger Duty on economy flights for children under 12 cut from May 2015 (under 16s from May 2016)

Page 10
- Osborne to introduce ‘Google tax’ for large companies that shift profits abroad to avoid UK tax
- Heathrow faces “almighty battle” if expansion gets Government approval
- Sir Howard Davies argues for new runway in order to keep air fares low – or get even lower

Page 11
- Need for air travel demand management to limit growth in aviation CO2 emissions
- Aviation industry worldwide faces pressure to make progress on its carbon emissions
- American blog “Love and long-distance travel in the time of climate change”

Page 12
- Date for your diary: Heathrow Rally Against the 3rd Runway on Tuesday 3rd March 2015
- Date for your diary: “Time to Act on Climate Change” March in London on Saturday March 7th 2015


 AirportWatch Bulletin for January 2015 

Do send in a response to the Airports Commission consultation - it does not need to be long, or complicated. But it would be good for as many people as possible to let the Commission know their views. This may be the last formal opportunity to do so.  The Commission especially need to know where they have got information wrong, or left things out. 

Responses should be e-mailed to: airports.consultation@systra.com
 or by the online form at http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/134578HXHDU    and you should get an acknowledgement

More details in the Bulletin.


And there are two important dates for your diaries;

Tuesday 3rd March 2015 -  Heathrow Rally Against the 3rd Runway
HACAN will be holding a large protest rally at 7pm at Church House Conference Centre, Dean’s Yard, Westminster SW1P 3NZ

and 

Saturday 7th March 2015 - “Time to Act on Climate Change” March in London.
The march is organised by CCC (the Campaign Against Climate Change)  Starts in Lincoln’s Inn Fields / Malet Street, setting off at 1pm.

As usual, your feedback and comments, input etc are greatly appreciated.

Kind regards
Sarah Clayton
AirportWatch co-ordinator

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