Category Archives: Heathrow

Another Heathrow Airport Expansion Consultation

If you thought you’d had your fill of chances to ‘have your say’ on the expansion of Heathrow then you’d be wrong. If you thought that as a local resident your views would count for very little when stacked up against those of politicians and business, then you’d be right. Hey ho, that’s the way it goes but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have your say yet again in a brand new exercise. There are even things you can turn up to in Twickenham and other local towns.

This time it’s a Government consultation on their ‘approved’ option for a new third runway to the north west of the current two. It was launched recently and runs until 25th May and so there’s plenty of time for your views to be discounted. In launching the consultation, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling referenced leaving the EU as a reason why building airport capacity at Heathrow is ‘crucial’ for UK growth and thus the endless years of debate about Heathrow have become Brexitified. With Gatwick beaten into second place, expansion at Heathrow looks certain to happen, unless of course it takes so long to reach a final, final, final agreement that Star Trek style teleporting technology supersedes cramming people into giant metal tubes with engines tacked on the sides.  The current thinking seems to be that a new north west runway could be delivered by 2026, so let’s call that 2032 to be on the safe side. It might even be finished before the new Twickenham station!

Plane landing at Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow

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Heathrow Expansion Will (May) Go Ahead. (Or May Not)

[Update: 25 October. As expected the Government has just voted in favour of a third runway at Heathrow]

 

It now looks as if it’s definitely going to happen. Or it may not. After years of dithering a decision in favour of expanding Heathrow will (i.e. could) be made by the end of October. Note the ‘coulds’ and ‘mays’, or maybe that’s Mays. In short, no one really wants to be the PM who gives clear and irreversible support for expanding the UK’s busiest airport. David Cameron made a clear decision to have a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. And what did that get him? A chance to practise his after dinner speeches, annotate his Number 10 diaries and weigh up offers of lucrative consultancy work, we’d imagine. OK, so a third runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick isn’t exactly Brexit but it’s certainly highly divisive. A bit like HS2 with wings.

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

With so many local residents, local MPs and local Councils opposed to more planes filling the skies over west London, it’s not surprising that a decision keeps being fudged. All this goes on to the great annoyance of Heathrow who have said they’re ready to rock and roll with the construction work – they have the funds to do it from assorted sovereign wealth funds, pension schemes and elsewhere (all of whom no doubt have your very best interests at heart). It probably does make business sense to expand Heathrow but the purely commercial angle is just one aspect of such an important decision. There are the social, environmental and political angles too. Given these complexities, some question whether a third runway at Heathrow can ever actually be delivered.

The government decision in favour of Heathrow will still only mark the beginning of a new stage in the whole process. There’s a further public consultation planned, a Commons vote (complete with rebellious Tory MPs such as Zac Goldsmith, our very own Tania Mathias and the ever-pragmatic Boris Johnson), a planning process and, no doubt, assorted risks of legal challenges. Four years is likely to be the soonest that any construction could begin however, if the experience of the last few decades is anything to go by, in four years’ time we might see the government of the day establishing yet another new commission to look into airport expansion.

Plane landing at Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow

LINK:
* BBC News – latest
* Teddington Action Group – local opposition group
* Richmond Council – opposed to Heathrow expansion
* Back Heathrow – pro 3rd runway

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Heathrow Third Runway Gets The Nod

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

So there you have it. SO. THERE. YOU… oh hang on a minute, let’s just wait for that plane to pass…

… There, that’s better.

So there you have it, we’re gonna take one for the team! The Davies Report into UK airport expansion has been published and recommends a third runway at Heathrow. We can exclusively reveal that no one at all expresses much surprise at that but that plenty of people will express anger and some will express joy, not least the airport’s Spanish owner Ferrovial and its shareholders. Get ready for tens of thousands of extra flights a year… although not for a while yet.

The Commission focused on the business case for the UK, looking at growth, jobs and trade whilst trying to give due consideration to issues such as noise, pollution and pressure on infrastructure. On the business case, it does feel like a bigger Heathrow was always going to be the winner. The Commission says a third runway will add “£147bn in economic growth and 70,000 jobs by 2050”. But of course life isn’t just about pure economics, if it were, Londoners might as well start campaigning for devolution from the rest of the UK.

