As you have probably heard on the news, Heathrow expansion is on the cards again. The Airports Commission (also known as the Davies Commission) was tasked with exploring whether and where airport capacity in South East England should be expanded. Its interim report published in December concluded that an extra runway was required (a conclusion disputed by environmental groups) and shortlisted 3 options:
· building a new runway on the north western edge of the Heathrow site
· extending the existing northern runway at Heathrow
· building a new runway at Gatwick
HACAN (Heathrow Assoc for the Control of Aircraft Noise) have published an outline of the Commission’s interim findings: http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/briefings/davies.interim.report.press.release.pdf
There has been intense speculation that, despite being labelled independent, Ministers have held sway in determining the Commision’s interim findings. Zac Goldsmith gave several interviews along these lines. http://www.zacgoldsmith.com/heathrow_expansion.asp The Aviation Environment Federation also gives a critical insight into the genesis of the report and rejects the assumption that a new runway is needed: http://www.aef.org.uk/?p=1674
You can sign the online petition against Heathrow expansion here http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-third-runway
You can support HACAN in the campaign against further expansion at www.hacan.org.uk
Night flights consultation
The rules governing flights at night for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are up for review.
For Heathrow, community and environmental groups have been pushing for a ban on night flights between 11pm – 7am. However, the government is recommending that there should be no change to the current rules until 2017 when the final recommendations of the Airport Commission are known. Keeping the current rules would mean that West Ealing will continue to be overflown until 11.30pm and beyond.
The government does not want improvements to the night flights regime despite there being an increasing body of evidence pointing to the ill effects of aircraft noise on health. Indeed, the government is also requesting views on increasing night flights if planes become quieter.
For more detail on the consultation and the concerns of overflown communities see HACAN’s briefing:
The consultation document is published at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flights. You can respond online at this address or by:
· emailing: email@example.com
· writing to: Department for Transport, Great Minster House (1/26), 33 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 4DR
The deadline for responses is 31 January 2014.