Heathrow’s third runway to fall foul of EU rules
Europe’s pollution targets could prevent it from being built
this week – is unlikely ever to be built because it will fall foul of new European
pollution laws, environmentalists and senior government advisers believe.
compulsory European Union air-quality standards, which Britain will have to observe
by 2015. Neither anti-runway campaigners nor the Government’s Environment Agency
see how these can possibly be met if the number of flights rises by 50 per cent
if they are in a position to do so after the next election. They plan to force
a parliamentary vote on the project, which would be almost certain to attract
State for Transport, on Thursday – is to be presented as the centrepiece of a
New Deal-style series of public works, like the one president-elect Barack Obama is expected to push through in the
US after taking office later this month.
decisions for years, the move will be accompanied by a list of multibillion-pound
projects designed to demonstrate the Government’s commitment to improving transport
and other facilities across the nation.
airport, the Crossrail project, preparations for the London Olympics and plans
to accelerate the Government’s school-building programme.
that the air around Heathrow – already polluted by road traffic as well as by
existing flights – does not breach EU limits for nitrogen dioxide, due to come into force next year. Britain can apply for a five-year delay but will have to observe them by 2015.
reduce pollution as to enable the standards to be met, but critics do not see
how this can be done if flights rise to more than 700,000 a year, when the existing
480,000 already help to put parts of the area over the limit.
could not go ahead unless “very strict pollution limits” were set. He was sceptical
that the EU standards could be met, and would prefer that the runway was not built.
project, said yesterday: “The runway will never see the light of day.”