Heathrow’s Chief Executive has set out what he describes as the “stark choice” on offer to the Prime Minister when considering airport capacity in the South East.
In his first speech since the Government’s announcement of yet more delay on the decision of how to begin to ease the UK’s aviation capacity crisis, he said: “Do you choose the new Heathrow plan which delivers your vision; economic security for hardworking families, more exports to emerging markets to tackle the deficit, supporting the northern powerhouse?”
He aid the alternative – expansion at Gatwick – was “the option that will not get us to emerging markets, which does nothing for the regions of the UK, or for exports, that delivers a fraction of the jobs or the economic benefits”.
He went on to say that the Heathrow expansion plan is, crucially, “designed to meet all … environmental targets”. There have been suggestions that Heathrow cannot meet european targets for air quality, and is in breach of some already. This is of course largely because of the effect of the M4 – the Airport is not directly responsible for all NO2 emissions in the area.
He said: “You may hear that air quality is a problem. Not so. Heathrow today meets all EU air quality standards and with expansion, we will still meet them – in fact we won’t release new capacity until we can demonstrate that is the case. What you may not have heard is that we are the environmental leader in our sector – we have reduced emissions by 16% over 5 years and are the only airport in the world to have signed the Paris Pledge on climate change. On the environment, we can deliver.”
In a nod to Gatwick’s marketing campaign, he said: “Which do you say “yes” to? You know the answer, and I am sure he (the Prime Minister) does. You say “yes” to Heathrow – obviously.”