The report recommends that strict conditions be applied around a commitment to no night flights and no fourth runway as well as other protections around noise, etc. You know, the kind of stuff that will get chipped away at quite quickly. The Sir Howard Davies ruled out the ‘extended’ second runway plan at Heathrow but expansion at Gatwick is billed as ‘credible option’ giving politicians a get-out clause if opposition to Heathrow all gets a bit too much for them.

So what next? We can expect a lot of rubbishing of the recommendations from the various opposition groups, or “report slamming” to use the correct phrase. And we can also expect a few smug and self-satisfied tweets from the Back Heathrow boys. You might be thinking there’s no difference between smug and self-satisfied but we’re playing safe here and reckoning they’ll be ticking both boxes ‘for the community’.

Boris and Zac will be rolled out to voice their objections and we can expect “our Tania” to do the same. Probably. Richmond Council leader Lord ‘The Blue Baron’ True has already come out, all guns blazing with his own brand of slamming. In an LBRuT press release he says: “In a democracy people look to their Government to listen to the voice of Londoners, who already contribute massively more than any other community in Europe in accepting airport pollution, noise and danger. Ministers should bin this flawed report; they should not put the self-interest of the big overseas interests who own Heathrow and their paid lobbyists before the reasoned case of Londoners”.

It’s gonna get nasty. It’s gonna get noisy. And, after all of that, there are plenty of folk saying it still might not ever happen. Or will it?

LINKS:
* The Commission Report
* BBC News
* El Brute Press Release
* Teddington (& Twickenham) Action Group
* Back Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow

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Heathrow Expansion: Consultation Deadline 3rd February

Give us a wave!

Give us a wave!

So you don’t want more planes groaning their way over your house on their way into and out of Heathrow Airport? You are not alone. You think Gatwick might be a better option. Or Bournemouth even? You are, perhaps, a bit of a nimby. Don’t worry, that’s not only normal, it’s sometimes even laudable. Or maybe you think we shouldn’t be facilitating more flights at all, most of which probably aren’t really necessary. Well, get you and your green credentials! On the other side of the debate, who’s shouting loudest for more aircraft capacity? It’s Heathrow of course. That’ll be Heathrow Airport, the airport owned by Ferrovial of Spain, whose primary concern is (or at least should be) keeping its shareholders happy. Its priority is not protecting local jobs or supporting a community or even boosting the UK economy generally. Heathrow is a business. If building a hub airport in the Thames Estuary or on the sleepy village of Upton-upon-Dupton made better commercial sense than expanding Heathrow, they’d be all over it like a rash. If they could outsource a third runway to India, they’d be strategising it and workshopping it right now. That’s fine, and that’s why nimbys are fine too.
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Pic of the Week: Heathrow vs The Arts

Expand the Arts not Heathrow! Whilst in no way condoning the defacement of adverts (of course, etc) we did find this one rather amusing. It’s on the corner of Staines Road and Elmsleigh Road and should raise a chuckle with the retired thesps in Brinsworth House opposite. Hey, perhaps there’s a connection? Look out for an aged actor armed with spray can and a long ladder roaming the streets of Twickenham after dark.

'Expand Heathrow' poster in Twickenham [courtesy of & copyright: Jodie Holland aka @dutchmrs on Twitter]

‘Expand Heathrow’ poster in Twickenham
[courtesy of & copyright: Jodie Holland aka @dutchmrs on Twitter]

Photo courtesy & we suppose copyright of Jodie Holland aka @dutchmrs on Twitter. As to a credit for the original artwork, we’re not entirely sure.

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Heathrow announces early cancellation of current airspace trials

A useful update from Teddington Town on the recent Heathrow departure trials and the airport’s decision to bring them to an early close after significant adverse feedback from local residents (including the TT initiated petition), groups and MPs.

Teddington, Middlesex, UK

NewsHeathrow announced today that it will be ending the current airspace trials on two months early, on the 12th November 2014.

This is in light of residents feedback (thanks to all those that signed the petition and included comments) and meetings with local groups, authorities and MPs. Yesterday we met with Heathrow to discuss the trials and their effect on the local community – full write-up of the meeting & other info will follow soon.

