Heathrow must meet environmental conditions

What will Cameron and Osborne do now?

The UK Government says that Heathrow has to meet a range of environmental conditions.

The Environmental Audit Committee has said that the Government should not give final approval to Heathrow expansion until the airport can demonstrate that it accepts and will comply with key environmental conditions.

The Environmental Audit Committee report details the huge environmental obstacles in the way of any Heathrow expansion.

The EAC report says that the Government should not approve Heathrow expansion until Heathrow can demonstrate that:

  1. it accepts and will comply with the Airports Commission conditions, including a night flight ban
  2. that it is committed to covering the costs of surface transport improvements ( Transport for London estimates this to be £15 – 20 billion.)
  3. that it is possible to reconcile Heathrow expansion with legal air pollution limits
  4. that an expanded Heathrow would be less noisy than a two runway Heathrow

Heathrow has made it clear that it does not agree with and will not commit to items 1 and 2.

And common sense shows that it cannot meet items 3 and 4.

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Huw Irranca-Davies MP: 

“To defer dealing with the environmental impact of a third runway would be irresponsible and could lead to legal challenges as a result of the potential damage to public health from increased air pollution and noise. If the Government decides to accept the Commission’s recommendation for a third runway in principle, we will seek assurances from the Secretary of State for Transport that environmental conditions will be met before it is given final approval.”

Since the Airports Commission published its final report, Heathrow has avoided or refused to commit to the few and quite reasonable conditions the Commission set.

Internet links

Environmental Audit Committee report