(22.11.2007     Friends of the Earth press release)

The Government must abandon airport expansion plans – including a third runway
at Heathrow airport – if it is serious about tackling climate change, Friends
of the Earth said today.   A public consultation into Government proposals to build
a third runway at Heathrow is expected to begin later today (Thursday 22 November).
Earlier this week Gordon Brown pledged to make the UK a world leader in developing
a low carbon economy.

Friends of the Earth’s aviation campaigner Richard Dyer, said:

“Aviation is already the fastest growing source of UK carbon dioxide emissions.
Building a third runway at Heathrow will inevitably lead to even more flights
and more pollution. Unless we curb the growth in flights, our targets for combating
global warming are unlikely to be met. If Gordon Brown is serious about significantly
cutting this country’s carbon footprint he must shelve his government’s aviation
expansion plans.”

“The Government must also take other steps to tackle the growing impact from
aviation.   It must include Britain’s share of international aviation and shipping
emissions in its new climate change bill, introduce measures to make the cost
of flying reflect the environmental damage it causes and invest in alternatives
to short-haul flights, such as high-speed rail.”
Aviation is the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide in the UK:
Between 2004 and 2005, CO2 emissions from domestic aviation increased by 7.1%,
while international aviation emissions increased by 5.7%.
Aviation emissions are estimated to have between 2 and 4 times the climate change
impact of carbon emissions alone due to complex chemical reactions at altitude.
There is no prospect of a significant technological breakthrough that will reduce
aircraft emissions.   Gradual improvements might manage a 1 – 2% annual reduction
in emissions.   But this is inadequate to counter the current growth in passengers
of 6.4% per year.
Oxford University recently concluded that it will be impossible to meet the UK`s
target for a 60% carbon reduction by 2050 without curbing aviation growth – let
alone an 80% cut.

Local residents have set up a new campaign,   “Stop Heathrow Expansion”, whose
website is at:


If you share their concerns about the proposed expansion, please sign the petition:  


There is a briefing, produced by the Heathrow organisation, HACAN Clearskies,
about the consultation and the proposed changes.

Heathrow consultation background briefing from HACAN