Campaigns :: Heathrow Expansion
1 May 2013 Heathrow Rally at Barn Elms
Zac Goldsmith MP has staged a community mega-rally in Barnes against Heathrow expansion.
Despite a relatively early start and the threat of heavy rain, nearly 3,000 local residents turned out to protest the Government’s failure to rule out third and fourth runways. They listened to speeches by Zac Goldsmith, Boris Johnson, Justine Greening and Ed Davey, along with many other local MPs, MEPs and Councillors.
Zac began by telling the crowd: “We have one message: no ifs, no buts, we will stop Heathrow expansion.”
To read more click, HERE
1 May 2013 SMARTER AIRPORT CAPACITY USE URGED
By Peter Woodman, Press Association Air Correspondent AIR Airports
Airport capacity at some south-east England airports is underused, according to
a London Assembly report today.
Even at Heathrow airport, where 99% of capacity is being used, 20 million extra
passengers a year could fly if larger aircraft were operated, the report from
the assembly's transport committee says.
Research commissioned by the assembly showed that in summer 2012:
:: Around 47% of Stansted airport's available runway take-off and landing slots
were not used;
:: Around 5% of Luton airport's available slots were not used;
:: 12% of slots at Gatwick airport were available.
To encourage passengers to switch from Heathrow, the report said improving
transport access from central London to Gatwick, Luton and Stansted was needed
- for example, by better rail connections and actively promoting public
The report said bosses at Stansted reckoned they could attract 1.5 million more
passengers per year if the rail journey time from London was reduced from 45 to
The report also revealed that in 2010, as many as 127 million people used
London's airports and most, including those using Heathrow, flew direct to
their destinations rather than use the airports to transfer.
The report said this "may question arguments for the need for an
additional hub airport to boost London's economy".
The report comes as the Whitehall-appointed Airport Commission continues to
consider the whole question of airport capacity, with its initial report due at
the end of this year and a final report due in summer 2015.
The assembly's transport committee chairman, Caroline Pidgeon, said: "Evidence
we received shows that the Airport Commission must examine whether better use
of existing airport capacity could be an intelligent cost-effective alternative
to building new airports or runways.
"The need for additional hub capacity is also under debate, with strong
data showing rather than runway capacity limiting airlines ability to fly to
emerging markets, it could be low passenger demand from each airport's
geographical area. As 700,000 residents already suffer from noise pollution as
a result of Heathrow flights, we also hope that any plans to expand Heathrow
can soon be laid to rest."
She went on: "Currently London sees 130 million passengers traveling
through our airports each year. The challenge for the Government and
decision-makers is to find the best way to support the UK's economy globally
while ensuring Londoners are not adversely affected by worsening noise and air
pollution from planes flying over the capital.
"In the short term using existing capacity in a smarter way may be the
most cost effective solution."
12 April 2013 Richmond's Heathrow Referendum
On 22 April, residents in Richmond upon Thames will receive a
ballot card for a local referendum on the future of Heathrow.
The referendum will give you a chance to
have your say on a third terminal or increasing flights in and out of the
The closing date to submit ballots is the 16 May. It can
either be completed online, or for those who don’t have access to the internet,
For more information, go to: www.richmond.gov.uk/be_heard
12 April 2013 Heathrow Night Flight Consultation
Answer the Consultation HERE
27 February 2013 HEATHROW 'MEGA RALLY'
Zac Goldsmith MP will be joined by the Mayor of London,
local MPs from all parties, and Council Leaders at a 'mega rally' he is
organising to demonstrate the strength of feeling against possible expansion at
Heathrow Airport, and to promote the Council's referendum on the third runway.
There will be a series of short speeches before Boris casts the first 'vote' in
a giant ballot box to be constructed by pupils and teachers at Richmond Park
Everyone is encouraged to attend the event, which will take place at the Barn
Elms Playing Fields, SW13 9SA, between 09:30 and 10:30 on Saturday 27 April 2013. See Map LINK
Zac said: "This an opportunity for everyone living under the Heathrow
flight path to come together and make clear their opposition to further
expansion. We have done so in previous campaigns, and we will keep doing it
until this Government gets the message. I want Ministers to be left in no doubt
that if they give expansion a green light, they will face a campaign on a truly
15 February 2013 NIGHT FLIGHT CONSULTATION
Following the publication of the Government's consultation on night flying restrictions at Heathrow in early February, I received a huge number of complaints about the complexity of the questions. Many people reported that the consultation's baffling and technical jargon was putting them off from submitting their comments altogether. In addition to preparing a user friendly guide to answering the questions (due out in the next week), I wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport, to ask if the Department would consider issuing a more resident friendly consultation. You can read the Secretary of State's response HERE
The consultation ends on 22 April 2013. Anyone interested in contributing, can
do so by visiting the Department for Transport's dedicated webpage HERE
For more on this story, click HERE.
13 February 2013 Night Flight Alternation - Statement from Heathrow Ltd
Heathrow’s runways were last resurfaced between 2001-2003 –
the northern runway in 2001 and the southern between 2002-2003.
The asphalt surface has a typical design life of around 10 years. The runways
have been routinely inspected over the last decade and the surfaces now need to
be replaced. Heathrow will be resurfacing the southern runway this year (2013)
and the northern runway in 2014.
Because Heathrow is so busy the resurfacing work will be undertaken at night.
