AIRPORT’S EXPANSION BLOW
Growth ‘undeliverable’ due to pollution levels, says report
HEATHROW Airport expansion is likely to be ‘undeliverable’ because of associated pollution, a report has claimed.
Nitrogen dioxide levels at the airport are already in breach of the EU Air Quality Directive, although management blame traffic on the M4.
Environmental experts have now concluded in a report that building a third runway or extending an existing one at Heathrow would delay the UK’s ability to comply with NO2 limits, subjecting the government to potential fines.
The report, entitled ‘Current and Future Air Quality around Heathrow Airport – Implications for its Further Development’, has been commissioned by rival Gatwick Airport and written by consultancy firm Environmental Resources Management (ERM).
The Airports Commission has been tasked with advising the next government on whether to expand Gatwick or Heathrow in order to increase flight capacity.
The report said: “If the commission were to select one of the Heathrow schemes, there must be a significant risk that it may subsequently prove to be undeliverable.”
Heathrow claims improved rail links will reduce emissions.
A spokeswoman added: “We will incentivise staff and passengers to use our enhanced public transport network, reduce staff car parking spaces and look at a potential congestion charge to help reduce the number of people travelling to the airport by car.”
Gatwick claims it has guaranteed not to breach EU and UK air quality limits if chosen for a second runway.
It has launched a PR offensive by publishing a document titled ‘Over the Limit’, outlining its case against Heathrow’s expansion and is distributing 400,000 leaflets warning of the noise impact of a third Heathrow runway.
n ‘SIGNIFICANT RISK’: The report against Heathrow was commissioned by rivals Gatwick