LHR then expressed their wish to end the trials early due to the massive number of complaints they had received but also needed to ensure enough data was recorded to have results analysed.

The reasons for not widely publicising the trials in advance included not wanting to skew results, also the first trial Jan-June this year only received just over 100 complaints. LHR thought feedback to the second trial would be similar numbers so thought…

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Heathrow Trials & Aircraft Noise

Give us a wave!

Give us a wave!

Mucho upsettedness among many residents of south west London about trials being conducted by Heathrow airport on its easterly departure routes. Yep, them’s the ones when the planes bank round over Twickenham, Strawberry Hill and Teddington after take off, i.e. the ones that rattle your windows and have you reaching for the volume button on the remote control. The trial is officially called “Easterly departure trial 2”. It began on 28th July and runs through to 15th January 2015.

The purpose? According to Heathrow one objective is to “test the use of performance based navigation”.  This involves using new navigation technology to allow aircraft to follow routes more precisely and so place less reliance on air traffic controllers. The second objective of the trial is to test different departure routes “with the ultimate aim of reducing separation on departures”. Nope, we don’t know either. Something about reducing delays on departure and holding times on the ground, according to the airport blurb. Sounds a bit like facilitating more flights too maybe, doesn’t it. Perhaps it’s even also about testing scenarios linked to that third runway thingy.
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Heathrow Consultation… Again

More planes Vicar?

More planes Vicar?

Just when you thought you wouldn’t get another opportunity to have your say on the third runway at Heathrow, another chance comes along. Well, we say ‘consultation’ but this one is being run by Heathrow so you’ll need to aim off a bit for that. In this instance you’re being invited to “help shape Heathrow’s proposals for property and noise compensation”. Do what? Well, it’s all about what happens when the third runway gets approved. Oops! Did we say ‘when’? We meant ‘if’ of course. As we know, nothing will be decided until after the 2015 election.

According the the blurb, Heathrow’s plans for a third runway must “balance the wider benefits of having a successful hub airport with the effects on our local communities”. So this consultation is not about a yes / no opinion but about how Heathrow might best compensate those who would be most affected.

The consultation runs from 21st July to 12th October. There’s a website where you can give your views and there will also be a series of events across September and October including in Richmond (8th Oct) and Twickenham (9th Oct).

LINK:
* Heathrow Public Consultation

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Heathrow Third Runway?

It’s making national headlines. Again. Boris is not a fan. Zac’s really not a fan. Justine wasn’t a fan and so whoops, she got the heave-ho. And of course the Lib Dems and “our” Vince are not fans either. They aren’t, but it looks like Cam and Ozzy are. But what do we know?

The option for a third runway at Heathrow is back in the news and Patrick McLoughlin, the new Transport Secretary, is regarded as a lot more amenable to the idea than Justine Greening, the old one. Well, we say ‘old’ but we mean the one who was doing the job until a couple of days ago. A third runway was ruled out at the time of the election. It’s not a vote winner. The business folk in favour only have one vote each at election time (we hope), but so do the runway’s opponents, and they’re more numerous.

The business types want more capacity and more flights so they can ‘do business’ with trading partners around the world, especially in the far east. What’s that? So Skype or Face Time is not good enough for you, eh? Ensuring London remains a leading international city requires a world class airport hub, they say. They’re probably right. Meanwhile environmentalists and many locals are strongly opposed to the idea. Well they would be wouldn’t they? Why here, why now and what about ideas for reducing travel rather than promoting it, they say. Also true. Add to that lot those who think that adding a third runway to the jumble of Heathrow will be worse than expanding elsewhere or building a proper 21st century airport hub for London from scratch and we’ve got a right old mixture.

Professional brain-box Sir Howard Davies has now been appointed to conduct a review into airport capacity. It will report back in 2015. That’s after the next election. Funny dat. With the election outcome less than certain, the whole thing could just be an academic exercise but whatever Davies comes up with, it’s sure to be loved by some and vehemently opposed by others.

Do we need Heathrow’s expansion to secure economic growth for the UK? Or do we need more capacity but only if it’s anywhere but here. Or do we take one for the team and happily wave at more planes filling the skies over west London? The third runway? To be, or not to be? Or rather, nimby or not nimby, that is the question? And we now know that it’s a question that will continue to run for at least another 3 years.

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