Work will start on the southern runway on 3 March and is expected to be
complete by 31 October 2013. The works is being undertaken over the
summer to maximise on the better weather which reduces the amount of time the
Between March and October 2013, the southern runway will be closed from 10.30pm
until 6am five nights a week (Sunday night to Friday morning). This means
that the night time runway alternation schedule will be suspended during the
week. While these works are being carried out, all flights will use the
northern runway. The daytime alternation schedule is unaffected.
7 February 2013 Press Release: Zac calls for Davies Airport Comission to report earlier
Zac Goldsmith MP has called on the Prime Minister to reconsider the timing of the Davies Commission.
The Commission was established to examine options for improving future airport capacity - including at Heathrow - and is not scheduled to report its recommendations to Ministers until after the next General Election in 2015.
During Prime Minister’s Questions, Zac asked: “Can you reconcile your recent comments on the need to accelerate major infrastructure projects with the Government’s decision to postpone forming a policy on airports until after the next general election? Will you reconsider and bring that review forward?”
The Prime Minister answered; “I listen very carefully to my hon. Friend, but Sir Howard Davies says in his review that this is a complicated issue that merits proper examination, which will take time. We need, as a country, to make major decisions on airports and airport capacity. We should aim as far as possible to try to make those decisions on a cross-party basis. I hope the Howard Davies report helps that to happen.”
Zac commented afterwards: "The timing of this Commission generates an unacceptable level of uncertainty for local residents and businesses. Inquiries into similarly complicated topics have completed their work within a far shorter period without any problem."
He added, "There is a near perfect consensus across the House, and even among MPs who disagree on the outcome of the review, that it must be brought forward. By delaying the decision until after the election, the Government reinforces an impression that it lacks the stomach to make difficult decisions.”
In a separate session in Parliament, Zac has suggested to Business Secretary Vince Cable, that the Government should use the opportunity of the Howard Davies interim report, due out later this year, to provide clarity.
Zac also strongly welcomed recent reports that Heathrow operators will not be asking ministers to introduce a 'mixed mode' landing pattern. A spokesman for Heathrow said that the change would inflict 'a lot of pain for not much gain'.
"Residents will be delighted that this option now appears to be off the table. This is clearly down to highly effective local campaigning combined with the thousands of complaints submitted by residents living under the flightpath. We have yet again shown that our community can and will fight to resist the imposition of unreasonably disruptive flight activity. Ministers should remember this when they consider the new night flights regime and possible future expansion."
5 February 2013 View your 2013 Respite Periods HERE
24 January 2013 Operational Freedom Trial to end early
The Government announced this morning that the second phase of the Operational
Freedom Trial at Heathrow is to end on 28 February 2013 - one month earlier
The Trial has enabled Heathrow to adopt different operational procedures for a
limited period, to see whether the airport can be run more efficiently. For
example, between July and December 2012 the airport was able to use both
runways for arrivals during busy periods, to avoid 'stacking'. This meant that
more aircraft passed over areas of South West London during their scheduled
respite periods. The number of noise complaints received by Heathrow was around
four times higher than usual during this period.
Last year, the Chancellor announced that the consultation and ministerial
decision on whether to make the Trial measures permanent would be brought
forward. The early cessation of the Trial now enables this process to begin
Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park commented: "I am pleased that the
disruption caused locally by the Trial will end a month early. However, I am
much more concerned about what happens next - whether Ministers plan to adopt
some or all of the Freedoms permanently, or listen to the overwhelming majority
of South West Londoners who have simply had enough. This Trial has made it
harder for local people to predict when they can have some peace and quiet, and
I hope this will be made clear during the consultation."
You can view the Minister for Transport's statement HERE [https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/early-completion-to-operational-free
23 January 2013 NIGHT FLIGHT CONSULTATION
The Government has published its initial consultation on night flying
restrictions at Heathrow and other major UK airports.
The current regime was established in 2006 and regulates flight activity
between 23:00 and 07:00. It was scheduled to expire in October 2012, but the
Government has extended this period until 2014 in order to take account of
other planned legislative changes.
This initial consultation invites evidence from industry experts and the general
public on a wide range of suggestions about the future of night flights. The
responses will help to formulate detailed options for inclusion in a second
consultation to be published later this year. The new regime will then be
announced in early 2014.
Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park, has consistently called for a
complete ban on night flights until 6:00AM. Commenting on the consultation, he
said: "The current night flights arrangement is intolerable for so many
residents. Whilst I welcome the inclusion of proposals to mitigate aircraft
noise at night, I am disappointed that Ministers seem to have offered South
West Londoners a series of trade-offs rather than enter a full and frank
discussion about banning night flights altogether."
He added: "However, the consultation is broadly drafted and does not stop anyone
from expressing their views on this. This is the public's main chance to
influence the shape of the next regime and I strongly urge everyone under the
flight paths to contribute. Failure to do so will mean that the options
proposed in the next consultation - and ultimately adopted in the new regime -
will not reflect the wishes of our community."
The consultation ends on 22 April 2013. Anyone interested in contributing can
do so by visiting the Department for Transport's dedicated webpage HERE
18 December 2012
28 November 2012 Zac talks to Community magazine: 'Out and About
Zac Goldsmith, the conservative MP for Richmond and North
Kingston is a bright, young party member, who is passionate about politics. He joined the party to make defining
changes on environmental issues, and presently is busy campaigning against the
expansion of Heathrow airport. Goldsmith says, “Politics affects everything,
and anyone involved in pressing for change of any sort is likely to be engaging
with politics. I became involved principally because I believed that none of the major Paries were
properly addressing the defining challenge of our age – the environmental
To read the full article click HERE
This article first appeared in the Dec/Jan issue of
community magazine, ‘OUT AND ABOUT’.
