Figures reveal that passenger journeys to and from Heathrow are increasingly been made by road
New statistics from the DfT reveal that passenger journeys to and from Heathrow airport are increasingly been made by road. The figures, issued in response to a FoI request made by the Teddington Action Group (TAG), show that passenger journeys by car and taxis rose by 2,000,000 in 2014 (the last year for which figures are available). In 2013, the aggregate number of private car and taxi/minicab journeys was 25 million. In 2014 they had risen to 27 million (an increase of nearly 10%). TAG says this trend would appear to call into question the assertion made by John Holland Kaye (CEO of Heathrow) on 4th November 2015 to Parliament’s EAC, that there has been no increase in polluting vehicular journeys in the vicinity of the airport. He had been asked how Heathrow could meet Air Quality targets with a 3rd runway (when an increase of up to 54% in passenger journeys to and from the airport might be anticipated). Heathrow has a show-stopper problem for its runway plans, from air pollution. It needs to get its passengers and its staff to get to (and from) the airport by rail. In 2014, 59% of passengers arrived by car, taxi or minicab. Another 13% arrived by bus or coach. 28% arrived by rail or by Tube. Getting passengers out of their cars will be hard. The air pollution from Heathrow’s air freight is already a problem, let alone if volume was doubled.
Department for Transport reveal that passenger journeys to and from Heathrow airport are increasingly been made by road
10.2.2016 (Teddington Action Group press release)
New statistics from the Department for Transport reveal that passenger journeys to and from Heathrow airport are increasingly been made by road.
The figures, issued in response to a Freedom of Information Request, show that passenger journeys by car and taxis rose by two million (2,000,000) in 2014 (the last year for which figures are available). See FoI response.18.1.2016 TAG FoI request on Heathrow travel
In 2013, the aggregate number of private car and taxi/minicab journeys was 25 million. In 2014 they had risen to 27 million (an increase of nearly 10%).
Table from the FoI response. In 2014 the number of passengers arriving at Heathrow [the data excludes passengers leaving Heathrow] was made up of 13 million in private cars. 1 million in hire cars; and 14 million in taxis/minicabs.
The trend would appear to call into question the assertion made by John Holland Kaye (CEO, Heathrow) that there has been no increase in polluting vehicular journeys in the vicinity of the airport (made to Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee, on 4th November 2015). He had been asked how Heathrow could meet Air Quality targets with a 3rd runway (when an
increase of up to 54% in passenger journeys to and from the airport might be anticipated).
Paul McGuinness of Teddington Action Group (TAG) said:
“With Heathrow already falling short of air quality targets, we can understand why the self interested advocates of a 3rd Runway feel minded to wishfully assert that passenger journeys to and from the airport are not on the increase”
“But considering this information was readily available, had they been prepared to scratch the surface, it seems that this is another crucial piece of actual evidence that the tax funded Airports Commission managed to overlook in their analysis and report”.
“Two million in just one year is a massive increase, making our air yet filthier. And that’s before one even considers what a 50% increase in Heathrow’s operations would bring, were the airport to expand. Let alone all the extra freight lorry journeys that Heathrow promise will come with it”.
1 The FOI Act Request F0013162 was sent on behalf of the Teddington Action Group on 21.012.2015. The DfT responded to the request in full on 21.01.16.
The document is attached.
2. Existing operations at Heathrow already result in a breach of legal air pollution limits, in respect of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2 ). The most significant emissions of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) derive from road traffic around the airport.
3. Heathrow claim expansion could lead to a 54% increase in flight movements, and an increase in passengers commensurate with this figure.
4. Two air pollutants in the UK pose the greatest threat: nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and particulates (PM10 and PM2.5). NO2 is especially problematic for people sensitive to changes in air quality, such as asthmatics, and is a precursor to more harmful particulates, such as PM10 and PM2.5, which can penetrate deep into the lungs causing cardiovascular problems.
5. The May 2015 Air Quality Local Assessment by Jacobs (instructed by the Airports Commission) shows that without mitigation measures, expansion at Heathrow will lead to further non-compliance by 2030 for PM2.5 and NO2, and that the numbers of people affected by increased NO2 pollution would be 121,377 for the Heathrow North West Runway (Heathrow NWR) option.
6. Even the Airports Commission’s own modelling shows that expansion of Heathrow is not “deliverable within the legal framework” without substantive measures to mitigate emissions:
“without actions to mitigate emissions, both of the Heathrow schemes would result in NO2 concentrations on the Bath Road in 2030 which would be higher than those on the Marylebone Road. Therefore, absent mitigation, both schemes would delay compliance with the Directive and hence would not be deliverable within the legal framework.”
