Heathrow Guarantees Air Quality within EU Legal Limits

IASA: Nachhaltige Luftfahrt - Sustainable Aviation

Putting Heathrow at the Heart of an Integrated Transport System

Heathrow, November 4, 2015: Giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye confirmed that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within EU air quality limits and without increasing the amount of airport-related vehicles on the roads compared to today. Mr. Holland-Kaye explained that a “triple lock” guarantee would address the air quality surrounding the airport, should Heathrow be allowed to expand. The three elements of the triple lock are:

  • Meeting our existing commitment to improve air quality:  By supporting improved surface access that would increase the number of people, both passengers and employees, using public transport and encouraging and incentivizing the use of new technology and cleaner vehicles. This will include new rail lines to the north, east and west of Heathrow that will be transformational and put Heathrow at the heart of an integrated transport system. The Airports Commission is confident that this will enable an expanded Heathrow to meet EU air quality limits.
  • Ensuring further options are ready to be introduced if required to reduce traffic: In its plans for expansion Heathrow has a number of options available to improve air quality that can be implemented if needed. An airport congestion charge is a good example as, if needed, Heathrow believes it would help to reduce road journeys, reduce emissions and support more sustainable travel patterns.
  • Binding our commitment:  By guaranteeing that new capacity at an expanded airport will only be released when it is clear that the airport’s contribution will not delay compliance with EU air quality limits.

Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Heathrow expansion is not a choice between the economy or the environment – we can deliver both. We will boost the economy for the whole of the UK by £211 billion, create 180,000 jobs, the potential to eliminate local youth unemployment, and double the number of our apprenticeships, while ensuring we remove people from our noise footprint and meet both EU air quality limits and carbon targets.”

While some of the Commission’s recommendations are dependent on action from other parties, including government and airlines, others are within Heathrow’s control and are already being worked on. Heathrow is today:

  • Working with partners to deliver projects such as Crossrail and Western Rail to increase public transport use by passengers to over 50% by the time another runway is operational, and providing additional avenues to reduce staff car use, including by hosting Europe’s largest car share scheme
  • Charging fines for aircraft breaking departure noise limits and re-investing that money in local community projects.  This year, Heathrow increased the amount it charges for all noise breaches, and introduced a sliding scale of fines that will charge more for noise made during sensitive early morning periods
  • Supporting the Airports Commission’s suggestion for the establishment of an independent aviation noise authority, with a statutory right to be consulted on flight paths and other operating procedures
  • Proposing a world-class noise insulation scheme worth over £700 million
  • Offering one of the country’s most generous property compensation schemes for a major infrastructure project, with proposals to offer those within the compulsory purchase zone as well as in close proximity to the airport to buy their homes at 25% above their un-blighted market, in addition to stamp duty and legal fee costs
  • Doubling apprenticeships to 10,000, and working to expand the training work of the Heathrow Academy, now celebrating its 11th anniversary.

Heathrow’s environmental approach has won the ACI’s Eco-Innovation Award, the GreenFleet Awards for our electric vehicle fleet, the 2014 award Transport Team of the Year award at the London Transport Awards for our sustainable commuting efforts  and earned the airport its 8th biodiversity benchmark award.

After three years of research, scrutiny and consultation, the Airports Commission has made a unanimous and unambiguous recommendation for expansion at Heathrow. Heathrow has taken a new approach to its expansion proposals, one which balances the needs of airport users with the concerns of people living nearby.

Source: Heathrow Airport