27 November Heathrow Public Meeting
Zac Goldsmith MP has chaired a public meeting in which Richmond residents had the opportunity to put their many concerns about night flights, the threat of Heathrow expansion, and the ongoing Operational Freedom Trials to senior decision makers at Heathrow Ltd (formerly BAA).
To read the full Press Release, click HERE
14 November 2012 HACAN Press Release
Following the article in today’s Evening Standard in which BAA set out their arguments for a third runway, HACAN have issued
the following Press Release
BAA challenged on claim that it is lack of runway capacity
at Heathrow that is limiting flights to China
Campaign group HACAN has challenged BAA’s claim that it is lack of capacity at
Heathrow that is limiting the number of flights between the UK and mainland
China. There is a bilateral agreement between the two countries which
restricts flights between the two countries to 62 a week (1). HACAN has
also produced evidence to show that the difficulty of getting a visa is a major
deterrent to Chinese coming to Britain (2).
BAA today claimed that Frankfurt and Paris are leaving Heathrow behind as they
forge ahead with extra flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, China’s
biggest cities (3). BAA Chief Executive said the two continental airports
combined offered 1,000 more flights to the cities than Heathrow in the 12
months to September last year, and another 532 on top by September this year.
But HACAN Chair John Stewart said BAA was being disingenuous.
Stewart said: “When they talk about China, they exclude Hong Kong. If you
include Hong Kong which is the natural destination for a lot of British
business, Heathrow outperforms the other European competitors.”
HACAN is also critical of claims BAA will make tomorrow that it is essential
Heathrow expands as a ‘hub’ airport if it is to complete with other major
European airports. BAA will claim that it is the number of transfer
passengers who will use an expanded hub airport which will make it commercially
viable for airlines to run more flights to key destinations of the world and so
make London an attractive place to do business.
But Stewart challenged this: “We can find no hard evidence that the London
economy will lose out if Heathrow does not expand as a hub. The reason for this
is London’s importance as a destination to business people. Heathrow has
the largest number of terminating passengers of any airport in the world.
It therefore does not need the extra passengers an expanded hub would
bring to make it commercially viable to operate lots of flights to key business
Notes for Editors:
(1). There is a separate agreement covering Hong Kong.
(2). See attached
For further information:
John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650
13 November 2012
Read Zac's article for The Spectator Blog: No ifs, no buts, we need a decision on Heathrow now.
The Prime Minister presumably believes we face a critical
shortage of airport capacity in London. Why else would he signal a possible
U-turn on what was a headline pre-election promise? He knows that one reason
west London voters backed the Conservatives in the last general and local
elections was his decision to rule out any prospect of building Labour’s 3rd
runway at Heathrow.
But if that is how he feels, why on earth would he commit to
doing absolutely nothing for three years? I am yet to meet anyone who believes
an airport review should take anything like so long; indeed the majority of
options have been studied to death. Moreover, it wouldn’t simply be a
three-year delay. Add a lengthy planning process, and it could be more like six
years before work even begins.
If we face a crisis of under-capacity, and if the priority
is getting the economy going, it is hard to imagine a more useless policy. A
six-year delay will cause paralysis across the board, with businesses not
knowing where to invest, residents not knowing how their lives may be affected,
and no possibility of informed decisions relating to surface transport
infrastructure. Everyone, no matter what solution they favour, wants a
The dithering isn’t simply bad for the economy. For voters
beneath Heathrow’s flight-path, this ambiguity looks like a hidden green light
for expansion. Come the election, the Conservative Party will feel all the
electoral downside it is trying to avoid. In other words, whichever genius
thought Heathrow could be kicked into the long grass has guaranteed that it
will become the defining election issue in the many constituencies affected by
To read the full article, click HERE
I have organised a special public meeting to
discuss Heathrow and related issues, on Wednesday 21st November, at 8.00pm,
Duke Street Church, Richmond, TW9 1DH.
Heathrow Ltd, (previously known
as BAA Airports Ltd) will be present and represented by Nigel Milton, Director
of Policy, Tim Hardy, Airside Director and Matt Gorman, Sustainability
After giving a short presentation on Phase II of the Operational
Freedom Trials, and an update on Heathrow's view of the capacity debate,
the directors will be taking part in an audience-led Q&A, which I
The Operational Freedom Trials, and rumours of a third runway at
Heathrow have caused a great deal of concern among residents over the last few
months, and if you have any questions to put to the panel, please do come
Everyone is welcome and I look forward to seeing you there.
the meantime, you can stay up to date with all the Heathrow news at the
following page: LINK
October 2012: Zac welcomes Government's ruling out of mixed mode operations at Heathrow
In a reply to a Parliamentary Question from Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park
and North Kingston, the new Aviation Minister Simon Burns MP confirms that the
Government remains committed to runway alternation at Heathrow airport and will
not be reviving the plans for mixed mode considered by the previous Labour
Zac said, “Many of us have long campaigned against the threat of the loss of
Runaway Alternation. It is comforting news that the new ministerial team at the
Department for Transport has re-confirmed the Government’s commitment to
The text of the written Answer to Zac’s Parliamentary Question:
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is
on (a) retaining runway alternation and (b) the introduction of mixed mode
operation at Heathrow.