(Airports Commission Final Report, 1 July 2015, Section 9.82, Page 193)
7. The UK government currently estimates that 29,000 deaths are caused each year in the UK by air pollution.
8. John Holland Kaye’s response during questioning before the Environmental Audit Committee, on 4th November 2015, can be seen at:
** CAA R&D Report 9841 – and despite the 2012 “Industry Code of Practice” (signed by Heathrow, NATs and major airlines) stating that Stepped Climb Procedures should not be operated unless absolutely necessary.
***Adjournment Debate: Noise From Heathrow, 19.10.15 Dr Tania Mathias’s contribution to the 19th October 2015 Adjournment Debate van be viewed in two parts, on Links:
Heathrow plans to double its volume of air freight, necessitating more trips by diesel powered HGVs and goods vehicles
Heathrow plans to double its air freight volumes in its aspiration to become one of the leading airports for cargo in Europe. CEO John Holland-Kaye announced at the British Chambers of Commerce that Heathrow will invest £180 million in the project and has its blueprint ready. Investment will be made to enhance air to air transit by building a facility on the airport for faster handling of transit cargo that arrives by air and is due to fly out again by air, reducing the times. The improvements to air freight is meant to be “essential for the growth and success of the UK economy.” (Where have we heard that before?) There will need to be a new truck parking facility for over 100 vehicles, with waiting arenas for drivers. There will be a special pharmaceutical storage area to move temperature-sensitive medicines and provide better infrastructure for faster freight movement. Holland-Kaye wants the UK “reach its £1 trillion export target by 2020.” Heathrow dealt with 1.50 million metric tonnes of cargo in 2014. This can only increase the number of HGVs in the Heathrow area. HGVs are all powered by diesel, not petrol – with its attendant higher NO2 emissions. Meanwhile Mr Holland-Kaye was at the EAC saying there would be no extra car journeys to/from Heathrow with a 3rd runway.
Environmental Audit Committee says Government must ensure legal air pollution limits can be met and maintained
The Environmental Audit Committee report on a Heathrow runway, says in relation to air pollution: “Before the Government makes its decision, it should make its own assessment of the likely costs of preventing an adverse impact on health from expansion at Heathrow and publish it.” Also that the government should not consider a new runway merely if air quality could be worse elsewhere in London than in the Heathrow area. The government will need to demonstrate that legal air pollution limits can be met and maintained “even when the expanded airport is operating at full capacity. Heathrow’s existing air quality strategy should also be revised to meet the new targets. Failing this, Heathrow should not be allowed to expand.” As for not using the new runway if air quality is too poor: “The Government should not approve expansion at Heathrow until it has developed a robust framework for delivery and accountability. This should have binding, real-world milestones and balance the need for investor certainty with assurances that a successor Government cannot set the conditions aside if they become inconvenient.” In distinguishing pollution from the airport, or from other sources: “The Government must establish clearly delineated responsibilities for meeting air quality limits before deciding to go ahead with the scheme” to avoid future legal and commercial risks.
Environmental Audit Committee says government should not permit Heathrow runway without strict conditions
The EAC report’s conclusions say: “The Government should not approve Heathrow expansion until Heathrow Ltd. can demonstrate that it accepts and will comply with the Airports Commission conditions, including a night flight ban, that it is committed to covering the costs of surface transport improvements; that it is possible to reconcile Heathrow expansion with legal air pollution limits, and that an expanded Heathrow would be less noisy than a two runway Heathrow. In each case – climate change, air quality and noise – it needs to set out concrete proposals for mitigation alongside clear responsibilities and milestones against which performance can be measured. It should report regularly to Parliament, through this Committee and others, on progress. The Government should not avoid or defer these issues. To do so would increase the risks of the project: delay through legal challenge, unquantifiable costs resulting from unclear responsibilities, economic risks through constraint of other sectors to meet increased aviation emissions and longterm costs to public health from the impact of air pollution and noise.”
Report from Policy Exchange shows how poor air quality is in much of London, and near Heathrow
A new report by the Policy Exchange, called “Up in the Air” looks at London’s air pollution, and shows that over 12% of London’s area was in breach of NO2 limits in 2010, with the most affected areas being Central London, the area around Heathrow airport, and other major transport routes. The report says: “Aviation currently makes up 7% of total NOx emissions in Greater London, but this could increase to 14% by 2025. Aviation emissions are forecast to increase due to a growth in air [craft] movements, whilst at the same time emissions from other sectors are decreasing …..Importantly, this does not yet factor in the impact of possible airport expansion around London.” It says if there was a 3rd Heathrow runway the number of passengers would rise steeply. Their analysis only goes to 2025 but for there to be another runway, and for air quality not to deteriorate “… the acceptability of Heathrow expansion in air quality terms rests not only on the extent to which air quality impacts at Heathrow can be mitigated, but also on the level of progress on air pollution in the rest of London. If pollution levels are brought within legal limits across the rest of London, then this could undermine the case for Heathrow expansion on air quality grounds.”