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Heathrow boss pledges no pollution breaches

Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye has this week claimed that the expansion of Heathrow airport can be delivered within EU air quality limits.

The comments came during an evidence session to the Environmental Audit Committee yesterday (November 4), at which Mr Holland-Kaye was grilled on pollution, CO2 and noise levels likely to be caused by any expansion of the airport.

Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye delivered evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on the expansion of the airport

Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye delivered evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on the expansion of the airport

The Heathrow executive claimed that without increasing the amount of airport-related vehicles on the roads compared to today.

And, Mr Holland-Kaye explained that a “triple lock” guarantee would address the air quality surrounding the airport, should Heathrow be allowed to expand.

‘Triple lock’

This triple lock would ensure that the Airport meets its existing commitments to improve air quality, ensure further options are explored to reduce traffic and guarantee that an expansion would not jeopardise progress to EU pollution limits.

He 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.”

Heathrow Airport is currently awaiting the government’s decision on increasing UK airport capacity following the Davies’ Commission recommendation that a third runway is built at Heathrow. The Prime Minister has said a decision will be made before the end of 2015.

Mr Holland-Kaye’s comments follow the recent news that Heathrow is undertaking additional black carbon monitoring at the airport with the aim of guiding air quality policy in the region (see AirQualityNews.com story).

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Roland Gilmore
Roland Gilmore
5 years ago

Intuitively, Heathrow’s statement is untenable. The airport’s pollution record breaches legal standards now so how will an increase in traffic result in lower pollution levels? If Heathrow are so sure that they can make the expanded airport compliant and the government believe them, let the government set a binding penalty of say £2Bn a year if it doesn’t then see if Heathrow accept it..