Mr Simon Burns: As stated in a written ministerial statement on 7 September
2010, Official Report, columns 13-14WS, the coalition Government remains
committed to runway alternation at Heathrow airport and will not be reviving
the plans for mixed mode considered by our predecessors.
September 2012 Zac asks Chancellor to confirm Government's Position on Heathrow
Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) (Con):
We are told by the Government that we
urgently need more airport capacity, so could the Chancellor explain why his
only policy on the issue is to commit the Government to doing nothing at all
for three years, until after the next election? Surely he appreciates that
voters need to know where the Government stand before they vote.
As my hon. Friend knows better than pretty much anyone else in this
House, we made a very firm commitment that we would not proceed with a third
runway in this Parliament, but Howard Davies is now looking at all the options
for airport capacity in the south-east. This issue has evaded Governments of
all political colours for the past 30 years, and it is time that we tried to
achieve some cross-party consensus, because I am absolutely clear—[ Interruption.
] If the Labour party was so good at building airports, where are they?
Where are these additional airports that it built? The truth is that the
south-east of England needs additional airport capacity. The question is where
we place it and I think that Howard Davies is the right man to advise us all.
Note from Zac Goldsmith: Rumours of a By-Election
Following national media speculation, I have been asked to
comment on rumours that I have agreed a plan to trigger a by-election in
Richmond and North Kingston to make way for a return of Boris Johnson to
First, I should make the obvious point that it is for the voters of this
constituency to determine who represents them, not for me. Second, I
would reiterate that the only commitment I have made in this respect is the
pledge I gave to constituents before the 2010 election that I would trigger a
by-election if my Party ever dropped its opposition to a third runway at
Heathrow. I also said that I could not stand under the Conservative
banner at the next general election if the Party fails to rule out Heathrow
This is not a threat. It is simply the restatement of a promise I made to the
constituents whose interests I am proud to represent. Beyond this promise,
which I fully intend to honour, there are no hidden arrangements or plans.
In the meantime, it goes without saying that I will continue to do whatever it
takes to protect my constituents from the blight of Heathrow expansion. Should
that eventually require me to stand as an independent candidate in a
by-election, then that is what I would do. However, for now, such speculation
is neither helpful nor relevant.
The Mayor of London has my whole-hearted support in his campaign to persuade
the Government to rule out a third runway once and for all, and it should not
be surprising that he and I have discussed every aspect of the Heathrow debate,
including some of the less serious ideas being put forward by other
Finally, for those who are interested, this is a recent article I wrote that
explains my opposition to the third runway:
Zac's article for The Guardian: A third runway at Heathrow would be an off-the-scale betrayal
Zac's article for New Statesman: The third runway is lazy thinking by those who should know better
Click HERE to read the full version of Anne Pettifor and
Jeremy Smith’s article:
Why the economic
case for a third runway at Heathrow still won’t fly
UK aviation makes up greater share of UK contribution to
climate change than elsewhere. The world’s climate is changing rapidly
(despite the army of powerful self-interested deniers), and we are
experiencing more and more extreme weather events. Ironically, on the day the
aviation industry launched a sophisticated, co-ordinated lobbying campaign
for a third runway, scientists announced a record Arctic ice melt. As the Guardian
reported, “the 2012 figure has beaten the previous record
(2007)… [and] reveals that global climate breakdown is proceeding more
rapidly than most climate scientists expected.”
According to a recent report published by the new economics
foundation and the World Development Movement:
At present, the aviation industry is responsible for a high
proportion (in the UK 13%) of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and is
estimated to be responsible for almost 5% of man-made climate change. In
the UK aviation makes up a greater proportion of the country’s contribution to
climate change than in any other major economy.
Yet it also receives enormous fiscal and financial
advantages, including duty-free sales and tax-free fuel. If we are to
have economic life, we first need a planet on which such activity can take
place, which means that carbon-fuelled aviation cannot continue an
exponential ‘flight path’ into the future.
Once this universal truth – that we have to control our use
of finite resources and avoid greater damage to the atmosphere and to
future generations – is recognized, a sensible policy for the future of
aviation in the UK – and Europe – will be formulated. But that will not require
or justify a third runway at Heathrow.
By Ann Pettifor and Jeremy Smith.
This article first appeared in a longer version in a Prime
Position Paper with a summary of key points.
Steve Norris's article on why: 'Stansted Should Be the New Hub Airport'
Heathrow Operational Trial, Phase 2 has begun, and you can read about it HERE
Click the following LINK to find out when your RESPITE periods should be
HACAN PRESS RELEASE: Aviation consultation document gives no hope for backers of
Heathrow Third Runway
The Government consultation on its draft aviation strategy, published today (1),
gives no hope to the backers of a third runway at Heathrow, according to
campaign group HACAN. The document restates the fact that it is not
Government policy to expand Heathrow. It also stresses that it would be
politically very difficult to build a third runway at Heathrow. The
document says “proposals for a third runway at Heathrow demonstrate that
without sufficient support, particularly at a political level, it would not be
possible for any government to deliver new capacity, however hard some shout
for it”. It adds “The Government’s opposition to the building of a third
runway at Heathrow was, and continues to be, determined in large part by a
concern about the scale of the noise impacts at the airport”.
HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “The whole tone of the consultation is that a
third runway at Heathrow continues to be off the agenda.”
Stewart added: “We are not concerned that the second part of the consultation,
calling for evidence about the need for extra capacity in London and the South
East, has been delayed. In many ways today’s consultation paper is the
more important as it lays out the overall policy framework. This policy
consultation may be less sexy than expected one about new runways but it is the
The consultation document rebuffs the claims by the aviation industry that the
UK is losing out because of its airport connections. It says: “The UK is
currently one of the best connected countries in the world. We are directly
connected to over 360 international destinations. Using available airline seat
kilometres as a connectivity metric, only China’s and the USA’s aviation networks
are more extensive than the UK’s, and Germany and France are in fifth and
eighth place respectively.”
HACAN has also welcomed the recognition by the Government that “people living
outside the 57 dB LAeq,16h contour are also affected by aircraft noise
and that for some, the annoyance may be significant. Indeed many complaints
about aircraft noise come from outside the 57 dB LAeq,16h contour, reflecting
that frequency of movements can be a source of annoyance for some people living
in areas exposed to lower average levels of noise across the whole day.”
The Government will do further work on this.
Stewart said: “At long last a recognition from a Government that the noise
contours are outdated. We will be pressing hard during the consultation
period for a more realistic measurement of noise to be introduced.”
'Myths and Facts' briefing sheet on Heathrow from HACAN: June 2012
The last few months have seen intense lobbying from the
aviation industry and many of its allies in business for the debate on a 3rd
runway at Heathrow to be reopened.
This briefing examines the questions being asked.
Read Zac’s article for the Evening Standard, on Heathrow, the Conservative Party and green politics
May 2012 Hacan Press Release: ‘Operational Freedoms’ trials to be extended by six months
Aviation Minister Theresa Villiers has agreed to significant changes to the
second phase of operational trials at Heathrow (1). The trials, due to
begin on 1st July, will be extended by six months. They will now end in
March 2013. Air Traffic Control will also be allowed to vary the routes
some planes take on departure. And, in a surprise move, the trials will
also allow some aircraft currently scheduled to arrive after 0600 to land
between 0530 and 0600 provided that the same number of flights scheduled to
arrive between 0430 and 0500 are rescheduled to after 0500.
The trials allow planes to land on and take off from the ‘wrong’ runway during
busy periods in an effort to avoid delays at the airport, Under normal
circumstances planes landing over West London switch runways at 3pm to allow
residents a half day’s break from the noise. During the first trial
(November 2011 to Feb 2012) an average 34 flights a day landed on the wrong
runway. During that phase they was very little change to departures.
In her statement Theresa Villiers said that the longer, more comprehensive
trial would give BAA time to get a more accurate picture of the impact of the
impact of operational freedoms on delays. She stressed that the trials
would result in no overall increase in the number of planes using Heathrow each
John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, campaigning against noise on behalf of residents
under the flight path, said, “We are surprised by the extent of the changes
which have been made to the second phase of the trial. The big concern of
local people is that they will lose their half day’s break from the noise.
It is this which makes life bearable for so many people. There will
also be a lot of anger that more flights are being allowed before six in the
Before any trial became permanent the Government has said there would need to
be full public consultation on the proposals.
Notes for Editors
(1). The full text of Theresa Villiers statement:
For further information: John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650
Written statement from Theresa Villiers re Op Trials: Heathrow Airport (Operational Freedoms)
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mrs Theresa
My statement of 14 July 2011, Official Report, column 55WS,
announced a phased trial of operational freedoms at Heathrow airport to gather
evidence in relation to the greater use of tactical measures, in defined and limited circumstances, to prevent
or mitigate disruption and to facilitate recovery. The trial is run by BAA, the
airport operator, with oversight provided by the Civil Aviation Authority
(CAA), the independent aviation regulator.
These measures are consistent with the Government’s commitment to runway
alternation at Heathrow. I would also emphasise that the trial will not
increase the number of flights at Heathrow which remains capped at current
Phase one of the trial ran from 1 November 2011 until 29 February 2012. An
interim report on the first two months of phase one was published by the CAA on
21 February 2012 . The CAA has today published its final report on phase one,
alongside a report by BAA, assessing the impact on operations at the airport
and on communities around Heathrow: www.caa.co.uk/apfg
The CAA’s report is encouraging about the benefits of the measures trialled so
far, but suggests that more detailed data and analysis is required from phase
two to draw definite conclusions on these and the impacts on local communities.
The CAA report concluded BAA ran phase one of the trial within the parameters
agreed with Government and generally collected and published data for analysing
the trial in an appropriate and transparent manner. The CAA noted that the
broad spectrum of interested parties, and the technical nature of the measures
trialled, made successful engagement with local communities challenging; and
they made suggestions for improvement.
The report also accepted BAA’s analysis that phase one of the trial recorded:
-Dual arrivals were deployed for 3.2% of westerly arrivals at the airport (1,802
out of 56,260 arrivals); an average increase of 13 -De-alternated flights each
day on westerly arrivals, from 21 to 34 per day; dual departures were deployed
for 0.07% of westerly departures at the airport (38 out of 55,860 departures);
-Operational improvements in relation to arrival punctuality and delay, stacking
(under specific circumstances) and taxi times following arrival;
-A large increase in complaints, although it was not clear whether these were
generated by the use of operational freedoms, as a proportion appear to
correlate to a prolonged period of easterly operations which was due to weather
conditions rather than the trial;
-Generally low awareness of the trial but some support for it from residents
surveyed when its objectives were explained; and
-No detriment to safety.
