Heathrow stays silent over night flights plan

Bosses fail to com­mit to ban if third run­way is built

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cum­ber robert.cum­ber@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HEATHROW bosses have again failed to com­mit to end­ing night flights with a third run­way, de­spite this be­ing a con­di­tion set out by the Air­ports Com­mis­sion.

The air­port’s chief ex­ec­u­tive John Hol­landKaye said there was a ‘real op­por­tu­nity to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce night fly­ing’ with ex­pan­sion, but stopped short of com­mit­ting to a ban.

The Air­ports Com­mis­sion ear­lier this year rec­om­mended a new run­way at Heathrow but only if a num­ber of con­di­tions, in­clud­ing an end to flights be­fore 6am, could be met.

Mr Hol­land-Kaye ap­peared be­fore MPs on the en­vi­ron­men­tal au­dit com­mit­tee on Novem­ber 4, when he was grilled about the air­port’s po­si­tion on night flights.

“There are huge ben­e­fits to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties for get­ting rid of the early morn­ing sched­uled ar­rivals be­tween 4.30am and 6am,” he told them.

“Equally, there is a big cost to that for the UK econ­omy be­cause those are very valu­able trad­ing routes to the Far East, Sin­ga­pore and Hong Kong. It’s not easy to re­solve that. We are work­ing on it.

“I’m con­fi­dent that we will be able to find a way through that and that there’s a real op­por­tu­nity to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce night fly­ing at Heathrow with ex­pan­sion.”

He added that the air­port was not ready to make an of­fi­cial pub­lic state­ment on night flights but would do so ‘in due course’.

Anti-ex­pan­sion cam­paign­ers staged a demon­stra­tion out­side Portcullis House ahead of the com­mit­tee meet­ing.

John Stew­art, chair­man of the ac­tion group HACAN, which op­poses a third run­way, said fol­low­ing the meet­ing: “For the first time I can re­mem­ber a Heathrow CEO has talked about the pos­si­bil­ity of a real re­duc­tion in night flights. How­ever, we be­lieve they are so dis­turb­ing to so many peo­ple that a com­plete ban on planes be­fore 6am should be in­tro­duced whether or not a third run­way is built.”

The Air­ports Com­mis­sion was set up in 2012 by the gov­ern­ment to in­ves­ti­gate the need for avi­a­tion ex­pan­sion, par­tic­u­larly in the south­east.

It pub­lished its fi­nal re­port, which also stated ex­pan­sion at Heathrow should only go ahead if air qual­ity tar­gets were met, in July. The gov­ern­ment has yet to an­nounce whether it sup­ports a third run­way at Heathrow or a sec­ond one at Gatwick, but it is ex­pected to do so be­fore Christ­mas.

An al­liance of coun­cils op­posed to ex­pan­sion at Heathrow re­cently pro­duced their own re­port , ques­tion­ing the com­mis­sion’s find­ings.

n DEMON­STRA­TION: Anti-ex­pan­sion cam­paign­ers protest out­side Portcullis House

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