View Full Version : Freedom to Fly Launched

The Guvnor
13th Jan 2002, 15:42
From today's Sunday Times. Given the number of anti-aviation pressure groups in the UK, this one is well worth everyone's support.

[quote]Labour baroness to run air shake-up


BARONESS DEAN, a leading Labour peer and close ally of Tony Blair, is to chair a new broad-based pressure group to lobby for new aviation infrastructure in Britain.

Dean’s appointment will be announced tomorrow at the launch of the lobby group, Freedom to Fly. Business and trade-union leaders will pledge their support to the campaign.

They include: Digby Jones, director-general of the CBI; Bill Morris, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union; Rod Eddington, chief executive of British Airways; Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic; and Sir Ken Jackson, joint general secretary of Amicus.

Joe Irvin, a former special adviser to John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, will be the campaign’s director. The group is understood to have raised about 500,000 in a bid to counter the efforts of environmental groups opposed to the airport expansion.

The unveiling of Freedom to Fly signals the start of a fierce lobbying battle as the government prepares an aviation white paper to be released in the autumn.

The white paper will be the first British aviation policy statement since 1984, and will have to address the politically fraught question of the siting of a new runway in the southeast of England — a development that will be bitterly resisted by environmental and anti-noise groups.

Dean, a former head of the print union Sogat, said yesterday that Britain needed to plan future aviation development to avoid a repeat of railway infrastructure problems.

“The government’s own forecasts show that air travel will double in the next 20 years. Anyone using airports at the moment knows how crowded they are. We have a great example in the railways which shows what happens when we don’t plan ahead,” she said.

A thriving aviation industry was vital to support inward investment and tourism in Britain, Dean said. “This is not just about the airline industry, it is about the entire economy.”

Last year the government approved a fifth terminal at Heathrow after a protracted planning process that included a four-year public inquiry, the longest held in Britain. The new terminal will, however, allow only marginal increases in the airport’s total capacity.

The Strategic Aviation Special Interest Group, a consortium of 65 local authorities, has forecast that if government predictions for traffic growth in the southeast were correct, the region would need another two or three runways by 2030.

Airline executives would prefer a new runway for the south-east to be built at Heathrow. This would allow the airport to keep pace with the rapid growth of traffic at rival European hubs at Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

But a new runway at Heathrow, which is just 15 miles from central London, is generally regarded as too controversial. Instead, a new runway could be constructed at Gatwick or Stansted.

No matter where the runway is sited, it will face strident opposition.

The only recent runway project in the UK — a second strip at Manchester Airport, opened last year — was dogged by vociferous protests culminating in pitched battles between protestors and contractors.<hr></blockquote>

14th Jan 2002, 18:35
Hallelujah! What now needs to happen is for all the aviation industry bodies and airlines in the UK to get together as one lobbying voice and align themselves firmly with Baroness Dean. It would be a change to have a large, powerful group lobbying in favour of aviation to counter the many small anti-aviation groups that are found all over the UK. These groups are often small but vociferous and punch above their weight by making lots of noise at local level and getting local councils and planning committees to prevent development of airports and even close down some long established aiports where these come into conflict with urban development priorities.

Who knows - if we got enough people fired-up we could organise a march to Trafalgar Square involving thousands of pilots, flight attendants, fuellers, baggage handlers, cleaners and caterers - all protesting for MORE AVIATION and MORE AIRPORTS!!!!!! That would be a first?!


'An ounce of effort is worth a tonne of theory'

14th Jan 2002, 18:42
A first and by god would it be welcome.

Some of these anti-everything groups could do with their heads banging together a bit. Let them know that they will not get their own way all of the time. It's about time the silent majority started standing up for themselves a bit more.

For the first time in 5 years this government may actually be doing something worthwhile.


14th Jan 2002, 21:34
Very welcome news and glad to see the involvement of people who can (hopefully) exert real influence. Unfortunately, aviation does have the potential of going the way of the rail system, given that people are still talking about just one runway. One runway, at max capacity, can handle about 250k movements per annum, tops (and planning conditions will probably cap that well below); considering the number of extra flights the increase is going to require, the number of runways needed could well be much more.

But surely it's about much more than catch up? Getting ahead of the game and planning 20 years down the line is what's needed: a green field site, extra runway at LHR (definitely needed), 2nd at LGW (from 2019) . . . not just one.

Does anyone know if this group has a website, or is there a postal address? Anyone here involved with them? Very best of luck if you are . . .

15th Jan 2002, 04:06
Wasn't there a plan to put in a tarmac runway and ILS at Redhill? If I remember rightly, the idea was to put in a link road to the M23 and a new railway station and send all the little commuter turbo-props there, thus opening up more slots for big jets at Gatwick. Seemed a sound enough idea to me at the time, but needless to say, a small bunch of local nimbys kicked up a very big noise and the whole thing got dropped.

Hope this new body can do what needs doing.

2 six 4
15th Jan 2002, 15:26
One pretty big infrastructure in a mess is ATC. 6 months after the first privatisation in the world British ATC is in chaos.

What about an adult decision to admit a mistake, Mr Byers, before you have to intervene like Railtrack ? <img src="mad.gif" border="0"> <img src="mad.gif" border="0">

15th Jan 2002, 16:47
Steven Byers ' Heathrow is unworkable so we will shut it on Tuesday afternoon, as soon as my girlfriend lands from India '

Opps thinking out loud again

15th Jan 2002, 21:31
Is that the old Brenda Dean - ex rable-rouser of the print unions (way back in the days of Fleet Street?