In my previous statement, I also set out the timetable for phase two of the
trial. Following advice from the CAA, I am announcing today that I have agreed
to a six month extension of phase two which will now run from July 2012 to
The CAA concluded that the relatively short duration of phase one meant that
the evidence it provided on the impact of operational freedoms was more limited
than anticipated, partially as a result of an unusually high level of easterly
operations. The extension until March 2013 will increase the amount of data
generated enabling a more robust analysis of the benefits and impacts, allowing
a direct comparison between phases one and two. A longer trial will also reduce
the risk that external factors (such as easterly winds) significantly limit the
amount of usable information. This will ensure that the eventual consultation with local
communities on whether a more permanent operational freedoms regime is adopted
at the airport is based on a sufficient level of evidence.
Phase two will also mean that Heathrow will benefit from greater resilience
during the Olympic and Paralympic games period when the airport will be under
more pressure than usual.
Improving punctuality, tackling delay and strengthening resilience at Heathrow
would improve the quality of the UK’s international connections and enhance the
reputation of our largest international gateway. Phase one has shown that,
without prejudging our views on the associated impacts, there is potential to
deliver operational benefits without increasing capacity. We therefore have
grounds to believe that there is still more that can be done to deliver a
better Heathrow, while continuing to protect communities affected by aircraft
I have therefore agreed to the continuation of the trial of tactical use of
dual arrivals and departures measures agreed for the first phase. I have also
agreed that the following freedoms should be added to phase two:
Aircraft scheduled to arrive after 0600 will be permitted to land between 0530
and 0600 provided that the same number of flights scheduled to arrive between
0430 and 0500 are rescheduled to after 0500. This is expected to delay the
onset of noise disturbance to local communities in the early morning period and
enhance the resilience of the schedule;
During “segregated” operations departing aircraft may be re-directed (radar
vectored) by air traffic control from their normal routes of departure (mostly
within predetermined noise preferential routes). This is expected to improve
the reliability of the schedule by increasing the departure rate from a single
runway and improve the scope for reducing the number of unscheduled night
Subject to approval of the safety case by CAA, it is intended to apply the same
principles to enable dual departures later in phase two, but only within the
predetermined noise preferential routes;
The cap on the more flexible use of dual arrivals allowed as part of the trial
will be raised from 6 to 12 per hour;
The proactive tests used briefly in phase one will be continued. The periods
during which these tests will be undertaken will be announced on BAA’s website
during the first month of phase two.
BAA will shortly begin a further period of engagement with local authorities,
communities and other stakeholders around the operation of phase two,
particularly on the monitoring of noise impacts. Once the trial is complete,
the evidence collected will provide the basis for a consultation with local
communities. This will consider whether an operational freedoms regime of some
form should be adopted on a more permanent basis at Heathrow and if so what
safeguards should apply in relation to its use. This consultation will inform
the subsequent decision by Ministers.
Click HERE to read BAA's Report into Phase 1 of the Heathrow Operational Freedoms Trial
April 2012 Heathrow Expansion, and update.
Like many of you, I have received a mass email from the local lib Dems
regarding ‘secret Tory plans’ for a 3rd runway’. It is very disappointing, and
I wanted to answer it directly.
First, Heathrow expansion is among the largest threats we face in Richmond, and
it is crucial that our elected representatives and political Parties do
everything in their power to work together to prevent it happening.
We are fortunate that locally, there is agreement on the issue. That is why on
every occasion that local Conservatives and I have organised Heathrow-related
events, we have reached out to the Lib Dems. Our public meetings have been
all-inclusive, and when I have arranged meetings with Government Ministers, I
have always invited members of other Parties, including my former rival,
Baroness Kramer. I have done this because there are some issues that affect us
all, no matter which Party we support.
This has been in marked contrast to the approach of the local lib Dems, which
is exemplified in their recent emails and leaflets on the issue, and whose
every action on the issue has been utterly divisive and designed only to
benefit their Party in the run up to various elections.
To the issues: Heathrow expansion is not on the cards. There are rumours about
U-turns, but the Government’s position remains the same and I don’t believe it
can or will change. That said, I promised before the last election that I would
step down and trigger a by-election in the event that my Party breaks its
pledge to scrap plans for the 3rd runway. A betrayal of that magnitude would
destroy what little trust there remains in politics, and it goes without saying
that my promise stands. Mayor Boris Johnson has also said that the 3rd Runway
“will not be built as long as I am Mayor of London.”
It is perhaps worth reminding the local Lib Dems that a U-turn on Heathrow
could only happen with the direct approval of their Party. They are, after all,
in Government. Instead of organising partisan show-protests and distributing
divisive emails, they would do better to secure guarantees from their own
Ministers in Government that they personally would not remain in Government
were this to happen.
More importantly, I am anxious that we should not be distracted from the more
immediate concern of securing a ban on night flights between 11pm and 6am. The
current restrictions are due to expire in October 2012, although the Dept for
Transport has announced that it will extend the regime until 2014. There will
be a consultation later this year, and when the time is right, I will let
residents know how to get involved. We have a real opportunity to influence
events, and will have to work together to achieve that.
