This is an amazing day to be sending out news about airports !

With the volcanic clouds filling the upper atmosphere with an abrasive mixture dangerous to aircraft engines, it seems to be the quietest day in the UK's skies (apart from some helicopters) for many decades, with just about all the UK airspace closed.  There have been comments from hundreds of people to say how much they are appreciating the peace, realising just how noisy life usually is, and listening to the unfamiliar sound of birdsong.  An unusual day.  Lots of good information about it on the BBC website.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8621407.stm

Not a trace of contrails in the sky.  It has been suggested that when the FAA closed the National Airspace System in the US for three days immediately following 9/11, not only were there no contrails, but there was an anomalous increase in the average diurnal temperature range for that three day period. 

The April bulletin is attached, and also on the website.  (8 pages)  http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/downloads/AirportWatch_bulletin_April_2010.pdf 
I hope you find it interesting.  Or useful.  By the next bulletin there could be a different government, and a different set of challenges and personalities on the aviation scene.
Best wishes
Sarah Clayton
AirportWatch coordinator
Bulletin contains:

In bijlage het bulletin

Page 1
Comment from Chariman of AirportWatch, John Stewart about the main parties' policies on aviation.  (copied below)
-  The High Court ruling leaves the government?s Heathrow policy in tatters

Page 2
Comment from John Stewart on the Heathrow High Court verdict  (copied below)
-  The General Election:  what are the parties offering on aviation?

Page 3

- Stansted update
- New study for Hacan shows aircraft noise is no longer just a West London problem
Page 4
- Birmingham 400 metre runway extension will be delayed by at least 5 years, and need public funding
- Southend Airport expansion gets go-ahead from Government
Page 5
- Luton update - and the tourism deficit
- Manchester Airport could be as busy as Heathrow is now by 2050
Page 6
- Residents welcome Belfast City Airport public inquiry
- Bristol Airport expansion decision - still in the balance
- Lydd Airport - Long Legal Battle Ahead
Page 7
- London City Airport wins the Mayor's Worst Planning Decision Award
- Carlisle - fight goes back to the High Court next week
- Greenwash:  East Midlands - willow trees to power airport
Page 8
- Greenwash: Edinburgh airport's tree project is trampled by its carbon elephants 
       (including cute flying dog picture)
- Various snippets:
    - Ryanair and easyJet growing rapidly in 2010   
    - March figures for UK Airports - passengers down by -1.1% on March 2009  
    - Updated information on each airport's flights, passengers and approx CO2 emissions ***
Useful Info

"     For excellent monthly global temperature data and analysis, the NOAA  (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
"     AirportWatch South West has updated its tremendous website, which shows a mass of information for each airport.  http://www.awsw.co.uk/allco2/PLH_co2.html  Information on passengers, routes, CO2 emissions etc.
"     For a great collection of articles on climate change, the Guardian's Climate Change Pages:
"     For more information about aviation, see the AEF website at 
"     For actions and events see AirportWatch's "Take Action" 
"    Transport & Environment have useful information and updates about aviation, especially in relation to Europe.
"    To ask your local candidates what they are doing about the climate, 
       see Greenpeace and Ask The Climate Question  http://bit.ly/cvnRKz
"    Lots of updated news and information on the AirportWatch website at   www.airportwatch.org.uk 
Well worth a look:
*** AirportWatch South West has updated its tremendous website, which shows a mass of information for each airport.  http://www.awsw.co.uk/allco2/PLH_co2.html   Just click on an airport and it shows the airports with services from Plymouth;  number of passengers in 2009 and in 2008; an estimate of total CO2 emissions (excluding freight flights); top 10 destinations by number of passengers;  top 10 destinations by CO2 emissions; and gains or losses of passengers on each route during the year.

From John Stewart, AirportWatch Chairman

 It's all happening on the aviation front.  There are clear differences between Labour and the Conservatives on airport expansion.  The Tories would drop runways at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick.  Labour would push ahead with expansion proposals.  Labour's one concession is that, except for the 3rd runway at Heathrow, it would not build any new runways in the next Parliament.  But it's unlikely it would have been asked to approve any new runways in that period!  Only Stansted was a possibility and it's unlikely to have gone through all its planning stages by then.  The Labour commitment looks increasingly like an election gimmick.  The Liberal Democrats, like the Conservatives, have ruled out new runways at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick.   But no parties, except the Greens, have ruled out expansion at the smaller airports in the South East or other regional or Scottish airports.  That is likely to be the battleground over the next couple of years.
The Heathrow ruling in the High Court could assist all campaigners fighting expansion as it effectively said that the Air Transport White Paper, on which the expansion is based, is out-of-date as a policy document.  The judgment is detailed below  (see bulletin).  It gives us hope.  But not certainty.  I know only too well from decades of campaigning that we rarely win in the courts.  Legal challenges can never be a substitute for campaigning.




On the Heathrow judgement, John Stewart adds:

The recent victory in the High Court of the campaigners against a third runway at Heathrow could have far-reaching implications for aviation policy in the UK.  The judge ruled that the Government had to revisit its decision to give BAA the green light to draw up details plans for a third runway because the decision was based on the 2003 Air Transport White Paper which, he ruled, was outdated.  The White Paper did not take account of the latest Government policy on climate change or the cost of carbon. 
The implications of this go beyond Heathrow.  All the expansion proposals at airports across the UK are based on the White Paper.  It is expected that campaigners across the country will now start to challenge them.  Although the Government was reluctant to admit defeat in the court, it has implicitly acknowledged that the White Paper is out-of-date by saying it will take heed of the judge?s ruling when it draws up its National Policy Statement on aviation next year.
The ruling also paves the way for the Conservatives to develop a new aviation policy if they win the Election.  In their Manifesto they have said they will drop plans for new runways at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick.
As far as Heathrow is concerned, it means that, whoever wins the Election, detailed proposals for a third runway cannot be brought forward for at least a year.  In effect, the judge gave the Government a huge chunk of homework to do:  on climate change, the price of carbon, and on a more detailed plan detailing how the extra passengers would get to and from the airport.
Rarely do campaigners win in court.  The system usually sees to that.  But this rare win could have a profound impact on aviation policy in the UK.   

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