Heathrow expansion plans unlawful

Published on : Tuesday, June 2, 2015

It would be unlawful for either of the Heathrow Gatwickexpansion plans to be approved as they will worsen the existing poor air quality conditions around the airport and cause further delay to the attainment of legally-binding limits, Gatwick Airport said today. Gatwick was responding to the consultation only recently launched on Air Quality by the Airports Commission that ends today.



The Airports Commission’s consultants agree, even under optimistic projections, that Heathrow will not meet these limits. Indeed, recent data from DEFRA has indicated that, under current projections, Heathrow would be the second most polluted part of London by 2030 even without a third runway.



In contrast, the Commission’s consultants agree that Gatwick would meet all legal air quality limits with a second runway making it the only deliverable option.



Gatwick’s response to the consultation also states that the analysis undertaken for the Airports Commission:

Gatwick’s submission also states that the level of exceedance in the Heathrow area would be greater than assessed by the Airports Commission’s consultants.



Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said:

“Air quality concerns have prevented Heathrow expansion in the past and the air quality in West London continues to exceed the legal limits and is forecast to do so until beyond 2030.  



“The country cannot afford to make the wrong choice and risk years of delay on a project that is eventually halted because of its unacceptable impact. There is now an alternative – Gatwick has never breached legal air quality limits and would operate comfortably within these standards with a second runway.



“Gatwick’s expansion plans strike the right balance between delivering the extra airport capacity and taking the right steps to protect the environment.”



A viable scheme for airport expansion must meet UK legal limits on air quality. The Commission’s consultants’ analysis does not demonstrate that compliance with the legal limits can be achieved even with the mitigation measures Heathrow has proposed. Consequently, Gatwick has concluded the analysis shows that it would be unlawful for the Government to accept a recommendation to expand Heathrow.



A recent Supreme Court ruling has brought a renewed focus to this issue – the ruling requires Government to draw up a plan to bring pollution hotspots, including the area around Heathrow, within the legal limit ‘as soon as possible’.



A Heathrow scheme could not reliably be recommended before such a plan is available and its implications for the Heathrow area are fully assessed. The process for finalising this could take several years.



Gatwick consultation response sets out all the measures the airport will be taking to maintain and improve its record of never breaching air quality legal limits. These include:


Source:- Gatwick Airport


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