It is good news that the German federal court recently ruled to uphold a ban on
night flights at Frankfurt, Europe's third busiest airport and a key competitor
to Heathrow, between 11pm and 5am. This can only strengthen our case.
It would be greatly appreciated if you could share this letter with any friends
or colleagues who are concerned by the Lib Dem emails that are being
Read Zac’s article for the Evening Standard: A new runway is
the last thing Heathrow needs
- Follow BAA's Data Capture Reports on the trials here
- Specific data on trial implementation frequencies here
Here is the first monthly report from the
Operational Freedoms trial. It is live on BAA's website at
Following a well-attended public meeting
with BAA earlier in DATE , a number of residents submitted supplementary
questions for BAA to answer. The questions and answers are available to view here
November 2011 Heathrow Public meeting with BAA
I hosted a special public meeting which gave local residents an opportunity to discuss Heathrow related issues with executives from BAA. The discussion covered a range of topics including the Heathrow’s Operational Freedom Trials and the upcoming consultation over night flights. BAA's Director of Policy & Political Relations; Rick Norman, BAA's Head of Noise and Air Quality; and Tim Hardy, BAA's Airside Director joined Zac on the panel.
- Read BAA's answers to the follow up questions here
- Read the minutes from meeting here
November 2011 HACAN: Heathrow: No Economic Case for Expansion
"There are now
increasing grounds to believe that the economic case for a third runway
is flawed, even without addressing the environmental concerns" David Cameron, 2008
That statement by the Prime Minister is equally true in 2011. Despite
recent lobbying by the aviation industry, there is no sound economic
case for expansion. To read Hacan's analysis, click here:
October 2011 BAA explain the ‘Operational Freedom’ Trials
Starting from 1st November, a trial will run at Heathrow to explore how the airport’s runways and airspace can be used in a more efficient and flexible way to help maintain the airline schedule. The trial was a recommendation of the South East Airports Taskforce (SEAT) and will take place in two phases, the first from 1 November 2011 to 29 February 2012, the second from 1 July 2012 to 30 September 2012. LINK
The trial will look at whether new procedures can be used to bring benefits to the local community through less late-running flights; to passengers, by providing a more punctual service; and to the environment, by reducing aircraft staking times and reducing emissions.
This is not a trial of Mixed Mode as has been construed by some areas of the media. It will not mean an increase in the number of flights operating in to or out of Heathrow. Heathrow remains capped at 480,000 flights per year. Nevertheless BAA are fully aware that some residents are concerned about the potential impacts of this trial. We are currently undertaking a comprehensive engagement plan with communities around Heathrow in advance of the trial to ensure they are aware of what will be involved. This engagement includes a direct mailing to around 150,000 households, newspaper advertisements and briefings for community forums. I have attached a copy of the leaflet that is being distributed. Full details of the trial are available at www.heathrowairport.com/noise
Complaints are best made directly to BAA, through their
flight evaluation team on email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at 0800344 844. The unit deals with a wide range of
airport related issues from noise to flight numbers and flight paths.
BAA keep all statistics on the noise complaints they receive and
these are reported routinely to the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee.
During the trial periods however, the Council have created a Heathrow trials
at which you can register your comments.
In addition, if you have a complaint about a particular flight over your house
you can look it up on the BAA webtrak map. This shows the routes taken by each
aircraft using Heathrow along with the aircraft type, speed, height and airline
operator. This can be useful to identify a particular flight.
October 2011 South East Airports Taskforce
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 14 July 2011, Official Report, column 55WS, on the South East Airports Taskforce, what recent discussions he has had with BAA on its consultation plans with relevant local authorities, communities and other stakeholders throughout the process. 
Mrs Villiers: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), has not had discussions with BAA on its consultation plans with relevant local authorities, communities and other stakeholders.
I have discussed BAA's plans for engagement with local communities and stakeholders with them as part of the work of the South East Airports Taskforce and related meetings.
I have asked the UK's independent aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to supervise the trial of operational freedoms at Heathrow and to report regularly on progress.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 14 July 2011, Official Report, column 55WS, on the South East Airports Taskforce, (1) when he plans to define the trigger mechanisms for the deployment of operational freedoms at Heathrow Airport; 
(2) when he plans to define the safeguards to apply in relation to the deployment of operational freedoms at Heathrow Airport; 
(3) what definition of particular disruption his Department uses; 
(4) what his policy is on a cap on the number of operational freedom days at Heathrow Airport. 
Mrs Villiers: The trial of operational freedoms at Heathrow, which I announced on 14 July 2011, is currently being designed by the airport operator, BAA, under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority. BAA will engage with relevant local authorities, communities and stakeholders on the details of the trial once this process is complete.
The results of the trial will help define the circumstances in which the measures are deployed, including the requirement for safeguards and restrictions if the regime were to proceed beyond the trial stage to be adopted on a long term basis. The results will also form the basis for a consultation with local communities which will in due course inform the Government in deciding whether an operational freedoms regime should be adopted at the airport.
July 2011 - Operational Freedom Trials
I have recently spoken directly with the Aviation Minister
Theresa Villiers MP and subsequently written to her to stress again the huge
concern of my constituents living under the Heathrow flight path, and the
importance of transparency, quality consultation and engagement with the local
Click here to read a copy of the letter from the Minister which sets out some
detail regarding the proposed trial of operational freedoms at Heathrow, in two
winter and summer phases, from November 2011 to February 2012 and from July to
September 2012. Similarly, click here for a link to the ministerial statement
‘South East Airports Taskforce’.
