UK politicians probe pollution from Heathrow third runway

inquiry launched into implications for government commitments on air quality, noise and CO2 of a Heathrow 3rd runway.

UK Parliament environmental committee to examine Heathrow climate change impact.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has launched an inquiry into the implications for government commitments on air quality, noise and CO2 of a Heathrow 3rd runway.

The Airports Commission, in recommending a Heathrow runway, said this should be subject to environmental and quality mitigation measures.  This includes binding air quality commitments so that compliance with EU limits will not be delayed any further.  They are at risk from increased road traffic for a larger Heathrow.  EU limits for NO2 around Heathrow are already being exceeded.

The Airport Commission published its final report on airport capacity in London on 1 July 2015. The Commission unanimously recommended the building of a third runway to the northwest of Heathrow Airport, subject to a package of measures to mitigate the environmental and community impacts.

On carbon emissions, the Commission assessed the options alongside the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) planning assumption that aviation should not exceed 2005 levels of Carbon Dioxide by 2050.

On air quality, the Commission recommended that new capacity at Heathrow should not be released unless doing so would not delay compliance with European law on air quality and found that this would require a package of mitigation measures.

On noise, the Commission proposed an aviation noise levy to fund mitigation measures, the creation of an independent aviation noise authority and a legally binding “noise envelope” at Heathrow.

How any of these will adress the problem of 50% more flights with the obvious extra noise is a mystery.

Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Huw Irranca-Davies, said:

“Environmental concerns are a key part of the debate on airport expansion. Critics of airport expansion have raised concerns about whether it is possible to expand airport capacity in the South East while meeting the UK’s binding commitments on air pollution and climate change. We will be examining the Airports Commission’s assessment of these issues in order to inform the debate about the future of aviation in the South East.”

The EAC inquiry is requesting submissions (deadline 3rd September) on whether proposed mitigations set out by the Airports Commission are realistic and achievable, and what the implications of adopting or not adopting those policies and mitigations are for wider government policy.

The committe is made up of sixteen MPs.

Member Party
Huw Irranca-Davies (Chair) Labour
Peter Aldous Conservative
Caroline Ansell Conservative
Jo Churchill Conservative
Zac Goldsmith Conservative
Margaret Greenwood Labour
Luke Hall Conservative
Carolyn Harris Labour
Peter Heaton-Jones Conservative
Mr Peter Lilley Conservative
Caroline Lucas Green Party
Holly Lynch Labour
John Mc Nally Scottish National Party
Rebecca Pow Conservative
Jeff Smith Labour
Rory Stewart Conservative

Internet links

Environmental Audit Committee