The Airports Commission’s has published a report which says runway expansion at Heathrow can be achieved without breaching air quality limits.
The report says that there are “no predicted exceedences of the air quality objective at any receptor location, in either the Do-Minimum or Heathrow NWR scenarios”.
Heathrow say they have proposed a comprehensive air quality mitigation strategy for expansion, including a surface access strategy which will limit airport-related road traffic, which could improve air quality further still.
Heathrow says it takes air quality very seriously and has cut emissions by 16% in the last five years. They say 40% of passengers now arrive by public transport and this will only increase when Crossrail arrives in 2019 and the Piccadilly line upgrade is complete.
The Airport say that the reason for air quality currently exceeding EU levels north of the airport is road traffic on the M4, and called for action from Government and City Hall to get cleaner vehicles on the motorways and give more people an alternative to cars.
They also called on the Government to commit to Western and Southern Rail Access which will provide people to the south and west of Heathrow a better alternative than coming by car, with good public transport links through Reading, Clapham Junction and Waterloo.
The Airports Commission suggested some further mitigation measures in its report including use of biofuels, an Ultra Low Emissions Zone and reduced engine taxiing. Heathrow say they are already working on delivering those changes.
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport “This evidence from the Airports Commission is great news for Heathrow expansion. It shows that our plan, which has been produced with local community views at its core, can be delivered without exceeding air quality limits.
“Expanding Heathrow will deliver what the nation needs and what politicians want – an opportunity to win the race for jobs and growth by connecting the entire country to the world’s fastest growing destinations. It’s the only decision that will create up to 180,000 new jobs and £211bn of economic growth, shared across Britain.”