Modelling supplied by Heathrow as part of its submission to the Davies Commission last year was based on emission figures which the airport would have known to have been out of date.
Predictions for Nitrogen Dioxide levels in 2030 prepared for Heathrow by AMEX last year (above) are remarkably consistent with forecasts prepared in 2007 indicating “that AMEC have used assumptions on emissions similar to those used … which subsequently proved to be erroneous.”
The Gatwick-funded report published yesterday [by ERM, Environmental Resources Management – a company with an OK reputation ….] says that Heathrow’s figures are based on ten-year old data on diesel emissions that has subsequently been discredited in the light of actual results. Heathrow, it concludes, would have known better.
Modelling carried out ten years ago by the Department of Transport prior to the last expansion attempt had concluded that air quality would be reaching compliance by 2015.
The Project for the Sustainable Development of Heathrow (PSDH) had got its sums wrong because many diesel-fuelled vehicles still do not comply with new EU standards which continue to emit NOx at higher rates than expected.
“The situation has improved at some of the locations close to the airport itself, but many residential areas close to the M4, for example, are exposed to NO2 concentrations in excess of the Limit Value. The contribution to NO2 concentrations from the road network has clearly not reduced as expected.”
Those living adjacent to the M4 are expected to suffer most from the increase in road traffic during construction and once the new runway is open
The report, by environmental consultants Environmental Resources Management is critical of modelling submitted to the Airports Commission in June last year that continues to use outdated emission performance of vehicles.
“… AMEC have used assumptions on emissions similar to those used for PSDH which subsequently proved to be erroneous.”
It is critical of Heathrow Airport’s submission which is “without evidential foundation” and “may well not prove to be correct”.
“There is significant evidence available that establishes that even without a Heathrow scheme coming forward the attainment of the limit value in the Heathrow area will not occur until after 2025 and will be difficult to achieve.
“The construction and operation of a Heathrow scheme would thus introduce additional sources of NOx into an area that is already struggling to attain the limit value.”
The study is also critical of the Airports Commission’s own analysis.
It says that no detailed air quality impact modelling has been conducted since the Department for Transport’s study a decade ago. (See link).
“To date, none of the documents submitted to the Airports Commission, or produced by the Airports Commission, quantify the effectiveness of the suggested mitigation measures and the question of their efficacy is still uncertain.
“As a result it is difficult to understand how the Commission can have reached the conclusions that it has in its Sustainability Assessment.”
Read more analysis of the report on Colnbrook Views:
Or read the full ERM report here.
or the dumbed down version (Gatwick infographic, pushing Gatwick) here.
The Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 say the Secretary of State must ensure that NO2 annual mean level is not over the limit value of 40 μg/m3 anywhere.
The pollutant and averaging period of most relevance around Heathrow is the annual mean limit value for NO2, which is 40 μg/m3 of air.
Some extracts from the ERM report
The report states:
“The modelling carried out as part of PSDH in 2007 indicated that the NO2 concentrations around Heathrow would be approaching compliance with the NO2 limit value by 2015. However, measurements now show that this is not the case. The situation has improved at some of the locations close to the airport itself, but many residential areas close to the M4, for example, are exposed to NO2 concentrations in excess of the Limit Value. The contribution to NO2 concentrations from the road network has clearly not reduced as expected.”