Heathrow has launched a new consultation. This one seems designed to boost Heathrow’s chances of securing a green light for expansion.
It asks just three questions, none of which asks for your views on the principle of expansion.
We recommend that:
(1) You answer the 1st question as directed
(2) You answer “don’t know” for the 2nd
(3) You simply state your opposition to expansion in the 3rd
Responses must be in by Sunday 16th March.
The Richmond Heathrow Campaign responded to the government consultation on night flights ending on 31 January. You can see further details on our Past Consultations page. The proposed three-year regime to October 2017 makes no material attempt to reduce night-time noise. The Davies Commission has even recommended more arrivals before 6am.
We say the Government should introduce a new 5 year regime with a Heathrow Night Flight Ban. At the very minimum there should be reduced average noise levels, further limits on the noisiest aircraft, and no scheduled flights before 5:30am (instead of the current 4:30am). These measures are needed to reduce the negative noise impact on people’s health, quality of life and human rights and to achieve World Health Organisation standards by the prescribed year 2030.
We say steps should be taken to revise the Heathrow regime now, in time for further consultation and decision before the general election in 2015, with implementation no later than October 2015 for a 5 year term.
We say there should be no additional flights before 6am, even for a trial period. Reducing stack sizes and reducing the need to use both runways can be achieved by managing flight arrival times and smoothing schedules later in the day rather than increasing average night noise and early flight arrivals before 6am.
We are continuing to promote these standpoints with the Aviation Minister and with other bodies in the aviation industry.
The next nine months will be critical to the challenge of Heathrow’s expansion proposals, short-term proposals and night flights. We are keen for more people to help develop the arguments and promote the campaign. The issues include noise, pollution, surface access, project financial viability, safety etc. No particular expertise is necessary as guidance is available from an experienced RHC team but interest in gathering evidence, or technical issues, aviation, the law, economics, finance or journalism would be most useful.
If interested, please get in touch. You can email us at email@example.com
The Airports Commission‘s recent Interim Report confirmed its view that another runway is needed in the southeast by 2030 and possibly a second by 2050. It short-listed two proposals for a third runway at Heathrow and a proposal for a second runway at Gatwick.
The Heathrow proposals favour the hub model where a significant number of international passengers transfer between flights concentrated at a single airport. The Gatwick proposal favours direct flights and a constellation of five London airports focussed on serving the southeast.
To hub or not to hub will be a key battleground. The Richmond Heathrow Campaign has produced research demonstrating that hub operations currently do not contribute to sustaining the least used routes from Heathrow. On the contrary, hub operations result in higher frequencies and capacity on the most-used routes at the expense of the less-used routes.
There is now a consultation on the appraisal framework and there will be another on the final options in the autumn. The final proposals will be published after the May election in 2015.
The Richmond Heathrow Campaign was singled out and commended in the Interim Report for its weighty submission.
We shall challenge this and continue to promote the case for better use of the existing capacity at all five London airports without additional runways or flights at Heathrow. We remain optimistic. Our case includes issues of regional aviation balance, international transfers and fairer taxation.
Furthermore, it is doubtful the climate change targets can accommodate any new runways.
Our case for realistic demand forecasts reduces the economic case, particularly for Heathrow’s foreign shareholders, unless the taxpayer contributes to billions of pounds worth of questionable state subsidies.
Regarding the two Heathrow proposals, Heathrow Airport Limited proposes a third runway to the northwest of the existing runways and Heathrow Hub Ltd proposes an extension to the west of the existing northern runway to provide two runways. These proposals have different noise impacts which we are examining. We shall challenge both on grounds of noise and pollution and it will be particularly important this year to mobilise resident opposition on these issues.
The Interim Report also included short-term proposals that we strongly oppose: for example, operational freedoms that reduce half day respite from noise. We expect a public consultation in the spring.