I have also pressed for clarification on how many unexpected over-flights there
might be in respite periods, how many days a year will be an ‘operational
freedom day’ at Heathrow, and for a precise definition of the trigger
mechanisms that would trigger the use of the operational freedoms. The trial
evidence will be able to inform any Ministerial decision on adopting additional
operational freedoms on a permanent basis.
The Government remains committed to protecting runway alternation at the
airport and, under the supervision of the independent aviation regulator the
Civil Aviation Authority, the trial will demonstrate if this commitment is
undermined in anyway by these measures.
Furthermore, I continue my campaign for a ban on night flights between 11pm and
6am. I recently arranged for MPs from the constituencies that fall
beneath the flight path to meet Theresa Villiers to discuss the recent HACAN
report which states that banning night flights at Heathrow would have positive
effects on the economy because of a reduction in sleep deprivation.
I am still awaiting answers from the Department for Transport and BAA but I can
assure you I will follow developments very closely.
June 2011 Night Flights
I met Theresa Villiers, the Minister of State for Transport, to discuss the forthcoming consultation over changes to the night flights regime at Heathrow Airport and to press for tighter restrictions when the new regime comes in. I arranged for all other MPs with an interest, as well as local Peers, including Susan Kramer, to attend the meeting. The current night flight regime will expire in 2012 and a public consultation will be held next year. LINK
June 17th 2010
Zac Goldsmith secures Government commitment to protect runway alternation at Heathrow.
Speaking today (17 June 2010) in the House of Commons Chamber, Zac Goldsmith asked the new Ministers at the Department for Transport if the Government will confirm that it will protect runway alternation at Heathrow.
Minister of State for Aviation Theresa Villiers MP replied, “I can give that confirmation. We support the current protections of runway alternation. We defeated Labour’s proposals for mixed mode when we were in opposition, and we will not revive them now that we are in Government.”
Zac said, “Many of us have campaigned against the threat of the loss of Runaway Alternation. It is great news that the new Government has now confirmed its commitment to protecting it”.
This news comes just a few weeks after the new Conservative-led Government announced that no third runway would be built whilst they are in Government.
BAA accepts defeat over the third runway
BAA, the company that runs Heathrow airport, has officially confirmed that it has scrapped its plans for a third runway.
This comes just a few weeks after the new Conservative-led Government announced that no third runway would be built whilst they are in Government.
In light of the Government’s decision, BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews said, “We recognise the importance of government policy in a matter as significant and controversial as runway capacity”.
BAA has also announced that it will stop buying properties in Sipson, the village over which the new runway was due to be built. It was in this village that Zac Goldsmith, Alistair McGowan and Emma Thompson brought a plot of land, in conjunction with Greenpeace, as a further way of hindering BAA’s plans. The plot, known as ‘Airplot’, now has tens of thousands of ‘beneficial owners’ who have signed up online to show their opposition to BAA’s plans.
Zac Goldsmith said: “BAA’s announcement can be seen as final victory against the proposed plans. This is good news for us all, and in light of an increasing skepticism of political promises, I hope it goes some way to rebuilding trust between politics and people.”
I have campaigned against Heathrow Expansion for many years
- long before getting involved in Richmond politics. I have pursued the issue
vigorously through the media, and I have supported the key organisations
fighting expansion. Earlier in the year I bought a key piece of land in the
village of Sipson with Greenpeace, Emma Thompson and Alistair McGowan. That is
why John Stewart, the head of HACAN, described Lib Dem claims that I have
wavered on the issue as "quite wrong, ridiculous". He added;
"Zac Goldsmith's strong position on Heathrow is helping to change the
political debate across the country."
Writing in the
Times, the Director of the London School of Economics has also said; “The
Conservative party’s opposition to a third runway at Heathrow is underpinned by
analysis in the Gummer-Goldsmith report.”
He was referring to the environmental policy review I co-authored for
the Conservative Party.
The Conservative Party remains resolute in its opposition to the 3rd
runway and is committed to protecting runway alternation.
Transport spokesman, Theresa Villiers has said; “Our position is clear and will
not change. Under a Conservative government there will be no third runway at
Heathrow.” Conservative London spokesman, Justine Greening added: “The policy
is cut and dry. It's not for reopening."
David Cameron has stated; “Under a Conservative Government
there will be no third runway at Heathrow due to the harm it could cause to the
environment and the quality of life of millions of people”. He has also promised to protect runway
alternation, which gives residents much needed relief from the overhead noise.
view is that with a proper high-speed rail network, new technologies, and
proper incentives, we won’t need to build more airports. In November, I
met with the CBI, which has historically campaigned hard for a third runway. It
has always been seen as the main voice of big business, but I discovered that
its members are no longer speaking with one voice on this issue. Many have cut
travel from their business models for environmental reasons, and more recently
because of the recession. It remains to be seen if that trend continues, but
for now, the CBI may well be forced to soften its position.
We’ve nearly won
the battle against the 3rd runway, and I’m proud to have been part
of that. We now need to take the campaign to the next step. We need to reduce
the number of short-haul flights using Heathrow, and we need to ban night
To read more about
my views on Heathrow, please have a look at the following links: