AirportWatch bulletin for November

The November AirportWatch bulletin is now at AirportWatch bulletin November 2013    and also on the Publications page of the AirportWatch website.

With the Airports Commission interim report expected some time in December, before the 17th, there has been a recent flurry of activity, with airports and backers of airport schemes vying to get the attention of the media, and presumably of Sir Howard Davies in particular. Two days ago the scheme for a mega airport in the Thames Estuary was re-announced, with 6 runways, 40 mile high speed rail networks,(space-age looking artwork) and so on - requiring the closure of Heathrow and its conversion into a pleasant suburb ...... at the cost of some £47 billion.

And then there  have been a variety of attempts to persuade the thousands of over-flown Londoners that the amount of plane noise they experience will reduce, if the number of flights increases by 50%, including more adobe huts in the playgrounds of some schools for "outdoor" play (under a roof?). Not to mention suggestions of a noise tzar, and hopes of an effective fines system for airlines.  

Sir Howard said, in his speech on 7th October, where he set out his Commission's "emerging thinking" on whether a new runway is actually needed - that despite the strong arguments against - "additional capacity will need to be provided" ie. he and his Commission regard a new runway as necessary.  However, there are good reasons for keeping the "no new runway" option on the table, in the interim report. There is plenty on this in the bulletin.

Sir Howard did say, on 7th October, that he has had discussions with many politicians and on the subject of his current airport task, their view could be summed up as "Rather you than me". Bearing in mind the length of column inches written by proponents of one airport scheme or another, not to mention the hundred of thousands of £££s spent in promoting them (full page adverts for the HeathrowHub variety recently in major broadsheet papers) it is easy to sympathise.

Those hoping for some respite from night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted learned yesterday that they will have to wait several more  years, before any decision is taken. More on the 2nd phase of the government's night flight consultation in the bulletin.

With the truly horrible situation in the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan, with winds of 200 mph (which we can hardly imagine in the UK, when we are appalled when they reach 90 mph) and the climate negotiations at CPO19 in Warsaw, this is no time to ignore our UK climate obligations.  Climate experts are agreed that tropical storms are very likely to become more intense, with higher atmospheric CO2 levels.  Eight of the main green NGOs have set out, for the Airports Commission, how building a new UK runway does not fit within our climate targets.  The letter sent by the NGOs can be seen at

The November bulletin Contents:

AirportWatch bulletin November 2013


  • Page 1

- Sir Howard Davies speech gives provisional support for a new south east runway – but shows how borderline the decision would be

- Green organisations tell Sir Howard Davies that allowing another runway jeopardises UK climate goals

 Page 2

- From John Stewart, Chair of AirportWatch.  “Honesty is the best policy”

 Page 3

- Packed seminar confirms opposition to any new Gatwick runway

- GACC warns that new flight paths proposed by NATS and Gatwick airport could affect thousands around Gatwick

- Airspace consultation launched by NATS for 

Gatwick, London City, Southend & Biggin Hill airport areas

 Page 4

- Put the “No New Runway” option back on the table, AEF tells Sir Howard Davies

- SSE tell Airports Commission robust evidence will be needed on financial viability of any new runway

 Page 5

- UK and American studies both show aircraft noise may increase risk of heart disease

- Stop Stansted Expansion lodges papers at High Court alleging Airports Commission criteria “infected by apparent bias” due to Geoff Muirhead

 Page 6

- London First getting businesses to fund campaign “Let Britain Fly” to press for airport expansion

- London First suggests an independent ombudsman is needed to deal with aircraft noise in London

 Page 7

- “BackHeathrow” (paid for by airport – not a grass roots campaign) send biased scare-mongering survey to half a million

- Ferrovial sells Heathrow stake to UK pension fund – the Universities Superannuation Scheme – for £392m

- Scotsman speculates that Heathrow Holdings may sell Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airport to raise cash for Heathrow runway

- Update from Luton on its planning application

 Page 8 

- CAA air passenger survey 2012 confirms low % of passengers on business, and high % of AB and C1 flying

 Page 9 

- Government to make no significant change to night flights regime at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted until Airports Commission report

- Public consultation on London City Airport planning applications extended to 18th December

- UK looks to increase number of UK – China flights through renewed bilateral agreement

 Page 10

- Verdict on Heathrow runways Operational Freedoms trial – a ‘lot of pain for very little gain’

- Infratil sells Manston Airport for £1 (£350,000 with adjustments) to Ann Gloag

- Glasgow Prestwick Airport may be given to the Scottish Government for nothing

 Page 11

- Durham Tees Valley Airport scraps mainstream holiday flights – now just links to Schiphol, Aberdeen and Jersey

- Manchester airport 28.5 ha car park in public safety zone given go-ahead,

despite safety fears from residents

- Nobel laureates demand European Commission action to classify oil from tar sands as very high carbon

 Page 12

- Ryanair issues 2nd profit warning in 2 months  expecting a loss for 2nd half of 2013/4 – due to “weak demand”

- Greenwash (inaccurate) statement: “Less CO2 per passenger by air than by car” says Virgin

- Reports of compulsory purchase of land, displacement of people and destruction of agricultural land for airports in Kerala

- Useful Info

November bulletin at