EANAG attends a number of groups to represent Ealing residents concerned about the environmental impact of flights. It also responds to associated consultations and gives advice and information to residents wishing to take action as individuals. The issues we are focussing on currently are:
The present government ruled out a third runway at Heathrow in the coalition agreement, but this position is undermined by the Chancellor, George Osborne, arguing for increasing airport capacity in the south-east, and saying that a third runway at Heathrow is an option. The fact that Justine Greening and Theresa Villiers, who campaigned against the third runway, were moved from the DfT in the last re-shuffle is seen as a worrying sign. There has also been much lobbying by pro-expansion parties such as BAA and London First. A Commission to be chaired by Howard Davies will explore the issue of additional airport capacity. The Commission will be produce an interim report in 2013 with the final recommendations scheduled for summer 2015, after the next general election. The Mayor of London and the Transport Committee are also running their own inquiries, which will report in 2013.
While the government says it remains commited to runway alternation, Heathrow is has been given more freedom to land planes on both runways at the same time, in order to help recover from backlogs. These "Tactically Enhanced Arrival Measures" (TEAM) were already used but the airport operator now has greater flexibility as to when to use them. The same approach applies to departures (TED). There is a two-phase trial from November 2011 - February 2012, and from July 2012 - February 2013 (initally to September 2012, but then extended to March, and then revised to finish on 28 February ). The results are being reported at http://www.heathrowoperationaldata.com.
This trial, together with the abolition of the Cranford Agreement, remain of matters of great concern for Ealing residents. Heathrow Airport Ltd (formerly BAA) will certainly be lobbying the government to allow expansion by these means. The abolition of the Cranford Agreement allows a revised flight regime which, once implemented, will extend northwards the areas affected by take-off noise to include Southall, north Hanwell and north Ealing.
HACC (Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee) meeting March 2014
reported that it must submit a refined version of its 3rd runway in
the north-west to the Davies Commission by 9th May.
HACC (Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee) meeting
29 January 2014
Heathrow announced that the main road tunnel was due to be
refurbished. Work would start in April and may last 3 years, so at night only
one side will be used for both in and out.
The current night flights regime from 2012 was due to expire in October 2012, but has been extended to October 2014. The government launched a consultation on a new regime in January 2013, which has now closed. EANAG's response can be found here. A second stage is expected later this year, once responses have been evaluated.
EANAG will continue to demand that night flights should be reduced, and phased out by 2017. The committee expects a tough fight for Ealing residents' interests on this. Every four to six months, the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC) receives a report from BAA Heathrow on the use of the night flights quota. EANAG is concerned about the high number of departures after 11.30pm and the current practice of not counting some delayed flights against the night quota. EANAG believes that this practice should be abolished, and the total number of night flights should be reduced as part of any new regime, with a total ban on departures after midnight.
The Airports (Davies) Commission
The Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, was launched in November 2012, with the aim of examining the need for additional airport capacity in the UK, and making recommendation on how any such demand could be met in the short, medium and long term. It is due to make an interim report by the end of 2013, and to make its final report in the summer of 2015. A number of people have called for the final report to be issued earlier, before the next general election, which is expected in May 2015.
The Commission issued two documents on February 2013. One is a guidance document, which invites interested parties (including groups like EANAG and member of the public) to submit ideas for making the most of existing capacity, and adding new capacity, in the short, medium and long term. The second is a discussion paper on demand forecasting. Susequently, they have issued papers on connectivity and the economy, and aviation and climate change. Further papers are expected.