MPs call for Heathrow expansion to be grounded

 

The Government should not approve Heathrow expansion until the airport can demonstrate it will comply with key environmental conditions, an influential group of cross-party MPs has said.

In a report released today, members of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) laid down a list of demands to mitigate the environmental impact of a third runway at Heathrow following the recommendation of the Airports Commission that it be allowed to expand.

The MPs said the airport must demonstrate that it can ‘reconcile Heathrow expansion with legal air pollution limits; commit to covering the costs of surface transport improvements; commit to introducing a night flight ban; and show that an expanded Heathrow would be less noisy than a two runway Heathrow’.

”Local
Huw Irranca-Davies MP

To cover the costs of necessary surface transport improvements alone, the estimated £17.6bn construction cost for the third runway at Heathrow could double in size, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

In response to the Airports Commission’s backing of Heathrow, TfL told the Greater London Authority transport committee that it could cost between £15bn and £20bn for the necessary improvements to cope with increased demand.

The committee also turned its fire on government stating that in terms climate change, air quality and noise, ministers needed to end the ‘policy vacuum’ and ‘set out concrete proposals for mitigation alongside clear responsibilities and milestones against which performance can be measured’.

Committee chair, Huw Irranca-Davies, said: ‘Even without expansion, aviation is on track to exceed its climate change target. We heard evidence that those targets might be met in theory, but at present there is a policy vacuum and evidence-based scepticism as to whether they can be met in practice.’

MPs picked holes in the case for Heathrow stating it found a gap between the Government’s current policies and the policies modelled by the Airports Commission to show expansion could be achieved within CO2 limits.

‘The Government should set out its approach to international negotiations on aviation emissions and put in place a strategy to deliver aviation emissions no higher than 2005 levels by 2050 in line with the economy-wide target set by the Climate Change Act,’ MPs said.

The committee also heard evidence that the commission's interpretation of the Air Quality Directive implied that the major rise in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from Heathrow expansion would be allowable because of worse performance elsewhere in London.

”Local
Grounded? Heathrow operators say costs 'exorbitant'

The MPs called on the Government to make clear this is not the position it intends to take when assessing Heathrow’s compliance with the EU directive on air quality.

Mr Irranca-Davies added: ‘The communities living near to the roads around Heathrow already put up with noise and extra traffic, it would be quite unacceptable to subject them to a potentially significant deterioration in air quality as well. Increased pollution should certainly not be permitted on the grounds that other areas of London are even more polluted.’

A Heathrow spokesperson said: 'The EAC is absolutely right that the environmental impact of a third runway must be considered alongside the economic benefits expansion will bring, which is why our new plan for expansion has ensured that Heathrow will be quieter, public transport to the airport will be transformed and air quality will continue to be improved and limits will be met.

'There is no obstacle to the Government announcing their support for the independent expert Commission's unambiguous and unanimous recommendation to expand Heathrow.'

The news comes as Virgin Atlantic, one of the biggest airlines to use Heathrow, attacked the ‘exorbitant cost’ of the third runway plans, after raising fears that the costs would be passed on to operators and eventually passengers.

The parent company of British Airways also raised fears about the burden the existing plans could put on airlines.

A final decision on a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow is likely to be delayed till at least next week following the debate over military action in Syria.

A 10-strong cabinet sub-committee led by the prime minister had been due to sit earlier this week to come to a final decision.

 

Also see

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938 per annum
Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part time, job share and flexible working basis. The salary is u England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Director of Integrated Transport

Liverpool City Region
Salary up to £124,848
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is embarking on a search for an exceptional individual with the passion to deliver on our vision Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region

Highways Manager

Oxford Direct Services
G11
Oxford Direct Services
Recuriter: Oxford Direct Services

Data Entry Administrator

Telford & Wrekin Council
£18,795 - £19,171
Telford & Wrekin’s Public Protection Service is looking for an enthusiastic and self-motivated Data Entry Administrator Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Transport Planner

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 to £38,423
You’ll have previous experience of working in a transport/planning/accessible transport environment Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Parking Business Administrator Level 3 Apprenticeship

Brent Council
£15,000 p.a. inc.
This role will support the Brent Parking Team work to provide administrative support for both the Notice Processing Team Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Principal Engineer (Development)

Liverpool City Council
£37,849 - £42,683
Liverpool City Council wish to recruit a Principal Engineer (Development) to provide managerial and technical support. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Traffic Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
We are looking to recruit a Traffic Manager to join our Highways team Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Team Leader x2 - Passenger Transport

Redbridge London Borough Council
£27,228 - £28,215 per annum
You will be responsible for overseeing the duties of Passenger Transport drivers as well as providing support to the service and managers. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

UTMC Engineer

Warrington Borough Council
£31,371 - £34,788
You will support the UTMC Principal Engineer and work as part of a team responsible for all aspects of Urban Traffic Management and Control Warrington, Cheshire
Recuriter: Warrington Borough Council

Programme Assurance Manager Public Realm

Westminster City Council
£46,293 - £49,203 per annum
A graduate, or have equivalent experience, and you can show evidence of continued professional, managerial and personal development... City of Westminster, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council

Trading Standards Officer (Intellectual Property)

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 - £42,490 Per annum
Seeking to recruit highly motivated and experienced Trading Standards Officer’s to join our busy Business and Consumer Services team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Project Manager (LED Project)

Camden London Borough Council
£40,829 - £47,360
Seking a knowledgeable and engaging Project Manager to lead, shape and steer a professional engineering service.   Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Principal Planning Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£42,656 to £51,690
We have an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic Principal Planning Officer within our Development Management Team, based in Richmond.  Twickenham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Programme Technician/Engineer

Norfolk County Council
£29,636 - £31,371 per annum
This is a challenging position which involves working across wide ranging activities. Norwich, Norfolk
Recuriter: Norfolk County Council

Health and Safety Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 - £42,490 per annum
The Successful candidate will hold BSc/MSc or Diploma in Environmental Health and be EHRB registered as an... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Safety, Health and Environment Technician Apprentice

North Yorkshire County Council
£19,171 to £19,945
Are you a self-starter, have a willingness to learn and have a proactive approach? Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Head of Parking and Traffic Services

Redbridge London Borough Council
Up to £79,000 + benefits
Lead progress in parking Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Senior Environmental Services Strategy and Change Officer

Brent Council
£42,684 - £45,585 p.a. inc.
You will be experienced and skilled at designing and delivering cultural change in a large complex organisation and... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Project Director (Liveable Exeter Garden City)

Exeter City Council
Up to £75,000 per annum
Our goal is to make Exeter a leading sustainable city Exeter, Devon
Recuriter: Exeter City Council